We have a house filled with craft supplies, but still the outdoors is our favorite place to shop for craft materials. We have a large box that we keep on our porch filled with acorns, sticks and rocks that we collected and set aside for future projects.
This gross motor skill spinner game was inspired by an idea from our clever little girl. One day after watching me do a workout video, our daughter picked up a die and rolled it and told me that she was going to do arm rolls. She rolled a 5 and did 5 arm rolls. She told me to roll too. I did and rolled a 4 and she told me to do 4 jumping jacks. This sparked a fun idea for a game that kept us both moving and laughing. This simple gross motor skills game is easy to make and fun for the whole family. Use our free printable templates or design your own.
These clay fingerprint ornaments are perfect for any occasion. They make a great keepsake gift for grandparents and mom and dad.
*This post contains affiliate links* Some photos have been updated since original post.
My daughter has inherited a lot of hand-me-down books. We have so many that we don’t even know what we own. For a very long time, my daughter has only read a few of these books. Many just sat there collecting dust, but recently she has been diving into them all. We came across a few art books the other day. We found a few great “how to draw” tutorials and also came across a cute book filled with fingerprint crafts.
Raising a child can be difficult. We are at that age with our daughter where she tries to challenge us at every turn. She does not understand why we don’t let her do certain things & thinks that we are unfair. I have been thinking about my own mother a lot during these trying moments.
I can remember being a difficult child. I can remember every eye roll and wise ass remark. I thought that my mother was so unfair & just enjoyed being a nag. Oh, how I wish I could go back & tell my young self that my mother was right about almost all of it.
Here are 10 times that my mother was right.
1. When you have kids of your own, you will understand. – This is ringing so true to me right now. A great deal of clarity comes with having a child of your own. You will never appreciate your mother more than when you have your own children.
2. Your Middle School boyfriend/girlfriend is not the only person you will ever love. – Can you remember being young & thinking that your crush was the beginning & the end of your life? For a few this might have been true, but for the majority of us, that “love” eventually passed & we crushed & were crushed several more times.
3. Study hard.- When you are young, you do not realize how important your studies will be for you when you grow up. Your parents do.
4. Wear your jacket. – If you drive by any bus stop with pre-teens or teens standing there, I am sure you will notice the lack of outerwear. It does not matter if there is a blizzard in the heart of the winter, it is just not cool to wear a jacket for some reason. We know that you are cold. Put on your jacket.
5. This too shall pass – It does not seem it at the time, but it will. As you get older, you will understand that some things are beyond your control. In time, heart aches & disappointments fade & later may even seem insignificant.
6. Just because all your friends jump off a bridge, it doesn’t mean that you have to. – A classic momism spoken by mothers for ages. This goes hand in hand with “If they don’t like you for who you are, they are not really your friend.” Mom was right. Be true to yourself. Those that like the real you will stick around.
7. Eat your vegetables. They will make you big & strong. – Food plays an important part in your all-over health. The right foods fight diseases, give you energy & just make you feel better. Mother want you to start a healthy lifestyle right from the beginning, so do them a favor, eat your broccoli.
8. Money doesn’t grow on trees. – How unfair it was of your parents not to buy you that new bike that you wanted. Why didn’t they spring for the brand name jeans? Because dear children, money really does not grow on trees. Life is expensive. This is an early lesson in financial responsibility & entitlement. You’re welcome.
10. Everything I do is because I love you. – Every decision that a mother makes, even the ones that turn out to be wrong, are because they think they are acting in your best interest. Mothers always worry. We will worry until the day we die & then we will continue to worry about you from above.
So the next time you are aimed with an eye roll or a snarky quip, remember that your mother is usually right. Listen to her.
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I have great memories of camping with my parents as child, but as I have gotten older the idea of lugging coolers & chairs into the woods & sharing a bathroom with a whole campground of strangers has somehow lost its appeal. Thanks to some great ideas in this guest post from Danielle from Modernize.com, you can enjoy the fun of camping without ever leaving your backyard.
Set Up Your Yard for a Backyard Camping Adventure
By: Danielle Hegedus
Backyard camping is a great idea for families with young children (or parents) who aren’t 100% sure about camping. You get to enjoy the fun of being outside and sleeping beneath the stars, without having to worry about wild animals or having to use the bathroom outside.
While your kids may sulk about not being able to play video games or watch Netflix, get them excited about cooking outdoors, storytelling, fun glow-in-the-dark games, and if all else fails, start talking about the s’mores! Your enthusiasm will be contagious.
Follow these simple steps to make your backyard camping adventure a great success.
Clean Up Your Yard
Enlist your family’s help in getting your backyard ready for camping. Make sure your grass is freshly mowed. Attend to any potential pest problems like ant-hills and make sure the lawn is clear of animal waste.
Set Up Your Tent
Unless you think you’ll be camping in the woods relatively soon, you don’t have to worry about investing in an expensive tent right now. However a simple tent will give you a little bit of protection from mosquitoes and other pests that can quickly make sleeping outside miserable. Assembling a tent can also be challenging, so it’s a great opportunity to teach your children how to work as a team, and to practice before you go on a camping trip further away. That said, if the weather is nice, a plastic tarp or even a bed sheet strewn up between fence posts will suffice. If you don’t have sleeping bags, try using an air mattress or pool floats (we’re not picky).
Don’t Forget the Food!
Even though you’re close to your kitchen, try to pack foods that you could make in the outdoors. You probably don’t want to start a campfire, but a small charcoal grill is great for grilling hot dogs and melting marshmallows for s’mores. Bring some healthy snacks like baby carrots or peanut butter and crackers to quell late night hunger pangs. Make sure that everyone has clear responsibilities when it comes to the food. For instance, who is managing trash? Who is packing up leftovers? These simple tasks will help your children learn responsibility and make your camping adventure that much easier.
Tell Spooky Stories
Part of the fun of camping is passing around the flashlight to tell scary stories. Encourage your kids to use their imagination to invent or recall their favorite ghost story. If scary stories will keep your kids from sleeping, consider sharing funny stories about your childhood. Your kids will be interested in hearing about your past camping trips or what you were like when you were their age. You could also sing songs, just be careful not to drive your neighbors crazy!
Sure, your family may love cornhole or Jenga, but you can play those games anytime. Make the most of your time outdoors at night with games like flashlight tag or glow in the dark water balloons! If you’d rather stay dry, wrap glow-in-the-dark tape around inexpensive hula hoops that can be used for giant ring toss or hopscotch.
In addition to not having to pack your car or navigate community showers, taking your family on a backyard camping adventure this summer will raise money for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). Sign up for the Great American Campout and NWF supporters will donate $1 to the fund for every participant up to $100,000. What are you waiting for?
For more ideas and inspiration, head to Modernize.com.
Being a mother is filled with worry. This worry begins before your child is even born. When you are pregnant, you are afraid of complications with your pregnancy & the birth. After you bring them home, your fears continue & broaden. With each new stage brings a new set of worries.
One of the most terrifying of events that we have encountered as parents was the first time our daughter experienced a night terror. In the most frantic of screams she called out for us in the middle of the night. When I went to see what was the matter, I found her sitting up in her bed. I crouched down beside her & let her know that I was there. She looked right through me with wide eyes. I called out to her & she began to scream. My husband & I tried to hold her to comfort away whatever it was that was disturbing her. She began to shake & seize until she almost fell out of our arms. We laid her back down & she started to throw herself into her bed rails. It was as if she was possessed by some sort of demon. We placed her on the ground and surrounded her with pillows as she shook & slammed her head down. Terrified that our daughter was having a seizure, we called our doctor & began to prepare to bring her to the emergency room. With tears in my eyes, I continued to watch my daughter thrash on the ground while my husband spoke to the on-call doctor. Suddenly, our daughter stopped. She put her thumb in her mouth, rolled over and fell back asleep as if nothing had happened.
This was only the first of many other incidents. Each episode is different. Some are more dramatic than others; some are strange occurrences of sleep talking in which it sounds as if she is speaking in tongues. Very usually, we can predict when one is going to occur. Her terrors are usually brought on after a sickness or several days without sleep, but there are other factors that can cause a terror such as stress, sleep disruptions, sleeping away from home or in some cases, a medical condition.
Our daughter has been battling a nasty cold this week. Between the sickness & the lack of sleep due to the sickness, I knew a terror would be coming. I was right. Last night, I was awakened by frantic cries, a blank stare & the all too familiar thrashing around the bed.
What you can do:
Make sure your child is safe. If they are thrashing and flailing around, place them somewhere safe so that they don’t injure themselves.
Do not try to intervene. We learned this the hard way. Trying to hold or touch them will only prolong the episode. Talk in a hushed voice or sing softly and let it ride out. Be sure to stay close by until it is over & they are no longer in danger of injuring themselves.
You may also try products such as Lully Sleep Guardian. Check out what people are saying about this system.
Have you had any experiences with night terrors? Please share.
As much as we would all like to be super mom or dad every day, the truth is there are times that we are less than perfect. There are moments in parenthood that we are not always proud of.
1. We use our children as excuses not to go places. – “I would love to come to your Tupperware party, but unfortunately the little one has a sniffle.” Not only have we used them as an excuse not to go somewhere, they give us a great out when we want to leave somewhere early.
2. We have left our kids in pajamas for the whole day. – We have even been known to stay in our jammies all day long with them. Don’t judge.
3. We have fed our children snacks for a meal. A bowl of Goldfish, some fruit snacks & a couple of blueberries is a good lunch, isn’t it? I hope they are not still full from the handful of saltines with peanut butter & the box of raisins that they had for breakfast.
4. We have skipped over pages in a bedtime story. – I have skipped over words, paragraphs & even full pages to get through a story quicker when I was tired. Unfortunately, as they get older they begin to realize this trick.
5. We have completely tuned out something that our child was saying. – We do not do this intentionally, but let’s be honest; we have all done this at least once while distracted by another task. A few head nods and a carefully placed “Reeeaally?”‘ or two while you are fixing dinner and you have missed a whole conversation.
6. We have called our children by the wrong name. – For the longest time growing up, I thought my name was Linda-Kim. My mother mixed up me and my sister so much that she just started calling us both by the two names combined.
7. We have kept our children awake in the car, so that they would nap at home. – Let’s face it, a nap in the car is a waste of perfectly good quiet time for mommy & daddy. I have tickled my child’s feet, sang or given her a snack when I saw that she was starting to doze off. Stay awake kiddo, mommy wants a nap too.
8. We have lied to our kids. – Whether it is perpetuating the myth of Santa Clause & the Easter Bunny or trying to convince our child that brussel sprouts taste good, we have all told a few white lies.
9. We are not above bribery. – We know we should not do it, but we do. In a pinch I have pulled out a bag of Skittles to get through a meal out at a restaurant. I have offered treats to get her to smile for a family photo. Sometime desperate parents crack under pressure.
10. We don’t like other people’s kids. – This does not apply to everyone of course. There are exceptions, but on the whole other people’s children annoy us. You can admit it.
Let none of us mommies kid ourselves, motherhood is hard. Anyone that says differently either has the patience, energy & halo of a saint or they are on really great pills. For somebody like me, who suffers from chronic anxiety, it can be nearly impossible on certain days.
People often ask me why I am anxious. It is difficult to explain to people that it is nothing specific that causes it. It just comes on without warning. One of my biggest problems is I think too much. I fill my mind with one million & one thoughts & all of those thoughts start fighting with each other for my attention. The trick is to try to quiet all of those thoughts and get them to all stay silent long enough for me to regain myself. When you have a rambunctious toddler running circles around you & trying to push the boundaries, it just adds to the chaos in your head.
It is essential to a mother’s sanity to allow herself a few minutes of peace to recharge her batteries and get back to super-mom status or semi-super at least. One thing that used to help with the everyday stress of life is meditation. Before we had our daughter, I would do it for 10-15 minutes twice a day. It is amazing how just a few minutes can clear out the clutter in your mind.
With the uncomfortable rise in my anxiety levels as of lately, I thought it might be time to try to re-incorporate it into my daily routine. Yesterday, I retreated to my bedroom for a little bit to try just that. I found it very difficult to concentrate with my daughter laughing and screaming in the next room. After a few moments, I gave up & returned to the craziness that is our home. I was still feeling edgy and Mai was still operating at a high volume. I grabbed my daughter by the hand & asked her,
“Would you like to come & meditate with mommy for a minute?
I told her to sit down & do the same as mommy. She sat down next to me and followed my breathing. I could feel her calm. I could hear her breaths. The silence was golden. It was divine. Even though it only lasted only for a minute.
“Mama, can we open our eyes now?”
“So you are just a stay at home mom?” “Are you ever going back to work?”
Questions that are meant as accusations are asked with a judging smirk
“Working mom” is uttered as if it were a dirty phrase
What kind of mother would leave their child at this early stage?
A mother nursing in public makes people turn away their heads
While others look in disgust at a baby that is formula fed
Dr. Spock, The Ferber Method or channeling Dr. Sears
Women trying all they can to get through these formidable years
Courage of the keyboard comes out at home at night
With social media perpetuating the mommy wars fight
From disciplining your child to what you’re serving on their plate
The opinions flung out towards you, are full of judgment & of hate
Mother against mother, each thinking they are better than the rest
Just because it is your way does not mean that it’s the best.
You raise your child your way & I will raise my child mine
When it is all said & done, I bet they’ll both turn out just fine
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When you think they are not looking, they are taking mental note.
They learn through your actions & watch as you emote.
They can read the arch in your brow & recognize a blank stare
They can tell if you are interested or just too busy to care.
When you think that they can’t hear you, they take in every word.
They repeat the things that you wish that they never heard.
When frustration gets the better of you, think before you shout.
Choose your words carefully before you blurt them out.
When you think they don’t understand, they surprise you with what they know.
So talk to them and teach them and help their young minds grow.
When you don’t have time for one more book or one last kiss.
Remember that when these moments are gone, they’re the ones you’ll most miss.
So treasure every moment and dirty sippy cup..
because when they think that you aren’t looking, they will suddenly grow up.
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