Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Web Cam Christmas

This Christmas my cousin decided at the last minute to set up a web cam at my aunt's house in Texas. I braved Fry's Electronics on Friday before the holiday and bought a web cam for our computer. I'd never done anything like this before and it was easier than I imagined (although my husband did most of the set-up). It was the best Christmas away from home and I can't believe we hadn't done it sooner. I enjoyed Christmas dinner and even a "Scrooge" game (white elephant game) with my entire family in Houston. It was amazing, a bit surreal and lots of fun! The picture and sound were clear and we watched in real time.
My husband and I want to get web cams for both our parents now. It's such a great way to communicate and allow family to see our kids grow.
And it's FREE!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Gak, Oobleck, Flubber & Silly Putty recipes

Science class at home-fun, easy recipes for Gak, Oobleck, Flubber and Silly Putty from Homeschooling.com (The site also offers several other recipes and ideas for fun learning at home.)

I took my kids to a fellow daycare mate's birthday party and the Birthday boy's mom gave homemade silly putty as party favors. What a great idea! I asked her for the link so I could share it on my blog. I can't wait to make some myself. It is such a great way to teach sensory motor skills.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


I have been uttering the oddest phrases as a mom. And as soon as I hear myself speak them, I laugh to myself (or wince) and wonder how many other moms have said the same things.

Here's my current Top Ten List--See if any sound familiar:

10. "The cat doesn't like to be tackled."
9. "Don't drag your brother!"
8. "We don't make mud pies in the house-take that outside, please."
7. "The toilet is not a Barbie bathtub."
(Tupperware is very handy in this case)
6. "Daddy's computer screen is not paper-we only color on the paper."
5. "Don't put your finger in MY nose."
4. "The litter box is NOT a sand box."
3. "Don't smother your brother-that means get off of him NOW!"
2. "Please, wipe your bum before you sit on the furniture."
And the Top Ten oddest utterance...
"Oh, don't teethe on the training potty..."

Monday, December 19, 2005

Tips for fussy babies

I swear my brother-in-law is Mr. Sandman. He can put any baby to sleep. He also has the magic touch with fussy babies too. During my last trip home to Texas, I discovered the secret to his touch...
To assist a baby in falling asleep, he pats the rhythm of a heart beat on the baby's back or chest.

(It makes me think of Dirty Dancing when Johnny holds Baby's hand and beats a heart rhythm on his chest "Gauh, Gauh")
I wish I'd known about this little trick when my daughter was still a baby. I use the technique with my son and it works.

For fussy babies, my brother-in-law *swaddles tightly (*the best baby tip of all time) and then also pats the rhythm of a heart beat on the baby's back.
(Disclaimer: I can almost guarantee this method, but I know all babies are different. Believe it will work and give it a try)
*-Place a receiving blanket on a flat surface and fold down the top corner about 6 inches.
-Place your baby on his back with his head on the fold.
-Pull the corner near your baby's left hand across his body, and tuck the leading edge under his back on the right side under the arm.
-Pull the bottom corner up under your baby's chin.
-Bring the loose corner over your baby's right arm, and tuck it under the back on his left side. Some babies prefer to have their arms free, so you may like to swaddle your baby under the arms so he has access to his hands and fingers. (from BabyCentre.com)

A great book about swaddling and other helpful tips for fussy babies is The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp

Friday, December 16, 2005

Parent Job Description

(I received this from my uncle via email today-it's pretty funny...)

Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma
Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa

Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an, often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities! Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.
The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.
None. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you
None required. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.
Get this! You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.
While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life if you play your cards right.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Easy, kid-friendly Treats

Just in time for the holidays-my daughter is 3-years-old and loves helping make these yummy treats.
ARMADILLO BITES (some people call this stuff "Puppy Chow?")
2 cups chocolate chips (I just use the whole bag 12-14 oz)
1 reg. box Crispix® or Rice Chex® (I use the store brand stuff-much cheaper)
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup margarine/butter
3 cups (aprox) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
1 paper grocery sack
1 large 2" to 3" deep pan (I use a large aluminum roasting pan from the dollar store)

Heat chocolate chips, peanut butter and margarine on HIGH in a glass bowl in microwave until melted — mix well. In pan, combine cereal and chocolate mix-add vanilla. Stir until completely coated. Pour powdered sugar in paper sack, add cereal mix, and shake to coat. (The powdered sugar and shaking will separate the cereal bites) These are great to fill little goodie bags!

My daughter also enjoys making Christmas cookies. If you don't have the time to make
your own cookie dough, an easy way to share this holiday tradition is to buy pre-made cookie dough. I roll out the dough. My daughter and I cut the shapes out together and I let her decorate with holiday-colored sprinkles.

In addition, Pillsbury makes cookie dough with holiday shapes/decor already on them-you just slice and bake. And many grocery stores now offer holiday-shaped, already baked cookies. You just have to decorate/frost them!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

"I think Aedan swallowed nail polish"

Saturday night I went to a friend's housewarming party. While stuffing my face and enjoying adult conversation, I thought I'd heard my phone ring. I checked to see if I had any calls and sure enough I missed a call from my husband. I returned his call. He answered quite frantic and yelled, "I think Aedan has swallowed nail polish." Then, he hung up!
I wasn't sure how to react? I thought to myself, "Did I just hear what I think I heard? Nah...but...maybe... I'll try calling again." I phoned several more times with no answer. I calmly decided my husband must be on the phone to poison control and he'll call me back when he has a chance. A few of the party guests noticed the confused look on my face. I told them about my abrupt phone conversation and I asked them, "Can you really drink nail polish?" It just seems so thick and would dry too quickly??? One of the party-goers said my hubby was just trying to get out of having to watch the kids. Ha, I laughed, but not inside. I called home again. This time my husband answered. My daughter had apparently painted her little brother and from the looks of him, there was no telling how much (if any) he had ingested. When I write that my daughter "painted," it's more like she dumped two bottles of nail polish over her brother's head. I didn't get to see what Aedan looked like post the 3-year-old beauty-salon treatment. My husband said you could only see our son's eyes. Thank goodness the polish didn't get in them. My husband scrubbed Aedan's face for 45 minutes. The dark pink polish is still in his hair. It looks like Aedan has a severe head wound. I researched on the net to find ways to remove the polish from his head and hair:
"You could try using baby oil and see if the dried polish will slide out - like you would to remove gum. Using ice might work, too.
Or a non-acetone nail polish remover if all else fails.
Once the nail polish has dried it actually shouldn't be too difficult to remove - in fact, unless it is a big knotted up mess, you *might* be able to slide it from the hair without using oil or chemicals."
The baby oil did absolutely nothing. The non-acetone polish remover did remove some of the polish from Aedan scalp. I just needed so much to work into the matted hair the smell was wiping me out. I couldn't imagine the fumes weren't getting to my son too. I think we'll be taking a trip to the barber shop tonight.
Some polish managed to get on the floor & Aedan's shirt

best pic of Aedan's head (shows very little though)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Hiding Presents

I heard some tips about hiding presents on the radio the other morning. Luckily, hiding gifts isn't a hassle for me, yet. My kids are still too young to know any better and my husband has a hard enough time finding his cell phone on a daily basis. But, I did take note of a few of the tips I thought were especially helpful.
--Suitcases are a great place to hide gifts
--During the holidays, the containers that your holiday decor is stored in make for great gift storage while they're empty of the decorations
--Empty boxes stored in the garage/attic/basement
(I keep all my appliance boxes & several empty boxes in my garage)
--The trunk of your car

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Lullaby and good night...

My 10-month-old son is finally sleeping through the night-much later than my daughter. She was sleeping through the night at about 6 weeks-old. There are several tips and tricks that I have tried. The tip that I find to be most universal for kids is HAVING A ROUTINE. The "night night" routine should be at the same time and relatively same order each night. My daughter still has a nighttime routine at 3 1/2 years-old. If followed properly, she wakes up in a good mood. If we missed the time frame and were lazy (didn't read her a book or tuck her in well), my daughter is restless and usually cranky the next day. Another good tip, is to BE CALM yourself. Kids feed off our energy. Even if you are in the moment, but thinking about things to do for the next day or reliving a stressful day in your head, your child is going to sense your anxiety. During the nighttime routine, don't think of anything else but easing your child into a pleasant, restful sleep. Share this special time with your child and leave thoughts of laundry, grocery lists, job stress or money worries for later.
Actually, knowing how kids feed off of your energy is a good tip for other areas of parenting. If you're calm, it's much easier to calm a child who has been hurt or is upset about something. When scolding a child, they're much more likely to listen to calm, logical dialogue than to screaming and yelling.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Toddlers and the meaning of LOVE

Here's a trick my daughter has been using recently to get out of bed at night and prolong actually going to sleep:
She comes to my husband and/or me and says, "I has ta give you 'nother hug and kiss," and adds "I love you, daddy/mommy."
Oh, she's a genius alright. How can you get mad at that display? It's just so frigin' cute!
But, it made me wonder. At three-years-old is my daughter simply mimicking or does she understand "I love you?" It seems she must understand the phrase in order to use it to her advantage? And if it's true you learn by example, she gets plenty of snuggling, hugs and kisses and "I love yous" to see and feel a connection. Plus, she sees how worried I get when she doesn't look both ways before she crosses the street and hears the correlation; "You have to be more careful crossing the street and always look both ways. Mommy loves you and doesn't want you to get hurt." (I could list several similar senarios) Also, I try to reward her for good behavior and show extra attention and affection. Bad behavior means time out and little to no attention from me. It didn't take long for my daughter to realize she gets attention when she behaves whether its sharing, cleaning up, being a good big sister or using her good manners. Or getting out of bed to give hugs and kisses and say, "I love you."
Now I wonder, how she wouldn't know the meaning of LOVE...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Fun often Free Family Activities Abound!

There is always something going on in and around your neighborhood-take your kids out and enjoy. Parks, playgrounds, hiking trails, local historical markers...
My family often goes to the local Farmer's Market (entry is free and the petting zoo and kiddy rides are cheap) Check the local paper for Festivals, Parades and Fairs. My kids love being outdoors and seeing the sights. I love taking them to free events that are colorful, musical and cultural. Many festivals offer free entry and you can pack your own snacks and water bottle to avoid spending money on junk food booths. Festivals and Fairs provide cultural or theme-specific education, free samples, giveaways, kid craft tables and much more! Weekly, I search the local paper, citysearch.com, flyers at the local market and banners hanging across the neighborhoods streets for fun, kid-friendly events. It's just as easy packing up a bag, the kids, getting them in & out of carseats, etc as it is to keep them occupied and unbored at home-plus a day out usually means a good nap later!
**It's Holiday time-drive around and see xmas lights, many parks & malls have special xmas light decorations or tree-lightings or Snow Days-FREE!
My daughter & me at a free Snow Day by Radio Disney