My mom just sent me this email and I had to share.
Cup of Tea.
One day my mother was out and my dad was in charge of me. I was maybe 2 1/2 years old. Someone had given me a little ‘tea set’ as a gift and it was one of my favorite toys.
Daddy was in the living room engrossed in the evening news when I brought Daddy a little cup of ‘tea’, which was just water. After several cups of tea and lots of praise for such yummy tea, my Mom came home.
My Dad made her wait in the living room to watch me bring him a cup of tea, because it was ‘just the cutest thing!’ My Mom waited, and sure enough, here I come down the hall with a cup of tea for Daddy and she watches him drink it up.
Then she says, (as only a mother would know…)
‘Did it ever occur to you that the only place she can reach to get water is the toilet?’
Those are the boys last September on their first days of school (Ethan in K and Ben preschool). I do not want this summer to end! I am not a huge fan of 85 degrees or higher temps but I love having all 4 kids home all day and I am trying to not think about school until the last minute. I love having “little kids” and the boys are getting big too fast now that both will be in real school. Oh but this is a post about back-to-school- shopping budgets isn’t it…did I mention that yet?
I am not doing “back-to-school” shopping so that’s how I’m budgeting! I have a son going into 1st grade, one starting kindergarten and a daughter who will be going to preschool 2 days a week (yay for Jillian who is still too little for anything!). They are all young enough that they rarely want to pick out what they wear and since we get A LOT of really nice hand me down clothes I don’t think we will need that much for the kids. I’m pretty picky about what they wear and I don’t think their wardrobes are lacking at all. The grandmothers always pick out a few new things and otherwise I am just going to wait and get them things as they need them. I only anticipate buying new sneakers for all the kids, maybe some extra pants for the boys if it seems they need them and I also hope to find winter coats that I like better than the 3-in-1 Children’s Place ones I bought last year (I bought big so they will still fit again this year if I don’t see better ones). Besides school clothes there are school supplies but I always have those types of things on hand anyway. When I looked at the boys’ lists all that I still need to buy are a couple boxes of tissues. I’m not sure what all the hype is about back to school shopping, just get things for kids as the outgrow their old things! Why does it have to be a big rush to get a ton of clothes and things before the start of the year especially when they are little? I remember my mom taking me back to school shopping when I was in middle school and we got way too many clothes and she spent way too much. I felt like I needed “cool” clothes to fit in and guilty for the price tag. Luckily I think I outgrew that phase by 10th grade. I don’t know how things will be in our family when the kids are more into fashion and what “everyone else” has but I hope they aren’t too worried about that sort of thing. I imagine we’ll let each kid pick out a few things they really want or give them each a certain budget to spend and let them figure out what to spend it on. Plus when they are older they don’t outgrow things as much so clothes should last a lot longer! I won’t mind buying some trendy expensive things that they’ll want but I will not let them go overboard unless they have jobs to buy the things themselves! For those of you who have kids who could use some budgeting ideas check out Capital One’s Moneywi$e eLearning tool, which includes a section all about talking to kids about money. Plus, check out @TeachingMoney on Twitter to get bite-sized family-focused financial tips.
*I wrote this post to participate in the Parent Bloggers Network’s latest Blog Blast, something I haven’t done it what seems like FOREVER!
I think if I were to find $5 bills every time I cleaned our house would be spotless. Instead when I clean under dressers I am greeted with these rewards…
[WARNING] – Content may not be suitable for those without children
The Parent Bloggers Network and Brothers-All-Natural are teaming up to sponsor a Blog Blast about SNACKS this weekend. With the start of kindergarten and preschool this month I have been trying to think of new snack ideas to send with the kids and I have to say its harder than I anticipated (I am also just worrying about things too much lately!). I want to send them with “healthy” things but also make sure its something they will like and actually be happy about eating. Last week I tried to stock up on some things and while at the store I bought:
- a big bag each of vanilla and chocolate animal crackers from the “healthy lane”
- a box of mixed chips/corn chips/doodles in snack bags
- Batman fruit snacks
- grapes (but they didn’t have organic ones)
- kiwi (Ethan took them cut up on Friday to school but “a spider landed on them so I only ate 3 pieces”
- yogurt covered raisins
- baby Goldfish
- waffle shaped pretzels
- cheese sticks
- unsweetened apple sauce cups
- apples (again didn’t get organic, can’t wait until they are in season)
- baby carrots
I think I did pretty well but Ethan needs to pack a separate snack and then a lunch so I need to really send him with 2 “snacks” every day and after only 2 days of school I am starting to fear he is going to get sick of what I’m giving him! I just worry right now, he is my first baby starting real school and I’m 32 weeks pregnant and emotional, so yes its silly but snacks are adding some extra stress. Here is a confession to clue you into how nuts I can be: the night before his first day of school I actually hand picked only the unbroken animal crackers and placed them in the little snack cup so that the right sides were all facing up (somehow that made me feel better at that moment even though I know it was silly)! That first day I also sent him with 3 little balls of cookie dough but I had put them in a bag and they got gross and squished by his water bottle so he couldn’t eat them (luckily I had more to give him when he got home and then I froze some to send the next day in a lidded container).
I know I’ll need lots more snack ideas so I’m happy to learn about Brothers-All-Natural from this blog blast and will look for them in the store next time. I love finding new healthier options and our stores “healthy lane” is actually more like 4 lanes so I am pretty lucky. The Brothers-All-Natural Fruit Crisps and their brand-new Potato Crisps are 100 percent natural freeze-dried snacks with no added sugar or preservatives – for a fresh new way to eat your fruits and vegetables! This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as an entry for a contest sponsored by Brothers-All-Natural.
I haven’t done a Blog Blast in awhile so I decided to join the Parent Bloggers Network and Burger King for their current Blog Blast: Are you THAT Family? They are looking for people’s “dinner out with the kids” horror stories: “tell us what you do now to avoid the food on the walls, juice on the table, and sanity gone totally out the window. Do you just not go out with them anymore? Do you bring a babysitter? Or do you stash some sort of magic toy that occupies them while you scarf down your meal?”
When our first son Ethan was born I started taking him out for lunch a lot and John and I never hesitated to bring him along when we’d go out for dinner. We were lucky and he was just SUPER good going out to eat. Our lucky streak continued after Ben was born and both boys still were great in restaurants. I was very proud of myself and thought we’d always be able to take the kids wherever we felt like to eat BUT then Jamie was born. At first all was still smooth sailing but then somewhere over the last year things started to get harder. Jamie is not quite as easy as the boys were and as a new 2 year old she is sort of hit or miss when we go out. I don’t think she is so terrible out to eat actually, its more just the combo of 3 kids that makes it much more challenging (and the boys aren’t as easy as they once were either). The more kids, the more chance of somebody getting the cranks! We’re not the family that everyone stares at because the kids are so terrible (at least we haven’t been yet!) but its like we’re on high alert sometimes trying to head off any trouble. Its not quite as enjoyable as in the past to go out as a family now and I definitely think we go out less but I think its important to keep going out and if we plan right ahead of time things work out well. I think when we have 4 kids things will be about the same but who knows!
I never was one to bring a big stash of diversions but those work for some families. I find one toy per kid and small snacks help bridge the gap between ordering and eating and I see nothing wrong with a few lollipops tucked away for emergencies! To me the biggest thing is to go out when all the nappers in the family had a good nap that day and to avoid crowded restaurants so there is no extra waiting. Its also important not to stress out! I mean what is the worst thing that can happen if the kids misbehave, you leave early? One of us has taken Jamie out to the car to leave a few minutes early while everyone else finished up and payed and it easily avoided her throwing a fit (but that has only happened twice so far).
So the whole point of this blog blast was to share your eating out horror stories but I didn’t do that since we have had no totally horrible behavior problems at a restaurant so far. We have had a whopping 3 incidents of d-word diaper leaking while out to eat since we’ve had kids, one pee accident and a minor choking/throwing up event but honestly those didn’t come to mind until just now since I was more thinking of misbehaving! Those gross moments weren’t so fun but they didn’t really ruin things either somehow (or not in my memory anyway)! So after doing this blog blast I am thinking we had better go out to eat very soon, I’m kind of craving IHop or maybe Japanese!
*If your family likes Burger King, they have new promotional kids’ meal toys by Crayola – perfect for boys or girls, and definitely worth tucking into your bag before heading out to eat.
Today I’m writing about BREAKFAST and our morning routine for the Parent Bloggers Network as part of a contest sponsored by KRAFT BAGEL-FULS. I’m not really a morning person and so my best bet is to get as much stuff ready the night before as possible so that we can avoid being late when its a day we need to go somewhere. Breakfast and getting all of the kids dressed obviously can’t happen the night before though so those things can throw me off schedule!
Our 3 &5 yr old boys never started the day starving (once they graduated the infant stage) and there have been plenty of mornings that I’ve had to leave the house and bring them something to eat in the car because they were too busy playing to sit down and eat before we left. I used to think that was a pain because I worried that they would get hungry when there was no food handy BUT now I wish that 23 month old Jamie had followed her brothers’ lead. Jamie wakes up and yells “yum yum” until I get her something to eat (usually an oatmeal bar to stop the screaming) and then just as I hand her the food she starts demanding “juice, juice juice”. Sometimes I make her very upset and actually take my pregnant bladder into the bathroom first thing after she wakes me up but most mornings I hold off and give her something first. When the boys get around to eating its usually “Daddy’s cereal” AKA: Honey Bunches of Oats (Ethan eats it dry and Ben has rice milk in his). Its summer so we aren’t usually in a rush to get anywhere so I’ve made pancakes twice this past week. Come Sept I think I better start baking healthy muffins to feed all 3 kids in the car though! Then when I have the 4th baby in Oct I’m not so sure how we’ll function and get to school on time in the mornings? Maybe the kids will have to sleep in their clean clothes and I’ll install a fridge in the car!
This weekend’s blog blast is about what makes a mom. With Mother’s Day approaching the Parent Bloggers Network is teaming up this time with Microsoft and its “Portraits of Mom” campaign that runs from April 19-May 11, 2008. I wasn’t going to participate this week because being a mom is so important and special and hard to sum up (for me at least) but I am giving it a quick go last minute.
Lets assume we’re talking about what makes a GOOD mom, I think I’m a pretty good mom (super mom at times and not so great at other times). A mom is a woman who happens to have kids and does her best to see that they grow up loved, safe, happy, and healthy. She puts her kids first but doesn’t let the world revolve around them. Depending on the moment a mom is fun, cheerful, grumpy, patient, or any mood regular people have but despite that a mom always makes sure her kids know they are loved no matter how she is feeling.
Right now I am a pregnant with my fourth baby and I love being a mom. I love the stage of motherhood I’m in with 3 of my kids still little and the anticipation of meeting this new baby I’m growing. The brand new baby stage is amazing and since we want to stop at 4 kids I’ll want it to go by slowly with this last baby. Of course it won’t though, my oldest is 5 1/2 and I don’t know how that happened so fast. A woman learns along the way how to be a mom and I’m not looking forward to the stage where I learn to let go and my kids don’t need me much. Maybe by then I’ll be prepared and it will come naturally but right now what comes naturally is holding onto them and loving them and making sure they are enjoying their childhood.
I love finding something that makes my job as a mom easier and these plates are one of those things! They come in a bunch of different designs and colors (we have this red monkey one, a sports bear one, dinos and purple girly monkeys). They also stack nicely in the cabinet and have weathered the bottom rack of the dishwasher well. What is the best is that they get me to offer my kids more fruits and veggies because I feel its my mission to put something in each compartment! I bought them so I could separate the kids carrots and dip or keep peas from rolling into their mac&cheese but I hadn’t realized they’d change what I offer the kids. Of course there is nothing green on the plate above and olives, grapes, oranges, mashed potatoes (which all 3 kids HATE) and ham (which only one hates) is a weird combo but I’m a work in progress!
The Discovery Channel and the Parent Bloggers Network are partnering in a blog blast on womens’ truths about motherhood. This is inspired by The Discovery Channel’s new docu-drama “Deliver Me” which follows three women – best friends, working mothers and physicians – as they balance delivering babies together in their OB/GYN practice with their lives outside the delivery room.This is my first time participating in a blog blast and its been something I’ve been meaning to do. Here is what we all are all asked to share this weekend “We want to hear your truth: What is it about pregnancy, parenting, and motherhood in general that only a girlfriend will tell you? Tell us what you wished you knew before becoming a mom.”
What I wish I knew about pregnancy: That something I so desperately wanted would immediately turn into something I couldn’t wait to get over with. This was the case with EVERY pregnancy I’ve had (and I’m brewing baby #4 right now). I make amazing babies but I don’t enjoy being pregnant. I feel like a bad mom when I’m pregnant because I am tired and sick and don’t have nearly as much patience.
What I wish I knew about labor/delivery: That being induced does not always mean you will go into labor and get a baby right away (in my case it took 2 weeks). Sometimes you can push and push and a baby just won’t come out (especially when you have a baby thats 10lbs and 4oz). After 3 of them, I am a pro at recovering from c-sections now!
What I wish I knew about being a mom: Well, I knew a lot ahead of time because I helped my mom with my little brothers (I was 16 when I became a sister so it was good practice). I guess I wish I knew in advance how much breastfeeding would help me, it made things so easy with all of my kids and I have super happy babies! I do wish I knew in advance that each time the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding is difficult and painful and after that it is effortless and enjoyable. Oh and what I really wish I knew after I had my first baby is that it takes me 3 months after having a baby to get into a rhythm and feel like I have everything under control. With each baby I have noticed a BIG change in myself by the time my baby is three months. Not that I am miserable or a bad mom before that but there is something magical at that 3 month point for me where I think “YES! I can do this and I love my life”.
I was very pleased that our boys had made it to 3 & almost 5 yrs old without having any clue what Sponge Bob was. However my 13yr old brother went and messed everything up by showing them it on the computer in August (still mad). Since then Ethan has been asking about it and wanting to watch it but we have never given in. He has seen commercials for it after one of the shows he watches and of course the character can be spotted on any type of product. Since we aren’t letting him watch it and don’t buy it he has gotten creative and is making his own Sponge Bob decorations. He started with rectangular construction paper and grocery bags and made them into Sponge Bob and then he made the other characters (he doesn’t know their names) by drawing and cutting them out. He was so cute doing this and felt like he was getting away with something big I’m sure. He decorated the stairs up to his room with the colored grocery bags and then hung the construction paper characters above the railing (he has added several more since I took these pictures). I was very impressed with all the time and effort he put into this project and I’m glad he did it BUT I don’t plan to let him watch the show any time soon and I hope this gets it out of his system for a while!