Sunday, February 14th, 2016

embracing diversity through kids’ books…

bookplantMy adventures in being a mom often has me questioning the inclusiveness of the environments that our kids are part of – this could be their circle of friends, school or sports.  More often than not we find ourselves in the least diverse neighborhoods (reasons for that would be another very long blog….).  We all want our kids to feel included but what does that actually mean?  In our home from a young age we talked to the kids about acknowledging and embracing differences whether it is their own or ones that havent yet touched their lives.  This had made some impact on them in different ways including my soon to be 11-year old who has started chosing books that reflect who she is and what her history is all about.

Books can be great in starting a dialogue with kids.  I know when you go to the bookstore or library kids will often select those books that they are reading in class, are currently a TV series or that all their friends are reading.  That’s great – anything to get them to enjoy reading!  But, here’s an idea, why not select for them a few books about the diverse world they are part of?  A world that with technology is becoming smaller.  As a start you may want to take a look at this list by Groundwood Books – Celebrating a Diverse World through Children’s Books and maybe encourage your school library to purchase a few of them.

If you have come across other great titles feel free to share them on this blog post with other readers.

 

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

kids chores for each age

I think it is really important for kids to do chores.  My kids are 8 and 5 and they each have to do something at home.  It can be unpacking the dishwasher, taking out the recycling or folding towels. BeFunky_kids choresDepending on their mood, they are either really eager to do it or complain every second.  It seems the older they get the more resistant they are.

I recently found a great list of age appropriate chores that you can get your kids to do on The Happy Housewife. You may have some chores that are not on this list, feel free to add them.

Let me know if you try any of these and how your kids respond. You can find the printable list on The Happy Housewife but but below are some of the chores that captured my attention!

Toddler (ages 2-3):  pick up / put away toys, put clothes in the dirty clothes hamper, make bed

Preschooler (ages 4-5): match socks, set table, vacuum couch, feed pets

Early Elementary (ages 6-8): get mail, rake leaves, sweep, collect garbage, fold laundry

Elementary (ages 9-11): make simple meals, take garbage to the curb, wash / dry clothes, clean toilets

Middle School (ages 12-14): mow yard, clean out fridge / freezer, make full meals, supervise younger children’s chores

Friday, January 24th, 2014

life through the eyes of a child

Today was the first time my kids experienced school being cancelled because of the weather.  They were so excited because it had “snowed” in Austin.  Now, look at this picture – all of us will look at this and think where is the snow.  We see some ice and really that’s what it is but kids just don’t see it that way.  snowday.jpgThey were all dressed in clothes they only wear once a year when we go skiing and ready to play.  Sliding down the ice on the driveway and trying to gather enough to make a snowball.  There were a lot of laughs and they truly had a great morning.   Looking at other updates on Facebook, my fellow Austinites are saying the same thing, one even had her son trying to slide around in a cardboard box!

When they wanted to go out I first went to the mom mode of this is a great day to just stay in bed and watch a movie, I can catch up on emails and do some laundry.  Then, I thought – why?  Let me just go out and have fun with them and we did, we had a great hour outside playing with ice!  How often do we do this?   We don’t see the fun, the snow that may be there and the excitement.  So, go ahead have a snow day – it doesn’t have to be snow just be a kid for a day wherever you are and have some fun.

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Saturday, January 4th, 2014

10 old school activities to do with your kids

Why do we overthink “what can we do with the kids today”.  My kids love spending time doing really simple activities.  What’s more important is that I take time to do something with them.  Below are some easy, minimal cost (if any) you can do in your backyard or driveway.  They don’t take a lot of time so even when you are tired from a long day at the office,  take 15 minutes get outside and spend some quality time as a family.  I guarantee you will feel great and so will the kids.

1. side-walk chalk art gallery: everyone does their own picture and pretend you are at a gallery viewing all of them.

2. put on some music and have some fun singing along with the kids while playing jump rope

3. hopscotch – needs no explanation!

old shool fun4. simon says – the winner gets to choose the next game to play

5. hide ands seek – when was the last time you played??

6. freeze tag – slight variation on tag in that the person has to freeze if they are caught.  if you have a few kids playing, another person can try and unfreeze them.

7. guess the clouds – lay a blanket down and watch the clouds. each person can say what shape / object they see in the cloud.  this is a great way to really hear about your kids’ imagination.

8. any type of game with balls – basketball, soccer, four ball etc.  make it interesting for the kids and have a goal like “how many goals can we score in 2 minutes”

9. go on a treasure hunt in your own garden.  have the kids find flowers, pebbles, dried plants etc.  tomorrow you can have them create a picture / collage with all their treasures.

10. superhero adventures.  have everyone choose a superhero, think of an act to play out like we have to save people from a villain (use dolls / action figures for the people.  how will you save them?  have someone play the villain.

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Star Wars light sabers with pool noodles

One of my best friends had a Star Wars themed birthday party this summer and made these great light sabers from pool noodles.   I found some very easy to follow instructions on www.spoon.com.  All you need is pool noodles, silver duct tape and black electrical tape.

pool noodle light sabers

Here’s what you do

1. Cut the noodles in half, using a sharp knife.

2. Wrap the bottom quarter in the silver duct tape.

3. Wrap 3 pieces (rings) of black electrical tape around the top of the silver duct tape.

4. Stick 2 pieces of black electrical tape under the 3 black rings.

That’s it – you can use any color pool noodle and everyone will have fun.  Quick, easy and not expensive to do.

 

 

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

quick & easy christmas treats for neighbors

Every year we make home made goodies for Christmas that we share with neighbors, friends and colleagues.  This year I wanted something festive, fun and easy enough that the kids could help.  For us, it is so important that the kids be involved – even if the final product doesn’t look that great!!

I found this great easy snack online (www.cookingclassy.com) that looks festive and takes 10 minutes to make.  Have fun with it!!

Pretzel M&M Hugs {Christmas Style}
Yield: 70

Pretzel M&M Hugs {Christmas Style}

Ingredients

  • 70 square pretzels (do NOT use butter snaps)
  • 70 Hershey’s Hugs chocolates (from nearly 1 full 12 oz package), unwrapped
  • 70 Milk Chocolate M&M’s, I used the red and green Christmas package

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Align pretzels on cookie sheet in a single layer then top each pretzel with one Hershey’s Hug chocolate. Bake in preheated oven for 4 – 5 minutes, until the chocolate is shiny and soft (but NOT melting, the chocolates should still hold their shape).
  • Remove from oven and carefully place one M&M in the center of each soft Hug and press down on M&M to spread the chocolate. Place in refrigerator and allow to rest until chocolate has set, about 5 minutes. Store in an airtight container.
  • Recipe Source: adapted from g*rated