Friday, February 25, 2011

Where are my Mary Jane's?

This clip inspired the title of my blog. I love it. It epitomizes the mundane nature of day to day life...Thank goodness for the little things, like funnel cakes.


(Sorry for the use of the Lord's name in vain in this clip; really hate that but didn't know how to edit it out.)
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

pecking chickens

This past week has passed by in slow motion for me. I've been dragging my feet and I'm not sure why, other than the fact that I feel as though I've lost my grip on a schedule. I've been doing a little research to get myself organized and into a routine that works for me now that I have three little ones on my watch. I hope a big break through is right around the corner because for now, I feel a little lost.
I need a preschool routine with my three year old that challenges her
and let's her be creative and have fun...
I need activities that are geared towards my two year old's strengths and abilities...
We do need to get out of the house every so often and be social...
I need some time to myself to even remember who I am
and maybe wear cute shoes again
and you know, keep up with a blog that gives me a sense of fulfillment...
(the list goes on of course).
I watched Julie & Julia the other day in my kitchen while catching up on lost time with my dishes. I stood there in my yellow dish gloves with tears in my eyes when Julia Child got her first published copy of her cook book in the mail. After all that work and patience and frustration, she got a little package in the mail that was evidence that she did it.

Do you think parenthood will have a conclusion like that? A final "Look, we did it!" moment when all your sacrifices and sleepless nights seem to pay off and you become an official, published parent--who made the cut and saw success?

No, I don't think so either. But I do like to believe that there's miniature milestones where you can see that you're heading in the right direction. I think that's why good friends are so critical. You can look at their psychotic preschooler and think, "At least things are that bad for me..." while they're looking at your kids and thinking the same thing. Everyone has a story and I am always refreshed when I hear that I'm not the only one. Sometimes it turns into a competition. I was chatting with the other moms in our co-op preschool group, telling them about how my two year old ate two lip sticks, a lip liner, a couple small beads and a piece to our cardboard memory game--all in one day. A mother of five boys chimes in, "Oh that's nothin'! My five year old took scissors and cut up all of my curtain ties this week! And now he's grounded from the TV and I don't know what to do with him..." Soon other moms are throwing out their horror stories and we end up laughing and feeling better about ourselves and our little biting, chewing, scissor- happy demons.

My husband told me about an older woman he met who had raised a large family. She said that her husband used to say that raising kids is like being pecked to death by chickens. She was recently in the car with her oldest daughter and her little ones who were misbehaving and she leaned over to her and said slowly, "Bock, bock."

I will never forget the best horror story yet from a good friend who is tidy and clean, her kids always look happy and fashionable, and her house is well decorated and "homey." She's just not the typical horror story mom, you know? She has things under control. Well, one day her oldest decided to dip into his diaper and smear his poop all over her beautiful couches, the walls, other innocent furniture and even into the small cracks in her wood floors. When she walked into the room and saw what her wonderful little boy had done, she told me that she had two choices: she could call her husband and lose it (and beg him to come home from work and help her) OR she could just clean it up. She could be a princess or a pioneer. (Pioneers get published).

Tomorrow I hope to make these with my girls:
I'll let you know how it goes.
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

St Patty's Activities for Toddler/Preschooler

I'm back! Hope you all had a nice Valentine's Day and are ready to pull out the green.
I'm working on a short little script to help explain the origin of St. Patrick's day in a way that a child could understand (I have to admit that I didn't know the story! It's pretty neat.)
For now, we're filling our house with shamrocks.

Step One: Fold your paper in half lengthwise.

Step Two: Fold it in half again, the other way.


Step Three: Line up the two folded edges, making a triangle.


Step Four: Cut along the folded edges, starting at about 1 1/2 inches from the bottom and make the leaf shape.


We went ahead and made our shamrocks into a crown because that's what we girls do.
We made jumbo size ones and smaller ones, some with glitter and decoration, some with puff balls in the get the idea. Be creative.


Today I decided to put our shamrocks to use in a colors and numbers game, since that's what I'm focusing on with my two girls.

I cut out shamrocks in a variety of colors and taped them all over my body (I highly recommend getting dressed for the day before you do this; you'll feel better about yourself). I asked my two year old to find the yellow shamrocks, then the red, etc. She thought I looked pretty silly, but it was a fun way to review our colors!
My three year old insisted on helping, so next we taped the shamrocks all over her body, and did it again. This works out really well if you have an older sibling that wants to help and ends up shouting out the answers before the younger one can even think about it.
Get them involved in the teaching! (Hazel would still sneak her finger onto the right color and tap the shamrock until Charlotte caught on and pulled it off proudly.)
Hazel insisted on having the shamrocks on her face...
And she definitely dressed herself this morning.

For my preschooler, I wrote the numbers 1-10 onto the shamrocks and taped them onto my toddler! She had to find them in order and tape them onto the floor in a straight line.



Then I asked her to write the numbers on her own, in order,
referring back to the shamrocks for help.

We had a lot of fun with this one and I hope you do too!

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Toddler Activities for Valentine's Day: Last minute Valentine's

Here's a few more ideas for some Valentine's that your toddler can make with you.
(My camera is on the fritz, so these pics were taken with my husband's iphone...)
can you see my messy house in the background??

We did these as my daughter's valentines for her co-op preschool class (this is one that survived in her bag, so it's a little bent). Cut two hearts of the same size, and one more with a trunk coming out of the bottom. Glue on two of the hearts as ears, add googly eyes and some conversation hearts and you have a cute little elephant.
"You are unforgettable."
I found this one on Family Fun.

This was a last minute activity. I was in the dollar store and needed something for the girls to do that afternoon, so I found this frame for $1 and bought a bag of conversation hearts. I put glue dots around the entire frame and let both my preschooler and my toddler add hearts to the dots. (Of course they ate more than they added to the frame.)

These are CUTE. I'm putting these on my girls' breakfast plates on V-day morning.
Cut out four hearts of the same size, a flower shape in some cute scrapbook paper, and two large leaves. Poke a small hole in all the pieces so that you can place a Dum-Dum in the center of them to make a lovely flower.
You can find the original idea here, at Family Fun.

This last idea came from my mother-in-law. She found this as a great way to make use of her leftover candy canes! I used hot glue to hold these together. You can add cute red ribbon with a love note or picture from your toddler/preschooler.

Have a great weekend!
(Tomorrow is my five year anniversary, so I shall not be posting until Monday!)

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Toddler Activities for Valentine's Day: Heartstrings

So here's a Valentine's Day activity from the great Family Fun magazine. My good friend Paige put this together while watching my two girls, plus her own two kiddos and she managed to take pictures for me. What a woman.

cornstarch glue
parchment paper
heart shaped cookie cutters

Step One: Make the glue by combining 1/4 cup cornstarch with 1/2 cup water in a saucepan. Stir until smooth and heat on medium heat until thick and translucent. Let it cool to the touch.
(Paige didn't have pink string, so she put red food coloring in the glue)

Step Two:

Cut the string into foot-long pieces and dip them into the glue mixture, removing the excess with your fingers. Place the strings into the cookie cutter (which is on the wax paper) one at a time until they fill all the space.



Step Three:
With clean hands (not sticky ones like my daughter's), gently press the strings flat. Remove the cookie cutter and allow to dry for at least a day. You can speed the drying process by placing hearts in the oven on the "warm" setting for two hours.


You could pop these into little padded envelops and send to grandparents with a note that says,
"You really pull at my heart strings." Ha! How cute.

P.S. Not only does Paige do Activity Time with her kids (and mine!), she also makes beautiful baby wraps. Check her out here. Here I am in mine:

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If it were up to me...

If it were up to me, my washer wouldn't have died on Saturday leaving me with slim pickin's in my underwear drawer this morning.

If it were up to me, I would be on the floor creating an ingenious toddler craft with my kids right now instead of trying desperately to clean my house so that I could SEE my floor.

If it were up to me, I would bring in a nice supplemental income so that we could repair or replace that darn washing machine without breaking a sweat.

If it were up to me, I wouldn't turn to mini Cadbury Eggs every time I feel overwhelmed. I would just make a plan, adjust my goals, and go to bed earlier. (I wish I liked going to bed early; it just makes me feel like I'm being punished.)

And if it were up to me, I would hang out with other moms all day long so that I could pick their brains and laugh at what their kid did the other day. I was on the phone with a dear friend a while ago and found myself lowering my voice as I told her about one of my worst mothering moments that had occurred that week (a night that ended with me yelling up the stairs "We're having family night tonight, dammit!"). I had to laugh when my (nearly perfect) friend responded with, "Well, listen to this..."

The "super mom" is an imaginary mantle that we place upon the shoulders of strangers. We read her blog and assume that behind those pictures is a clean floor, an empty laundry basket, and a nutritious meal simmering in the crock pot. But I guarantee that very mom has a closet full of guilt, tears and the occasional expletive, just like the rest of us.

We need each other. Just the other day, a thirty-something mother of three answered a question I had about breastfeeding, dispelled my (current) worries about my three year old's unique and headstrong behavior, and told me how to cut oranges for my kids in a way that is more fun and less mess--all during our daughters' ballet class. Because she's been there.

If it were up to me, I'd gather all the tidbits of wisdom I could from good moms around the world and make it a part of me.

What is your tidbit? Please, do share.

p.s. My friend from ballet cuts the oranges horizontally into round slices, like a tomato, and tells her kids they're eating sunshine. How cute is that.
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Preschooler Activities: Friendship Bracelets

Do any of you remember making these beads when you were younger? They're made out of paper and glue and are perfect for a homemade Valentine's gift. My three year old and her best friend made them as friendship bracelets. And for all the mothers of little boys out there--your little man could make these for any of the "women" in his life.



Step One: Have your toddler/preschooler help you find ads in your magazines that are red and pink (or color of your choice). Cut the ads into long triangular strips.


Step Two
: Place a line of glue along the strip and roll the wide end around the toothpick. Continue to roll the strip tightly, wiggling it a bit so that you can remove it from the toothpick when it is done. Be sure to glue the end well enough to hold.
Step Three: We used some colored beads to put in between the homemade ones. (I don't recommend handing them the bag...I'm still stepping on lost beads.)
Step Four: Thread the beads with your needle. Your preschooler could help you do this with LOTS of supervision. (Mine loves to use the thimble)


Tie of the string and you have friendship bracelets and/or a homemade Valentine's gift.
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Toddler Activities for Valentine's Day: Fourteen days to go...

We made our Valentine's Day countdown today and hung it on a ribbon in our living room. Funny thing: I forgot to count the hearts. We cut out a few of each color and I hung them without ever making sure we had fourteen. I just now realized this and counted...and we have exactly fourteen. That's counting the small giraffe my three year old made for me to hang with the hearts.
What luck.
We folded our paper in half and I drew half of a heart for my preschooler to cut out. Then we thought of some simple things we could do to show our love for one another.

That one on the left says, "Share." I think.

Fourteen days to go. Our anniversary is on the 11th, but I never let my husband combine the celebrations. I don't want to be cheated!

P.S. Do you ever get hit by a small bout of the blues after a vacation? Isn't that why they say you need a vacation after your vacation? We came home from a trip to San Diego on Sunday night and I was a WRECK on Monday. Around 2pm, I was about to leave the kids with my husband (who was trying desperately to get some work done from our home office) and go sleep in my car somewhere far far away. It isn't until I'm sleep deprived and grumpy that I realize how much NOISE my kids make. Geesh. After 8 hours of good sleep that night (interrupted by only two feedings), I am a new woman today. It's amazing what sleep can do. Precious sleep.
On that note, I'm off to bed.
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