What I am most thankful for…

As Thanksgiving inches closer and closer I am excited to participate in Mom Gadget’s  Blog Carnival “What I am most Thankful for this Year“. Please check out Katelyn’s blog Free Holiday Ideas to see what our others members are thankful for!

First I just feel inclined to get this said……I am obviously thankful for family, friends, faith, food, shelter and health.

As my boys are getting into school systems and starting to have “life outside of mom” as I like to call it, I can not help but be thankful for the opportunity to shape these 2 little boys into grown gentlemen. What could be more important in this world than your kids’ future? I know every parent has got to feel the same way. How lucky am I to be such a major influence to these 2 little boys? Knowing that their future is a direct result of what I am doing now is amazing!

Every-time I think about my boys getting married and starting families, I want to work 100 times harder on my own marriage. Even though my husband and I’s parents are both still married, there are so many friends and other family members that are divorced. I feel for the children involved and often wonder what I would do or say if I ever faced a divorce….. I want my kids to know that even though marriage can be a challenge, it can still be forever.

I want my boys to build memories and traditions for their own kids. I want them to think back to their childhood and tell their wives with confidence that they will be amazing dads and husbands. That their childhood was full of love, and that they owe it to their parents.

The children are our future…it is NOT just a song! Think about it next time you see your kids! I am most thankful for being blessed with the opportunity to teach 2 young little boys to be amazing gentlemen.

  

Humor – the BEST Medicine

When I found this article – I thought, you know I could not have said it better myself…so here you go! 

From Dr Sears.com

HUMOR-THE BEST MEDICINE

In disciplining a growing child, a parent wears many costumes: You put on your policeman’s cap for dangerous situations, your preacher’s collar for morality lessons, your diplomatic tie and tails for power struggles, and your doctor’s coat for healing little hurts. But the costume that will serve you best during tough discipline times is your jester’s cap.

Humor surprises. Levity catches a child off guard and sparks instant attention, diffusing a power struggle before the opening shots are fired. Humor opens up closed little ears and minds. Here is how one mother turned comedienne and used humor to get cooperation from her children. Six-year-old Lauren and three-year- old Nicholas were in the middle of a squabble over a toy at the end of the day when their mother was already stressed. She had neither the time nor the energy to get out her therapist couch and delve into her children’s feelings. Instead she grabbed a big toy block and put it on her head, and her act began. “Mom is going to be a blockhead,” she said. “I’m going crazy. I can’t take this bickering anymore.” She started being really goofy and silly. The children cracked up and everyone was laughing as the mother’s antics diffused the children’s quarreling. Mother then sat down with the children and said, “It’s a tough time of the day. Mom is tired. I’ve got to get dinner ready. You’re tired; you’re hungry; please help me fix dinner.”

Humor gets jobs done. Seven-year-old Aaron’s room was a mess. Instead of “Go make your bed,” his comical mother let the bed do the talking. “I walked by your bed this morning,” she said, “and it cried ‘Please cover me, I’m cold.'” Even for adults, humor has a way of getting jobs done. I remember well the sign in the surgeons’ changing room at our local hospital that says: “Your mother doesn’t live here.”

Humor protects. Three-year-old Alan had a habit of darting away from his parents, especially in parking lots. Dad decided to play the blind man’s game. As they came out of a store, Dad put his hand over his eyes, gave the child the car keys, and said, “Please hold my hand and lead me to the car.” Of course, he peeked a lot.

Humor disarms. Children can look at your face and realize when you are going to say no to something. They are already mustering up resistance; you break through by putting on your best comic mask. Humor also helps snap a child out of regressive behavior. Here is how a mother in our practice solved this problem: Four-year-old Monica insisted on wearing a diaper because her new brother did. Mother played along with Monica’s game by trying to put a small, newborn-size diaper on her. As they both struggled to get the diaper to fit, Monica realized how silly her whim was.

We use humor quite often to give a child a second chance to obey. Our children love videos, so we put on our “rewind” theatrics. “Matthew, please help me clear the table.” “But Dad,” Matthew protests. Immediately I say “Rewind!” I step back a few feet and start over, this time making a grand gesture toward Matthew, indicating the cue for his second chance. This approach usually results in both laughter and obedience.

Use humor sensitively. There are times when your child’s behavior is no laughing matter. Also, children are sensitive to ridicule and sometimes take your humor as a sarcastic put-down, even when you may simply be trying to bring a bit of levity to a tense situation. There are times to be serious, and there are times to be funny. Both have a place in disciplining your family. Much of your discipline can be amusing to your kids, and it’s fun to have an admiring audience.

$1.00 Frisbee = a memory to last a lifetime…

Talk about a boring Sunday…..

My husband was working and me and my boys were being really lazy ~ watching TV and hanging out on the sofas! After an hour or so of this, I decided even if you guys aren’t going to tell me you are bored ~ I AM! So I turned off the TV and told the boys to put on their shoes, we are getting out! We took off down main street, and the whole time they are asking “MOM, where are we going?”. Problem is, I just needed to get out of the house. I had no clue where we were going. I figured we would make a pass by the park, and I could let them kill a few hours there. Then I saw them…..

Two collage age boys throwing Frisbee in front of their apartment complex.

I tried to remember the last time I had thrown a Frisbee…..gosh, that must have been a family vacation we had taken to a beach somewhere in Mississippi when I was a child. My dad picked up a Frisbee as a souvenir in one of those big commercial chain places. It was hot pink and had black lettering. In my small hands this thing was huge. I remember throwing Frisbee with my dad on the beach, and trying so hard to make that perfect toss that would simply land right in his hands. We would occasionally have to jump into the waters’ edge to catch a “slip of the wrist” toss.  We laughed and laughed for hours as my mom and little brother built sand castles and watched us. I must have been 7 or 8 years old. The more I remembered this day so long ago, the more I thought about my own 2 boys.

Do they even know what a frisbee is?

I turn to my oldest (he is 6) and ask if he wants to go throw Frisbee at the park. He looks at me and says “What?”. I explain, and he says “sure”. So we pull into the Dollar Tree and go in for one single item ~ a Frisbee. We ended up getting a very bright neon orange one that we would be sure not to miss if it got caught in a tree. Total with tax = $1.08.

So we get to the park and the boys are ready to see what this Frisbee stuff is all about. Our first few attempts were hilarious. Anyone watching was probably holding back their own laughter. After about 15-20 throws for each of us, we began to get the hang of it. We got better at controlling where this Frisbee was going, and even better at catching it. After about an hour or so my 6 year old starts trying some “tricks” like catching it under his leg, or taking a big running start before tossing it. It seemed like the time flew by. We stood there, the 3 of us in our little triangle formation tossing and catching for hours. Never once did either of my boys ask to go on the slides or swings. They never had even the slightest argument. They were really enjoying this ~ it was pure good old fashioned fun at it’s best!

Soon enough my husband called to say he was on his way home, so I told him to swing by the park, we are throwing Frisbee. He paused and said “You’re doing what?”… I knew he was thinking, he had never even seen me throw a Frisbee. Just come I told him. The boys are having a blast.

After dad gets there the boys are so excited to show him all the “new” tricks they can do. I see the look of surprise in my husbands face as he watched them run and jump and catch and toss. Dad takes over in my spot and I get to take a little break. Who knew Frisbee was such a work out?

As I sit and watch my husband playing Frisbee of all things with our boys, I think about my dad and I on that beach in Mississippi. I think about how clearly I remember that day. I know today I am building a memory for my boys that will hopefully bring them back here to this day when they are married and have kids. In today’s age of PlayStation’s, XBOX  and remote controlled everything, I want to encourage my boys to have good old fashioned fun. I want them to understand that you can have fun with your imagination, with your ideas, or with a simple item like a Frisbee.

   

Beyond Hide and Seek

I love outdoor games! Espically this time of year. The cool (but not yet cold) weather allows the kids lots of outdoor time and fun games! If you have a small army yourself or if your house is the neighborhood hangout, here are a few fun outdoor activities for kids:

Human Chain

Two people start the game. They hold hands and chase people, the person they catch joins the chain by linking hands. When another person is caught they can stay together or spilt 2 and 2 they must split in even numbers and can link together at will. This game is played till all are caught.

 

Honey, Do you Love me?

Players form a circle with one player in the middle (it). The middle person must approach players in the circle and ask, “Honey, do you love me?” The person being questioned must answer, “Honey, I love you but I just can’t smile.” If s/he does smile or laugh, s/he becomes “it” and the previous middle person joins the circle. The person who is “it” is not allowed to touch other players but may make as many funny faces as s/he wishes.

 

Wolf’s Dinner Time
One player becomes the wolf and he/she will stand with his/her back turned to the others about 15 feet from the others. The others call out, “Whats the time Mr. Wolf” and the wolf turns to face the others and shouts out a time. Eg: 9 o’clock. The others would then take 9 steps toward the wolf. The group will take the same amount of steps toward the wolf as the amount of hours in the wolfs time. eg, 4 o’clock = 4 steps, 6 o’clock = 6 steps etc. etc. The wolf will then turn his back to the group again for them to yell “whats the time….” (He looks at the group only when he shouts the time at the group”). When the group comes close to the wolf the next time the group yells “whats the time Mr. Wolf” the wolf will say ‘Its DINNER TIME” and run after the group who are running back to the start line, and hopefully catch one of the group who will then be the wolf. It sounds noisy, but is an interesting game.

Red Light, Green Light
In this game, one person plays the “stop light” and the rest try to touch him/her. At the start, all the children form a line about 15 feet away from the stop light. The stop light faces away from the line of kids and says “green light”. At this point the kids are allowed to move towards the stoplight. At any point, the stop light may say “red light!” and turn around. If any of the kids are caught moving after this has occurred, they are out. Play resumes when the stop light turns back around and says “green light”. The stop light wins if all the kids are out before anyone is able to touch him/her. Otherwise, the first player to touch the stop light wins the game and earns the right to be “stop light” for the next game.

KING 
The whole group hides their eyes and counts out loud together to 50, while one person goes and hides. Then everyone begins to look for the King. When you spot the KING, you don’t tell anyone, then when no one is looking, you slip in and hide with the King. Eventually everyone starts to disappear, and the one left notices he’s all alone, and rather embarrassed to be the last one left. The first one to find the King, gets to hide as the KING in the next round.

Clothes Pin Tag
Mark off a play area of at least 40ft by 40ft by putting rope on the ground. All players are to receive 5 clothes pins, pinned the back of their shirts. Have them all spread out around the edge of the rope before starting. The object is to try to capture clothes pins from someone else’s back without loosing yours. If you capture a clothes pin you are to go down on one knee while pinning it on your back. While you are on one knee, no one can take a clothes pin from you. If you go out of bounds you loose a clothes pin. There is no pushing and you can only touch clothes pins, no touching or pulling clothes or the body. Any violators will loose one clothes pin to victim. The person with the most clothes pins in the allowed time you choose wins. You can play teams and the team with the most is the winner also.

Fun Brain dot com

Online sites that are appropriate for my 6 year old are great. He thinks he is “big” by getting a chance to be on the computer, and if the sites teach him something along the way, that is an added bonus!

I recently found www.funbrain.com

This one is great! He loves it! It has everything from Math and Reading to Spelling and Games. I highly recommend this one for school age kiddos!

Halloween Eve……

Well, here it is ~ the night before the big night! My boys are itching to put on those Ninja costumes tomorrow and show off their “moves”. We have decided to go to a small block party at our friends house. It is a small neighborhood of maybe 20 or so houses…so we will be entertaining the kids with games, hayrides and dancing more than trick or treating. I think it is going to be a blast! 

We have a certain area in our little town that gets a lot more “trick or treaters” than the average neighborhood. The police block off the roads and the crowds are worse than Mardi Gras! With a 6 & 3 year old, there is no way I would take a chance of bringing my boys there, I am way too nervous!

Here are a few last minute party ideas if you find yourself aroung a group of little ones!

  • Build A Scarecrow
    Form groups and have a variety of old clothes, pillowcases for heads, markers and newspaper. Groups have 20 minutes to create. Give prizes to the scariest or funniest.
  • Guess The Ghost
    Have one child leave the room. Then take a large sheet and have a different (child) stand and hide under the sheet. Mix up the remaining children in the room and then allow the child who left the room to come back inside. That child has to guess who’s the ghost, by process of elimination they need to figure out which child is hiding under the sheet. Then that “Ghost” goes out of the room and a different child becomes the new ghost, mix up the remaining children and repeat until all of the children have had a turn being the ghost.
  • The Grave Keeper
    The last person left wins the game!
    Choose one person to be the grave keeper. The grave keeper closes his/her eyes and counts to ten while everyone else gets into a good frozen position and stands very still. The grave keeper then walks around looking for anyone who moves. If the grave keeper catches you moving (breathing doesn’t count), you are out. You can move positions when the gravekeeper’s back is turned but don’t get caught moving. The last person left is the winner and can be the new grave keeper when you play another round. Turn the lights down a little and play scary Halloween and graveyard music to really spook it up!
  • Ghostcatcher
    Decide how many teams you will make based on the number of children. Have enough stickers for the team members to have one each of the same sticker. Choose a child to be in the center of the circle of children. Divide the rest of the children into teams of ghosts, for example Red Ghosts, Blue Ghosts. Place the pumpkin in the middle of the circle and blindfold the Ghostcatcher. Ghosts crawl around the circle on their knees and try to sneak to the middle to put their stickers on the pumpkin. If the Ghostcatcher hears a sound, he points in that direction and says, ‘Ghost!’ If the Ghostcatcher catches a Ghost before he places his sticker, that child must start over again.

Secretly ~ I enjoy Halloween as much as my boys. I am going to be the classic, yet easy to pull together “witch”. Have fun tomorrow and hopefully this will not be one of the nights your kids tell you they are bored!

Fun Halloween things for kids to do online…

Since Halloween is getting closer I wanted to visit this topic first….

Halloween IS celebrated by my family, but it is very very monitored. We try to do Halloween “parties” with the kids rather than going to the popular trick or treating neighborhoods. We focus more on pumpkin carvings and hayrides than the costumes and candy and the boys have a blast every year.

A few places online that have some neat Halloween stuff for the kids:

Virtual Jack-o-lantern – this is a neat site for kids 2 and up – you can hand pick your “virtual” jack-o-lantern’s features….eyes, nose, mouth etc. and then get a created by “insert your kids name here”printout to use for the real pumpkin carving. Best part is they can just recreate him over and over until he is just right. My 6 year old had a blast with this and now Dad and Gramps have some award winning jack-o-lantern carving in their future!

Send a Custom Jack by eMail – Here is a similar site with twist….first you go to the virtual pumpkin patch and pick out your favorite one. Then you are only limited by your imagination as to what you can carve into it! When your child is done you can add a personal message to your one of a kind jack-o-lantern and email away! This is a great rainy day activity, you could start over and have a special pumpkin for each member of your mailing list!

Halloween Coloring Sheets – Why is it that it is more fun to color on a printed picture than in a coloring book? Who knows?

Ben & Jerry’s Halloween Site – Who would have thought the “masters” of weird named ice cream would have a portion of their site dedicated to Halloween stuff. Lots of fun for little ones here!

J’s Halloween Interactive Story Telling – Something different – you can read the Halloween stories, complete with background music at your own pace. Since 1993, J’s Magic has been bringing you its annual award-winning Halloween story for kids of all ages. The pages load quick for a graphic site.

Virtual Haunted House – Cute, haunted house, that will take you room by room and even gives you the creepy background music! Turn off the light to view this one!

I don’t have a problem with my 6 year old participating in the sites above, as long as I am on the computer with him. I would never let him roam around the Internet on his own…..(gasp)….I hope you can squeeze some time in with your kiddos and let them see that there is lots of Halloween fun right here on the computer!