Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Family Photos 2012

Lindsey is a neighbor of ours and I have been a fan of hers for years! I must admit I stock her blog...

I finally arranged for her to photograph my family, and I am so glad I did. She made the whole experience so natural and fun.

She is a miracle worker!

Go check our her blog and maybe you will start stalking her too!
Lindsey Shaun Photography
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I don't know where I got this idea from, but, I thought that children came with the ability to create, pretend, and play.

Now that I say it out loud, it sounds ludicrous. 

I just realized after 4.5 years of being a Mom that I have to teach my children the skills of pretending, creativity, and playing.  I can't just give my children toys, and expect them to just know what to do. 

I have to teach them how to play with the blocks, the legos, the dolls, the farm animals, the forts, the trains and dress ups.

I got my degree in Elementary Education, and a quote I heard quite a lot in school was, "Everything you need to know, you learned in Kindergarten."   As a future teacher I liked that quote and believed it was true.

And for some kids it is true.  Learning about colors, number, letters, basic reading skills, cooperation, sharing are all taught and learned in kindergarten.  I recognize that there are a myriad of topics that my children will learn in school.

But as a parent, I am my childrens' first teacher.  They are with me all day for the first 4+ years of their life. 

And during that time, I get to teach them about trust, love, sharing, kind words, hard work, hygiene, the miracles of the world around us, how to listen, how to think, how to play, how to pretend, share, and cooperate.  Just to name a few ... I could go on, but then I would be really overwhelmed.

As my children transition from being at home all day, to half a day then to being at school all day, I am realizing my time is short compared with the rest of their lives.  And as they head off to kindergarten, I hope they leave our home knowing everything they really need to know. 

It is late and I better get to bed.  Tomorrow I have a full day of teaching my children how to play, pretend, share, and cooperate.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Kids Activities: Penny Game

If anything is really involved or makes a HUGE mess I won't do it. I already clean up enough.

But here is a quick, simple, fun game I pulled out this afternoon, to occupy my toddler. It is easily modified to fit what you have on hand, and easily cleaned up.

What you need:
Something to throw - Pennies or other coins, Cheerios, buttons, beads, beans
Something to throw into - cups, egg cartons, bowls, pans
A broom or stick
A large blanket (optional)

I found some old scrap booking accessories I will never use, that look like old coins. And then got out the yogurt cups, and some an egg carton.

Have your kids stay on one side of the stick and throw the pennies into the container.

My daughter decided on the blue doughnut as a target.
As they get better, move the target farther away.
Rule: Pennies stay on the blanket

Then when you are done have the children help clean up.
I do realize this is not a huge, mindblowing, innovative idea. But it is something simple, I can do to spend a little more time enjoying my kids, instead of getting frustrated with their constant begging for attention.

Sometimes you just need to Simplify.
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pickle Salad (Family Recipe) and Doing the Small Things

This is a great salad recipe for family gathering and BBQs, and in my husbands opinion it really isn't a BBQ with out this salad.

Pickle Salad
Boil 3 1/2 cups macaroni in salted water for 7 min.  

Stir in:
6 Hard boiled eggs
1 cup chopped celery (optional)
1/2 cup chopped green onions (optional)
1 cup cut up dill pickles
2 cans tuna

Mix together until smooth and stir in:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon season salt

Now the story behind the salad.

My family has a different maccaroni salad that we make for BBQs and family gatherings.  Not that this salad isn't delicious, but it isn't what I grew up with.  My husband LOVES this salad.

In one of her books (sorry can't remember which one). Dr. Laura mentions "doing the small stuff" for your spouse so that the patience, love and understanding is there when you need to deal with the "big stuff".

I would much rather have the salad I grew up with, but this is an example of the "small stuff" that I can do for my husband, so that when there is "bigger stuff" that we need to deal with, he will have the patience to deal with it together.

And this isn't a one way street, he also tries to do the "small stuff" (toilet seat down, dishes after dinner, mow the lawn so that I will have patience, love and understanding with him on the "bigger stuff". 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Kids Activity: Sensory Table

So at my son's preschool they have a fancy little sensory table. 4 Bins at just the right height for preschoolers, filled with something and then cups, spoons, funnels and other utensils to explore with.

I am unable/unwilling to spend a lot of money on a whole sensory table. But I can make my own:

Items needed:
Cake pan
Random utensils from the kitchen (have the kids choose which ones)
Something to fill it with: rice, bubbles, popcorn kernels, cornmeal, wheat, beans
Whatever you choose, be aware that some will fall on the ground and will need to be thrown away, so be ok with that.

Then a couple of rules:
Don't eat it
The (whatever it is) stays in the pan

We have tried rice and popcorn kernels so far, and both are great. My kids have asked to do this the past three days, and spend at least a half an hour doing this.

A supervised mess is almost always less cleanup than an unsupervised mess.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kids Activity: Paint the Bathtub

So I saw this idea on this Blog and thought I would give it a try. Side note: this idea comes from a list of 25 things to do with a wiggly toddler. Take a look at all the good ideas.

Throw your kids in the tub with some water colors and let them go crazy!

My daughter LOVED IT!!

It kept her occupied while I worked on a little cleaning project.

Then when she was saying she was done, I handed her a spray bottle with water in it, and an old wet rag ...

And she cleaned up her own mess!

Then when my son got home from preschool, we did it again.

And then they cleaned up their own mess, AGAIN!

We will definately be doing this one again!

A controlled mess is a lot better than an unsupervized mess.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Eye Spy Book

For Christmas we are doing home made gifts as mush as possible.
One idea I got from pintrest was to make an Eye Spy Book

So I took out all of the toys and took some pictures:

When I come up with enough photos that I like, I plan on getting it published in a photobook so it will last longer.
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