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.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Fun Friday – 5 Signs that you are doing too much multi-tasking

What does too much multitasking look like?
Photo credit
Do you consider yourself a multi-tasking parent? I’ve always been proud of the moments that I accomplish multiple tasks in a given day. However, on a recent occasion I discovered the end result of too much multi-tasking.
When I left work the other day, I had two hours before I had to arrive at Senior Honors Night at my son’s school. This was just enough time to run a couple of errands. So off I went. I stopped by a fundraiser at a former job, went home and made a salad, grabbed a Diet Coke and went back out the door.

I made it to Senior Night on time and selected a seat in the top tier of the auditorium. It was half way through the event that I discovered that I tried to accomplish too much that day. The lights in the seating areas were dimmed with the stage lights turned up to focus on the Seniors.

Scholarship awards were presented, Summa Cum Laude names were announced, and I fell asleep…twice. I awoke and started clapping with the rest of the audience. That day I had taken multi-tasking to the extreme. I tried to do TOO much.

So, how do you know if you are doing too much multi-tasking? Here are 5 signs

1.      Your weekend is filled with going to your kids events.

2.      While cleaning your kitchen after breakfast, you put the milk in the pantry and the cereal box in the refrigerator (or some other strange combination).

3.      You call to schedule a doctor’s appointment for one child, but mistakenly give the receptionist information about the other child (eg. Birthdate of the other child).

4.      You dial a number to call someone, by the time the person answers, you’ve forgotten who you were calling.

5.      You have several activities going on at once – preparing dinner, helping with homework, folding laundry and probably some other task.

Have you experienced an instance lately where you realized you were doing too much? How did you handle the situation?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Words of Wisdom - 20 Things we should say more often

Do you have a standard set of rules/behaviors that you tell your kids they should always follow? One of the things I often tell my boys is to always remember to say thank you. Beyond giving a set of rules for kids to follow, it is also good to teach them to encourage others.

In the video below a young boy gives his version of encouraging (polite) words - 20 Things we should say more often.

Kid President's 20 Things we should say more often
YouTube Video Credit: SoulPancake
What would you add to the list of things we should say more often?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Muffins with Mom – Parenting on the midnight shift - A trip to the movies

Photo credit
As part of the job of parenting, you seldom get to select the shift you want to work. In fact, you may find yourself on call all of the time. Most recently I was called to duty when my son and a couple of his friends went to the movies.
One of the other moms dropped the boys off at the movie theater. I asked my son how they were going to get home.

“David’s dad will probably bring us home,” he said.”

Probably was the operative word, meaning he didn’t really know how they would get home.

After my son got to his friend’s house, I received a text from his friend’s mom…
“Did your son ask you if you could pick the boys up from the movie?”

I responded with a simple, “no.” What she didn’t see was the terrible two’s temper tantrum I was having. Grumbling and complaining to myself I said, I told him I didn’t want to do the pickup shift. Next time they’re not going to a late show. I’m already sleepy.

Her next message said, “Can you get them?”
“Yes, I can get them,” I responded trying to sound polite. Then I fell to the floor kicking and screaming and rolling around (not really, but I would have if that was acceptable adult behavior). It was her fault that I allowed my son to sucker me into yet another late night movie venture without getting all of the details up front.

I was now the parent on call for the late night pick up.

The movie didn’t start until a 10:00pm so I had to either occupy myself for a couple of hours or take a nap. If I had opted for the nap, the boys would probably still be waiting at the movie theater. I occupied myself by washing a load of clothes, then working on a writing project.

Whatever I did, I was sure to stay away from the bed. It I sat there for any length of time, sleep would overtake me. Finally, I got the text at 11:45pm saying the movie was ending. I slipped on my flip flop shoes and threw on a hoodie and was out the door.
My shift was almost over…just 20 more minutes until I would be in bed curled up with my pillow. I slid open the sunroof of my car and let the cool night breeze circulate as I journeyed to the movie theater.

I pulled up to the front door, the boys hopped in the car and we were back home in no time. No time card to punch, no supervisor to report to, all that was needed was for me to rest until time to report for duty again.
What has been your experience with late night parenting?


Friday, May 23, 2014

Fun Friday - What happens when you think of summer?

Photo credit

When you think of summer, what images surface in your mind? Do you have images of warm breezy days, swimming at a beach, or relaxing near a pool? How about a Vanilla/Chocolate twist of soft serve ice cream?

To get you in the frame of mind for summer, below are a few fun photo visuals.

What does summer fun look like to you?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Muffins with Mom – How does a parent prepare for a child going to college?

I opened the door to my sons’ bedroom one morning and stood there a few seconds watching him sleep. Snuggled under a blanket, his six foot two frame didn’t leave much room at the edge of his bed. As my son prepares to embark upon the college years, I am reminded that his room will soon be empty (unless his brother takes it over).
It can be an emotional time knowing that your first born will soon leave the nest. It may require you getting your heart and head ready. But, isn’t this what we spend 17 or 18 years preparing for? Getting him ready to one day become independent?

As I was thinking about my son leaving for college, I had a flashback to my pregnancy days and reading the book, What to expect when you’re expecting. Now I am wondering whether there is a book titled What to expect in the college years? Maybe the assumption is that by college years parents are wise enough to handle a myriad of situations. Hmmm…we shall see.

So, how does a parent prepare for a child going to college? Here are a few things I learned along the way:

1.      Know that you have taught your child well and she will be ok.

2.      Let your child know that he can call you any time.

3.      Spend quality time together before he goes away – this may be more for you than for your child. For our family, we reinstated family nights. When the kids were younger, we would dedicate one night each week for doing something fun.  Usually this meant playing board games or card games.

4.      You can give digital hug –in this day and age you can always text, Skype, face time or use some other form of technology to give a quick hello to your child.

5.      Turn your energy to yourself – maybe there are things you’ve wanted to do, but have put them off, do them now. Are there hobbies you’ve neglected or old friends you haven’t seen in a while? Now is the time.

6.      If you have other children at home, rest assured that if you don’t get the college thing right this time…you still have another chance.

As I closed the door to my sons' bedroom, I left him resting peacefully and thought I have done my best and it will be okay.
Do you have tips for coping with a child going away to college?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Feel Good Friday – A mom and her son - An inspirational story

Photo caption

I came across a poem I thought was touching so I’m sharing it here today.

Source Unknown

I ran into a stranger as he passed by,
"Oh excuse me please" was my reply.
He said, "Please excuse me too;
I wasn't watching for you."
We were very polite, this stranger and I.
We went on our way and we said good-bye.

But at home a different story is told,
How we treat our loved ones, young and old.
Later that day, cooking the evening meal,
My son stood beside me very still.
When I turned, I nearly knocked him down.
"Move out of the way," I said with a frown.
He walked away, his little heart broken.
I didn't realize how harshly I'd spoken.
While I lay awake that night in my bed,
God's still small voice came to me and said,
"While dealing with a stranger, common courtesy you
use, but the children you love, you seem to abuse.

Go and look on the kitchen floor,
You'll find some flowers there by the door.
Those are the flowers he brought for you.
He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue.
He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise.
You never saw the tears that filled his little eyes."

By this time, I felt very small,
And now my tears began to fall.
I quietly went and knelt by his bed;
"Please wake up, little one," I said.
"Are these the flowers you picked for me?"
He smiled, "I found 'em out by the tree.
I picked 'em because they're pretty like you.
I knew you'd like 'em, especially the blue."
I said, "Son, I'm very sorry for the way I acted today;
I shouldn't have yelled at you that way."
He said, "Oh, Mom, that's okay. I love you anyway,"
I said, "Son, I love you too,
and I do like the flowers, especially the blue."

What is inspiring you today?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - National Chocolate Chip Day

Photo credit and recipe

The title says it all...National Chocolate Chip Day! This national holiday is celebrated on May 15th, but feel free to indulge whenever you want and try one of the chocolate chip related recipes below.

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake
Andes Mint Chocolate Chip Fudge
Croissant & Chocolate Bread Pudding
Do you have a favorite recipe that includes chocolate chips?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Muffins with Mom – How does a mom prepare for prom? – 5 things NOT to do

It’s the morning of prom, I awake energetic and happy. It’s not my prom, but my sons that I am preparing for. I’m sure my son could get ready on his own, but being the mom that I am, it’s not going down that way. How does a mom prepare for prom? By making sure her son hasn’t forgotten anything.
Start with a few basic questions…
Do you have the corsage?
Do you have the tickets?
Do you have your wallet, your phone and your license?

“Yes, Ma,” was the response I got.
We were ready, yes I said “we”. I had my purse, my cell phone (with camera) and my car keys. I followed my son to the house where his friends were meeting. When we arrived, there were several other parents there with cameras and phones in hand, ready to capture the occasion.

As parents crowded together to take photos, I thought of things that could have gone wrong in preparation for the prom. Here’s a list of things NOT to do on your child’s prom day:

1.      Don’t knock other parents out of the way while trying to get the best photo of your child and his date.

2.      Don’t follow your child to the next location, and the next, trying to capture every moment.

3.      Don’t lick the tip of your finger, then try to smooth your son’s eyebrows into place.

4.      Don’t ask your child to call or text you throughout the night because it won’t happen and you’ll be frustrated.

5.      Don’t sit up all night waiting to see if your child comes home at the time you indicated; take a nap and set your alarm instead.

One thing you SHOULD do while preparing for prom is encourage your child to enjoy the moment and the memories he/she is creating.

Prom gift keepsake - a glass mug with candy inside
Do you have suggestions for helping a mom prepare for her child’s prom? Do dad’s prepare differently?



Friday, May 9, 2014

Fun Friday - National Bicycle Month – 5 Benefits of bike riding

Photo Credit

When was the last time you went for a bike ride? For me it’s been a long, long, time. As I walked through the house into the garage, I spotted our two bikes leaning against a trash can. The kickstands don’t work properly; otherwise they’re in good condition. There would also be a layer of dust on the bikes if were not for the fact that my boys take them out for a spin pretty often.
Since May is National Bicycle Month this is a good time to take your bike out of hibernation. First you may have to get past roadblocks or excuses for not taking a bike ride. Let’s get the excuses out of the way then focus on the benefits of bike riding.

5 excuses for not taking a bike ride:

1.      The tires are flat on the bike

2.      The bike seat is too small or my butt is too big to fit on the seat

3.      I don’t have time/too much to do

4.      It’s raining or It’s too hot

5.      I don’t think I remember how to ride

Now for the benefits of bike riding:

1.      It’s an activity you can do for the rest of your life

2.      Bike riding gives you a sense of freedom

3.      Offers a chance to explore and get to know the area around you

4.      Reduces stress

5.      It gives you a great workout

Make bicycle month fun by including the whole family; create a set of challenges for the kids. You could have an obstacle course, a bike relay or even set up a bike safety station. If you want to make your challenge really involved, offer a reward to the family member who bikes the most miles in a week.
Now that you’re in the frame of mind of thinking about biking, how about taking a look at a few fun photos (related to biking of course).


How will you celebrate National Bicycle Month?

Happy Friday!


Monday, May 5, 2014

Muffins with Mom -5 signs that you live with a teenager

How does a teen ask his date to the prom...? Very creatively
In case you are not sure whether you are living with a typical teenager, there are sure signs to look for. Before I get to those signs, let me tell you my hypothesis about teens…
Teenagers have similar, identifiable patterns (this is not a real hypothesis, but go with me for a minute). One of those patterns is a teens lack of planning ahead.

One afternoon while I was at work my son texted me with the message, “when can I get a suit, I’m going to prom now.” Prom was nine days away. I asked my son a couple weeks prior to this whether he was going to the prom. His response was, “No, I don’t think I’m gonna go.”
If I was a cartoon character, my head would have popped or I would have had smoke shooting from my ears in frustration. Instead, I started calling had my son call tuxedo stores. We were in luck and found a reasonable tux at the first store we visited.

Six day left until prom and I’m trying to get my son to find out how he’s getting to the prom. The latest thing I hear was that several people were going together. Without sounding overbearing, I tried to slip in a few questions. Who’s house will you meet at? Is someone renting a limo? What time does prom actually start? I needed to talk to someone’s parent.
Back to my hypothesis, here’s support for the hypothesis teens fit certain patterns or 5 signs that you live with a teenager.

1.      Teen often, do not plan ahead

2.      Some teens text constantly, sometimes even when they’re in the same room with the person they’re texting

3.      They like to walk around with earbuds or head phones on; they may not even be listening to anything, but just don’t want you to talk to them at the moment

4.      They sign and appear agitated with any question that you ask them

Mom: Did you turn in the form to your teacher that I asked you to?
            Son: yeeesss mom

5.      You wouldn’t trade them for anyone else’s teen

Have you experienced the craziness and love of a teen?


Friday, May 2, 2014

Fun Friday – Dancing like the stars – 5 Health benefits of dancing

photo credit

Are you looking to get in shape, but tired of the same old exercises? Try dancing. Did you know that dancing has physical and mental benefits? You may not be a contestant on the popular show, Dancing with the Stars, but you can attempt to dance like the stars.
Before I tell you the benefits of dancing, let me tell you about my recent episode.

It was a quiet evening at home, no errands to run, no after school activities for the boy…just relaxing. As I was listening to the radio in my bedroom, a song came on that I was trying to get my son to remember. I ran from the room and yell down the stairs to my son (the fourteen-year-old).
When my son got to my room he said, “oh yeah, I know this song.” He began to sing the words and grabbed my wrists, pulling me backward and forward. Donned in cotton pajamas and a bath robe, I twirled one direction then another.

My choice of casual wear was not nearly as attractive at the stars on T.V. However, it proved to be beneficial with my last twirl. With a gleam in his eye, my son had me twisting backward and forward like a spinning top. Until finally, I landed on the floor in some kind of awkward split. I didn’t sustain any injuries or carpet burns, but it was truly a Kodak moment.
Dancing like the stars with my son did not bring me fame nor fortune, but it brought plenty of laughter. There had to be some kind of health benefit in that. An article from Better Health listed several health benefits to dancing. Here’s a short list:

·         Improved condition of your heart and lungs

·         Better coordination, agility and flexibility

·         Increased aerobic fitness

·         Improved mental functioning

·         Weight management

Even if you don’t think you are coordinated, dance anyway. You may end up in an awkward looking position, but that’s half the fun.

Now it’s time for a few fun photos related to dancing.

Wishing you happy dancing into your weekend.