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!

The Dentist IS My Friend (a mantra)

I’ll admit, I have a teeny weeny dental phobia. Okay, maybe more than teeny weeny but I’ve managed over the years to overcome it, for the most part, at least enough to get the necessary dental work done. I even had peridontal surgery! But that’s another post.

I sit here typing with a gaping hole in my mouth ..and a maritni by my side. After much pleading with my patient, compassionate, well skilled dentist to please replace (which means re-glue) that crown into place ONE more time, he finally convinced me it just ain’t happening and the tooth would need to be extracted in prep for a ……..dental implant. Lord, I just can’t think about it without breaking into a cold sweat. Yet when the time comes, I’ll bite the bullet..possibly his fingers….and do it.

My reason for bringing this to your attention is how I made the decision when my kids were quite young that they NOT be burdened with the same disdain for the dentist as I was. You see, when I was growing up we didn’t have dental insurance and so were only sent to the dentist in “emergency” situations. Not a fun way to establish a positive, trusted relationship with a man who you saw only when you were in pain! And so my children first saw the dentist at age 3 and I was quite diligent about bi annual cleanings and sealants, preventive care and braces. The whole enchilada.

And I continue that regimen with the GP. In fact he ASKS when his next cleaning is! He eagerly strides through the door never noting or commenting about the antiseptic smell that makes me nauseous. He smiles at the receptionist, flops in a chair with ease and comfort and hops up when his name is called like he’s first in line at the burger joint with a free coupon! And then turns to tell me as I rise to accompany him, “I’m good Nan..I’ll be right out”. I smile and nod, turn back to my chair and magazine and then think I’ve done something right here and he won’t feel the need for a martini after a dental visit.

Hey! maybe he’ll opt for dental school and I can get my dentures for free! Now there’s a thought!

Happy Thursday.
Love and Light.

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!

Is Summer Here Yet?

BeachI don’t know what the weather is in your part of the world but here in the Northeast USA the month of June (and the first part of July!) should have arrived with a “Build An Ark” theme! Twenty plus days of rain has certainly brought it’s share of gloom and dreariness. The long awaited days of summer fun at the beach, the pool, sitting on the deck after a long day’s work have been woefully few. Getting out of bed is a chore when the sky is gray and the rain pelts the windows. And once you’re up and about, who has much energy for anything? Something about rain calls out for naps, quilts, hot tea, a good book or a chick flick. My grandson has no interest in any of those. Go figure.

We were blessed with a glorious 4th of July weekend so I’m not going to complain..much. It’s just really difficult to keep kids interested in indoor activities when what they really want is to be outdoors after many months spent in classrooms. Video games, which are limited in our home, are only short lived diversions at best. Baking and cooking are fun but if your grandchild is like mine, he’s not interested in helping to make meatloaf; he wants to make cookies! Okay, that’s cool, except my thighs are not appreciative and my will power can only hold up for so long!

So what DO we do? A little of everything. I write or peruse Facebook while he has his allotted WII time. We read, separately and together.
We run a few errands and laugh about who can dash from car to store and be less wet than the other. We look for movies on Direct TV or rummage through DVDs we’ve seen over and over, and watch them yet again. He helps to get dinner ready by stirring or chopping or peeling whatever is needed. If I’m feeling REALLY brave, we’ll invite a friend over to play. Two boys indoors all afternoon can be a challenge for the most seasoned and creative parent! I prefer sunny day play dates, thank you. My creativity is maxed at offering a board game and when rambunctious boys can release that energy outdoors it’s make for a very happy Nana!
The weather man says the sun will come out by tomorrow afternoon. I’m banking on it because I’ve just promised the GP we could make cookies. Oy, my thighs!

Happy Wednesday!

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!