January Blues No More

Post holidays! Don’t we all welcome the days AFTER the holiday just as much as the celebrations themselves? I certainly do. The rush, the hustle and bustle, the cleaning, cooking, buying, wrapping, planning, ack! Endless. At least it seems so and then..BAM. It’s here and over. The decorations are packed away for another year, the household back in it’s usual order and we in our routine once more. I use to not be as welcoming of this post-holiday time. January felt like a let down when the children were younger. All I could see was a long winter ahead with anxious thoughts of how to keep them all busy when it was too cold for outdoor play or we were snowed in or not enough extra cash for a family night out. The prospect of two plus months managing three children with a healthy sibling rivalry, little money and a New England winter was not conducive to a happy Mom. However, I’m older and wiser now. I relish this time. Time for me to relax on Sunday afternoons, to play board games with the GP, to take long naps on those snowed in days or just cook up a storm as another rages outside my window. To appreciate the sight of the tiny white lights that still adorn the fence and front door of the house as I drive up after a long day at work, knowing my family is safe inside, something yummy waiting to fill our bellies and warm fleece blankets to cuddle with together until the Sand Man arrives.
These are a few of my favorite things.
Happy Tuesday!

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After School Crazed

Do It All Diva!


We’ve finally settled into the routine of a school schedule, reluctantly leaving behind the lazier ways of summer and looking forward to a productive and fun school year. New teacher, new friends, new adventures.
It’s the first week of November so we’ve got it down pat by now. What I hadn’t recalled, when raising our other kiddos, was the after school commitments and sports activities and how the “run around cycle” wreaks havoc on the aforementioned schedule. After school activities deplete your energy and drain your gas tank; tosses any idea of cozy family dinners out the window and drives up stock in Chef-Boy-Ardee and Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese. You can pretty much bank on being in bed 10 minutes after the boy goes down for the night and then asleep with the remote in your hand or the book not even opened on your lap.
At 9:30PM.
Yikes!
Let’s see, there’s band and clarinet lessons on Monday. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday bring youth football practice and squeezing in the school newspaper project on Wednesday afternoons and before practice on Thursdays. Game day is on Sunday. Oh! The dog trainer comes on Saturday mornings. Yes, we got a dog. A puppy who is now 8 months old. And a Lab. A rambunctious Lab, to say the least. We’ll save that for another blog post. The Spouse and I have learned the fine art of division. Not mathematically speaking, more along the lines of “you take football, I’ll do band and newspaper days and we’ll both watch the Sunday games.” Anyhow, the football program ends this weekend (we’re in the championship game by the way! Undefeated to boot! WOOHOO!) so after that we get to breathe a tad easier a couple of days a week.
Until basketball season starts in January. Hmmm.

Happy Friday all!

I’m Bored

sad-bored-daydreaming-child-thumb6691613
One of the most dreaded two word sentences a parent will hear.
I’m bored!
Summertime is usually when these syllables slide out in a long groan from the mouth of a child slumped over the arm of an overstuffed chair, feet up, head hanging down.
You offer suggestions. None of them satisfy this pretzel twisted child.
Then you ask the question you’ve been holding back in hopes your other ideas would spark interest.
“What would you like to do?”

The litany begins:
Bonkers? (sunny and 80 degrees, who wants to be inside?)

Chuckie Cheese? (the name causes a cold sweat)
Laser Quest? (wear ear plugs if you’re a newbie)
Red Sox Game? (ticket prices WAY out of reach here!)
Pool Party? (maybe I can deal with this on a limited kid basis)

We live on the coast. A coast known for beautiful, pristine beaches, many kid friendly parks and scenic views that tourists flock to see every year.
But, my grandson has ‘seen all that stuff’, after all we live here!
What happend to the days when a kid just got out of bed in the mornign and couldn’t wait to greet the day, a mom usually insisting he or she at least guzzle a glass of juice before heading out. Bikes to ride, trees to climb, forts to build…all that creative, imaginative stuff that make for sweet dreams when his head hits the pillow, weary but happy.
I think parents have spent far too much time schlepping kids to every new attraction, theme park and event that they’ve forgotten the art of play.
Perhaps we need to reintroduce our children to simple, creative, imaginative play. Dust off the bike and go for a ride. Take a short hike in some nearby woods and collect pine cones, leaves. Lift rocks to see something squirmy slither out. Bring a picnic lunch and sit under a tree and just……listen.
Think I’ll go dig out the wicker picnic basket and upright that boy before the blood pools in his head.

Happy Monday!

Family Flix

Family movies, meaning G-rated, are hard to come by these days. And I for one am thankful that Disney-Pixar has filled the niche with some entertaining stuff that tickles the fancy of children and adults. The quality of storyline, animation and fun factor are superb and I believe if I had to choose a fav, I’d be hard press to do so.
If you’re a GRG (grandparent raising grandchild) give a click to this link
Pixar and check out the animated movies offered. Pixar is a Disney affiliate and going strong with incredilbe writers, animators and just plain fun flicks for families.
Ratatouilleratatouille2 and Finding Nemo are two we still replay and giggle ourselves silly over. Ratatouille is a tale of a French rat with a penchant for gourmet cooking and his trials in triumphs in becoming a renowned chef. Finding Nemo is an aquatic verison of the age old tale of an overprotective parent (a clownfish Dad) and an adventerous child, Nemo. Good stuff, both.
Take a trip to your local video store, or Redbox if there’s one nearby (a buck a DVD, can’t beat the price!) or if you’ve got a Netflix account zap those kid friendly movies into your queue and their delivered to your mailbox in just a couple days.
A massive bowl of buttered popcorn, blankets and pillows in front of the tube on a Friday night make for good family fun and laughs.
Compliments of Pixar. Enjoy.

Happy Sunday!

Goop! Rainy day fun.

Homemade Goop: An Easy Craft Idea for Kidsgoop05

Ever hear, “I’m bored” as the rain pellets the windows and you’ve played every board game and card game at least three times? And it’s only 11:00 AM! Sound familiar? Well keep your kids busy with a homemade, easy craft idea called goop. For about two bucks and five minutes of your time, the kids will be singing your praises and laughing themselves silly. Grab the supplies on your next shopping trip and get ready to provide an easy craft for kids and adults alike.
Goop: the slick, snotty, slime putty for kids ages 5-70.

What You Need:

* 1/4 Cup of Cornstarch
* 4oz. White Glue
* 1/2 teaspoon Borax
* 1/4 cup warm water
* Liquid Food Coloring
* 2 Mixing Bowls
* Large Spoon
* The Camera

Step1

Get out one mixing bowl. Before you begin, instruct the kids that although this is a homemade recipe, it is for fun and play, NOT TO EAT.
Step2

Pour the cornstarch into the bowl. Have the kids sift with their fingers. (Although this is an easy craft activity, keep napkins or a towel close by in case of spills.)
Step3

Pour the glue into the bowl. Mix well. Once again, this can be a messy kids craft. My suggestion is to make homemade goop in the kitchen, not the living or dining room. You don’t want your homemade recipe on the couch a year from now.
Step4

Even though it’s a kids easy craft, food coloring scares some moms. Solution? Vinegar. You’ll see.
In a separate bowl, mix water food coloring and Borax. Mix until dissolved. Don’t worry about the food coloring, let the kids enjoy this easy craft. The idea of food coloring staining fingers sends some mothers into a panic. Don’t worry, a little vinegar will take it right off.

Step5

What an Easy Craft Idea for Kids~ Pour the two mixtures together. Stir for 3 minutes, even after you see the homemade goop forming. This is to make sure it’s mixed all the way through. Let the kids help with this, allowing them to feel the slime and see what’s going on. This is the fun and easy part of the craft that kids love.

Now…

Grab the camera and snap away. Kids will play with this fun goop for hours
Roll it, throw it, smash it, trash it, beat it, the possibilities are endless.
This is an easy fun idea for kids, yet so cheap.
Remind children, don’t eat the goop. (kinda like don’t eat the yellow snow!).

Have Fun!
Happy Thursday!

Snow Day Mondays

winter-09-016Snow days are the best. Kids cheer when the announcement comes  and so do we who are so lucky as to be employed in an arena where snow days are possible. And snow days on Monday are the bomb! An instant three day weekend; a shortened work week. Ah such bliss in the midst of snow, freezing temperatures and Spring too far off in the distance for my taste, despite having put February behind us. And today, March came in like a lion.

Snow days bring no schedules to follow, no deadlines to meet, no work to get done.  I suppose one could clean the bathtub or rearrange the linen closet but why waste a good snow day on that! How about lazing on the couch with the leftover Sunday Globe? In your pj’s? All day?  Playing Scrabble online…for hours? Flipping through old family photo albums? Baking cookies? (diet be damned) Sipping plum tea with a biscotti on the side? Watching the kids pummeling each other with snowballs? How about any and all of the above?

Oh and did I mention the Spouse shoveled us out so I didn’t even have to go outside and brave the very elements that offered up an extra day of rest.

I’m a lucky woman. Yes siree.

Happy snow day Monday all!

Me Time

beach timeOne of the things I and most parents put aside is ‘me’ time. There’s always an excuse as to why we can’t read a book, go for a walk, exercise, take a night out, (a whole weekend!? forget it!) or simply pamper ourselves in whatever ways help us to relax. Yes we all know we should schedule time for ourselves; we all watch Oprah and Dr. Phil who herald the importance of taking care of ourselves first, make YOU a priority they say, but it’s the other shoulds that never cease whispering in our ear that keep us too busy.
Should clean that closet.
Should finish that yard work.
Should visit Aunt Sheila.
Should get the dog to the vet.
Should catch up on those emails!
We should ourselves into biting off way too much of the proverbial chore pie and usually end up cranky, irritable and tired; hungry for an hour of …nothing. And unfortunately our children and significant others sometimes bare the brunt of our good intentions.

With the shift into the Fall routine in our house, I claim Sunday afternoons. The morning is spent first with a later rise than usual, followed by time with the Grand Prince and a special breakfast of some sort. Fried dough brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon. My doctor doesn’t read this blog so I toss cholesterol concerns to the wind. Next, we sort out the Sunday paper. Comics to the GP. Front page and sports to the Spouse and I begin with the North Weekly section. As the pre game hour of Sunday football begins around noon, my darling of a husband takes to the kitchen and simmers, roasts, bakes and stews the most delectable comfort foods to be enjoyed for supper that evening; all done in between quarters and during half time of the game. He cooks and cusses at Brady (always out of earshot of course) and does the male bonding thing of football fundamentals with the GP.

Meanwhile, I blissfully write, read, nap, email, play Rise of Atlantis (my current computer game obsession. Hey, I’m on Journey 7!) listen to music or whatever strikes my fancy. Now many would argue this isn’t real me time, however I beg to differ. Yes, I could go out for a walk, or a bike ride, or shopping, or visit a friend, or get a pedicure and on occasion I do some of those things. But if me time becomes stressful due to the very definition of it, then it’s no longer ME time. See? Makes perfect sense.
I’ve learned not to overextend me time into a frenetic foray of events that only serves to exhaust me more and leave me feeling like I should relax.

The Grand Prince is learning this important lesson too. When I asked him recently about signing up for fall soccer, rationalizing we could fit it in on Saturdays since karate and tennis were after school activities, he paused and looked at me very thoughtfully and said, “Nan, I have enough things to go to all ready. I’m gonna skip soccer this year.”

Out of the mouths of babes.