Monday, July 31, 2006

Teaching by Example = Learning by Example

I've found one of the best ways my kids learn is by example. Young kids often learn by mimicking others. My son is the best "cleaner uper" in his day care class and I know it's because his first day care provider set such a good example and he copied her (and the Barney song helps too). I've tried my best to use good manners especially around my children- and my daughter (on most occasions) uses her good manners. Every day and often without even realizing it, we're teaching our children with our words and actions.
Recently, I spoke with my best friend and it reminded me of a scene she described to me a few months ago. My friend had been grocery shopping and was getting her kids back into their car seats. A woman in the next parking space was doing the same routine with her two kids. One of the woman's kids was misbehaving and hit her brother. The woman responded by telling her daughter, "don't you hit" while at the same time spanking her kid. Now regardless of how you feel about corporal punishment-how can you possibly teach NOT hitting with hitting?

Do you think that child learned not to hit? That is definitely a situation that calls for teaching by example.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Need some fun ideas?

Looking for fun, new things to do? Running out of ideas to rid boredum?
Check out

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Baby Shower Ideas & Etiquette

Baby Showers are supposed to be a blessed and happy occasion, but often times people and circumstances can make them seem stressful. They don't have to be. If you're hosting or co-hosting a shower-so many party ideas are available on line now. You can do everything from download printable invitations to baby shower games. Plus, there are numerous sites about baby shower etiquette such as this site.
If you're a MOM-TO-BE or a mom having another baby shower always remember this is for YOU and your baby. It's tough trying to please everyone and if your shower is in the last trimester like most, you've got enough to deal with. Don't worry about pleasing everyone and you don't have to heed everyone's advice. If there is ever a time to do what you want-it's now and you can even take advantage of your condition (mood swings) to justify your behavior.

If you're a GUEST, PLEASE ONLY BUY WHAT THE MOM HAS REGISTERED FOR!! Not what you think the mom wants. It's a difficult chore to register for all that baby stuff and new parents shouldn't have to worry about returning stuff they didn't even register for in first place. EXCEPTIONS-If there is some absolutely needed item the mom left off her registry or you want her to have a basket of the little oft-forgot things-I like to call the mom and/or add something from the registry if I go that route though.

I'm helping throw a baby shower for my cousin and found these sites helpful Baby Shower Central and The Baby Shower Site. Hopefully, the mom has a baby book for the guests to sign and for a host/guest to mark the gifts and who gave them. If not, a book will be necessary-talk to the mom-to-be about the style she prefers. It's always fun to have everyone guess the baby's weight & height, the sex if it's unknown or even how long the labor will be and the time of birth. You can print out a simple spread sheet as a keepsake for the baby book and have the guests fill it out when they first arrive.
The guest list for my cousin's shower is large so I'm keeping the games simple and to a maximum of three. For any baby shower size, if games are played-I'd keep the maximum the same-but the games could be more involved with a smaller party.
I loved the guessing the Mother's waistline game at my shower and it's a good way for the large number of guests to get a little one-on-one time with the Mom-to-be. The guests cut pieces of ribbon or yarn to match their guess of the Mom's belly circumference. The person with the closest guess wins. My other favorite game is a memory game. You buy several baby necessities and place them in a basket. Show the guests the basket and the contents and then set it out of sight. The guest who remembers the most items wins. The Mom-to-be is the big winner though as the basket is great for baby items, toys or laundry and most often she'll forget to register for infant gas drops and teething gel!

Here's a list of several items to choose from for the basket memory game or for an "oft-forgot-baby-necessities-gift basket": (Moms-to-be might want to take notes)

-Basket (if one is not on the registry- a plastic laundry basket is just fine-I bought one from the dollar store)
-Baby Ora-jel (for teething)
-Infant gas drops (Mylicon brand is the best)
-Infant Tylenol (Motrin or ibuprofin products can't be used the first 6 months)
-Baby Vicks Vapor Rub
-Extra infant medicine droppers
-Baby Nasal Aspirator or "snot sucker"
-Saline drops (help to clear baby's stuffy nose)
-Diaper Cream (Boudreaux's Butt Paste worked best on my kids)
-Travel baby wipes or baby wipe refills
-Baby shampoo, wash & lotion (can't have too much of these)
-Travel size baby shampoo, wash & lotion (perfect for keeping in diaper bag)
-Travel kleenex (for mom & baby)
-Hand sanitizer (there is even a version that comes with a clip-also perfect for a diaper bag)
-Newborn & size 1 diapers (can't have too many of these-but varied sizes are good as the baby could be big and outgrow newborn diapers quickly)
-Nursing pads (thick & thin sizes if the mom will be breastfeeding)
-Lansinoh Cream (if the mom will be breastfeeding-this is the best & safest cream for cracked skin/nipples)
-Diaper Genie (or similar) refill bags (if the mom's registered for a diaper dispenser)
-Bag of clothe diapers (even if the mom's using disposable diapers-the diaper clothes make great spit-up rags, etc and you don't care about staining them like the real, aborable burp clothes or bibs)
-Gift from the registry- if you're making these items for a gift basket (a grooming kit or thermometer would fit nicely)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Best Bottle Brush - Best Baby & Child Products Series #1

My cousin is having a baby shower in a few weeks and I've been thinking of some of the better necessities she'll soon need. As I cleaned my kids' sippy cups this morning, I realized I was using THE BEST BOTTLE brush. The maker is Munchkin and they make many quality baby/child products.
Their bottle brush is better than most because it is multi-functional. The brush has a small brush that screws into the end of the handle. The small brush gently cleans bottle nipples and gets deep into sippy cup lids and stoppers. Plus, the brush has lasted for years. I just run it through the dishwasher to keep it clean. Also, the bottom of the handle has a suction cup to allow for sanitary drying!

(I'll make this a continuing series and list other best baby/kid products)

Monday, July 17, 2006

keeping in touch...

With a husband who's working out-of-town often, keeping in touch with the family is very important. Luckily, in this high-tech cell phone age, my hubby doesn't just get to talk with the kids, he can see instant pictures. If I upgrade my phone, he can also see video. My hubby sends us video clips of him. He and I often text message too. But, staying in touch shouldn't stop there. Technology is great for immediate communication- be it a cell phone, email, instant messaging, etc.

Writing a letter is truly keeping in touch...
It's tactile-something you hold on to.
It's more intimate.
It's memorable.

I've put together a large envelope for my husband. It includes a letter from me and some drawings the kids created. It also contains some of the daily activity sheets our kids get from day care. The detailed sheets have info about what the kids learned about, what activities they participated in, what they ate, how long they napped, how they were emotionally and for our young son even how many times they changed his diaper. I thought it might help my husband keep up with how the kids are doing.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Great kid-friendly finds at the local grocery store

Why can't every store have one of these parking spaces? Thank you Kroger's!
If you can't read the cell phone pic I took while blinded by the sun, the sign reads "EXPECTANT MOTHER PARKING" and no I don't need one of those spaces-I just appreciate it.

Could a shopping trip get any easier? Well... yes, but this cart sure keeps my son's attention while I get the groceries.

And wipes provided for the cart too? I'll be a loyal customer of Kroger's because of all these kid-friendly extras!

Wow-diapers and wine both on sale for $7.99!! (It's nice to be back in Texas)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Go For A Stroll

Strollin', strollin', strollin' keep those kiddos strollin'-good exercise!

I don't have time for going to a gym and keeping up after my two kids seems like exercise! But, I never feel like I'm getting enough cardio. It's great to take my kids for a light jog/fast walk stroll around the neighborhood or down to the local park. It's also a great way to get a walk in even if it's a leisurely stroll. My kids and I enjoy getting outside. A stroll is especially good after a hard day of play to calm the kids down before nap time or to view the changing colors in the sky before sunset. While it's summertime, take advantage of your stroller and stroll to your neighborhood park or pool instead of driving.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Chucky E. Cheese has it's pros and cons

Having recently moved from California to Texas, I didn't have much time to prepare for my daughter's 4th birthday. I'm all about keeping birthday parties simple and still fun (as I wrote in Happy, Happy Birthdays). I thought about a simple party at one of my family members' homes, and then I remembered that my daughter still talks about her friend's Chucky E. Cheese birthday party that was almost a year ago. Now I hate Chucky E. Cheese's because as a parent, you're so involved watching the kids play games that you don't really get to TALK to any other adults. The conversation is minimal and often interrupted. But, this isn't my party and kids love Chucky E. Cheese. My daughter was incredibly excited to have her party there. I planned the party in less then 5 days and here are some tips to a better Chucky E. Cheese party:
-Have the party early on the weekend (like when they open & before the crowds) Our party was on a Wednesday evening from 5:30pm to 8pm. We had a small party and the location was convenient for the family to get to after work.
-I didn't pay for the Official party. It does include everything but I found it expensive for a small 8 kid/12 adult party. (Most adults don't like the pizza there anyway-they want wings or salad) There are coupons in the paper for combos that include pizza, drinks and tokens at about a $20 savings from the every day combo specials. I bought my own themed plates, napkins and forks. I also brought my own cake. You can still sit in the birthday area with the mechanical Chucky characters.
-I gave each kid a plastic token cup with 15 tokens to start (I'd pass out more as they were needed)-I made the mistake of assuming every Chucky E. Cheese sells beer and wine (most do). I'd call ahead to check.The one we went to had stopped selling it and PawPaw, the great aunts and me were none to happy. It's much easier to swallow a little Chucky E. Cheese with a beer or wine chaser!
-I purchased really cool party favors at the dollar store that didn't look like they were from the dollar store (Disney spinning top, individually wrapped Ritz crackers, individually wrapped Sponge Bob crabby patties, blow pops, mini M&M tubes, glowing rubber bouncing balls, Disney swirly straws)
One thing I do like about Chucky's is they stamp each parents hand with a stamp that cooresponds to their kids. This way is the maze and craze of people you have some comfort that no one can walk out with your child. All kids' and adults' stamps are checked on the way out.


Monday, July 03, 2006

Fourth of July Kid Crafts and teaching the origin of July 4th

Do your kids just know the Fourth of July as firecracker day?
Tell them all about the origins of the Fourth of July and make a craft and why not have a Boston tea party too.
Depending on the age of your kids, the many events that led up to Independence Day can be overwhelming and hard to comprehend. But, several web sites such as this one offer a general, short history you can retell to your children in a way they can understand. I'm telling my daughter about the first thirteen colonies wanting independence and how they finally got the Declaration of Independence passed. I thought I might mention the story of the Boston tea party since she loves playing tea time so much. Then, we'll create a fun Fourth craft.

Family Fun magazine has lots of easy and great July 4th craft ideas:

Flag Fan

Star Spangled Wavers (We used straws and paper instead of a wooden dowel and felt)

"John Adams, a lawyer, the first Vice President and the Second President of the United States, was one of the members of the Second Continental Congress who signed the Declaration of Independence. He wrote to his wife, I believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival... it ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other..."