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Monday, June 30, 2008

99 Balloons

I recently became addicted to the art of stumbling here on the internet. Through my stumble tool bar, I came across this video today that has left me in awe and in tears. I have watched this video several times, and each time I see it I find myself crying for the love and the loss that this family has endured.

I can not tell you how old this video is. I only know that the first comments posted on the video were posted 147 days ago at this link. What I can tell you is this: No matter how long ago this took place, the message is timeless. The life of a child is to be cherished and placed on a pedastool. Children are a gift, even when they are only given for a short time.

To the parents of Eliot, and all those with children who are terminally ill, I commend your strength and you ability to celebrate your child's life even while you know that life will end far too soon.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Let Them Eat...


This may well be the absolute BEST idea I have ever come across. I know I read this somewhere, I'm just not really sure where.

My little ones adore Popsicles and suckers, but they are so messy. So this weekend it occurred to me that sponges were the perfect solution to my messy problem.

I went to the dollar store and bought a couple of packs of small improperly shaped sponges. Then I cut a slit in each sponge that I wanted to use. I made a few for Grandma Janet's house and a few for my house. I will be taking a few to Grandma Shari's house and my neighbor's house, as well, because they worked so well.

This is so simple that even the youngest child can handle eating a Popsicle with less mess.

What you do is this: Take your Popsicle and slide the stick of the Popsicle down through the slit in the sponge. The drips will fall on the sponge and be absorbed instead of dribbling down your little one's hands and arms and clothes and onto the floor and --- well, you get the picture. The sponge can be rinsed out or washed in the dishwasher, or thrown away if you buy the big packs at the dollar store and don't feel like dealing with washing them.

So, now you can let them eat their Popsicles without stressing so much over the inevitable mess because the mess will be caught in the new spongy drip catcher.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Art That You Can Eat

Kids love to eat sweets.

Kids love to do art.

Why not combine the two?

This idea requires minimal assistance from you, the parent, so it allows children to play while you get a bit of free time to clean house, do some work, or visit with me.

What You Need:

A bag or two of marshmallows. You can buy as many different varieties as you want. There are small white ones, small multi-colored ones, large white ones, shaped ones....well, you get the idea.

A box or two of toothpicks. Again, you can get plain ones or colored ones. The kids will probably prefer the colored ones.

What You Do:

Nothing at all. Okay, that isn't entirely true.

You need to set your child up in a spot that has enough room to spread out. You can pour marshmallows in bowls or just leave them in the bags. Show your child how to insert a toothpick into a marshmallow. Then let your child go wild building marshmallow toothpick houses - or walls - or whatever their imagination decides is needed.

You should know ahead of time that your children will be eating some of their "bricks" while they build. It's impossible to prevent, so just plan on a bit of sugar overload afterwards. A trip to the park might help work off some of that sugary energy.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Amazing Educational Shows...

This article is about educational shows geared towards helping your child learn to read. If you have a child that is struggling with reading, or you just want to give your child a head start on this very important concept, read this article for a few ideas on programs that you can buy for your child.

Reading is by far the most important lesson that your child can learn. If a child can read, they can teach themselves anything. To help your child learn to love reading there are a few things you should do.

1) You should read. If your child sees you reading, then your child will want to be just like you and will also want to read. Your reading material can be anything from magazines to text books. It doesn't matter what you read, as long as you read.

2) Read to your child. Children's books are preferred reading material for children. However, it is okay to read magazines or -yes, text books (particularly helpful when convincing a child to go to sleep) - any other material that may be of interest. As long as you read to your child, your child will understand that words have meaning and come in written form as well as spoken form.

3) Let your child read. Give your child the books and let him read. It doesn't matter that he can't actually read the words. It doesn't even matter that he holds the book upside down (or feels that the book is really just a new snack that he can't seem to figure out how to digest). If he's reading early and often, he will continue reading throughout his life. Eventually he'll get the hang of reading and perhaps even stop trying to eat those books.

4) Provide several different types of reading material. Let your child play with your magazines. Let him read the words on the canned goods at the store. Newspapers are good reading material, too, even for young children. The idea is to allow your child to associate written words with spoken words in order to learn that the written words do actually have some real meaning.

So, go out and buy a book or two for your kids. They can even be used books. Your kids don't really care if they are brand new or not. (Though cleaning them really well for those children that think books are some sort of alternate form of food is highly recommended.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Pleasant Unpleasant Experience

How refreshing it is to find that there are people in this world that really do enjoy their jobs and take customer service seriously.

Today, I have been fortunate enough to have met such a person. Her name is Nancy and she works at The Hope Center Women's Services office here in my town. Normally I would avoid discussing my own personal issues, but this woman impressed me so much today with her sympathy and kindness, and just plain old fashioned work ethic that I find myself compelled to share my experience.

I needed to have an ultrasound today to check my gall bladder. Really, it is nothing more than precautionary due to my having been sick for a week now, my doctor wants to make sure that this is not the cause. So I called yesterday afternoon and made the appointment for this morning. Pleased to have been able to get in so quickly, I made arrangements for the girls to be watched and planned my day accordingly. Upon arriving at the office, I learned that whomever I made my appointment with failed to write it down, so I wasn't on the list. Nancy, however, reassured me that this was not an issue. After waiting about five minutes, I was called up for the necessary paperwork. Miss Nancy was so friendly and kind to me. When she saw why I was there, she assured me that if it was an issue with my gall bladder that the required treatments were simple and easy to deal with. She was so pleasant while she was taking my information that I told her how impressed I was. Rarely do I happen across somebody in this type of profession that can also be so pleasant - especially so early in the morning.

Know what she said to me --- "It's what I do. If I can't be nice to people then I shouldn't be working in a people oriented field."

WOW! What a concept. Someone who clearly recognizes that kindness is imperative to being successful when dealing with the public.

To Nancy, I would like to say how much I appreciate the effort that you made this morning to make my unpleasant experience a bit easier.

Yes, I did make a point to fill out one of those comment cards. I may even try to hunt down that woman's manager and make sure she (or he) happens to know just how impressive her employee is.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dragon Tales

If you want an entertaining show that will provide your child with a bit of character reinforcement, Dragon Tales is your best bet.

Dragon Tales is produced by PBS and is one of the better kid programs on the market these days. Actually, I think most of what you see these days is reruns. I'm not sure if any new episodes are being produced or not. I do know that the show is now sold on DVD, as that is how my children are aware of this phenomenal program. Just hearing the chanting of a 2 year old saying "Dragon Tale Dragon Tale" is enough to make me want to rush out and buy more.

The program is about Annie and Max, who find a magic dragon scale and learn how to use said scale to transport themselves into the land of dragons. While visiting with their dragon friends, they learn many lessons about how to behave kindly and have good character. Unlike other programs of this nature, the show does not grate on the nerves of the parent being forced to listen to the same episodes over and over and over and over...well, you get the picture.

The theme song is catchy. The voices of the characters are not overbearing. The theme of each episode is even pleasant enough for any adult to watch without feeling as though they are sinking in the quick sand pits of boredom.

In essence, I really do love this program. It's fun and promotes the use of creativity and imagination in young children - something that is sadly missing from most programs these days.

PBS also has a really cool online game. Check it out with your little ones. I guarantee they will learn something new.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The ABCs of Me.

I have been tagged by Petula for the ABC of Me Meme.
**Make sure you pay attention to the letter “T” cause I may be tagging you!**

A. Attached or Single? Attached...
B. Best Friend? Randall and Misty
C. Cake or pie? Cake if it's chocolate.
D. Day of choice? Grandma Day!
E. Essential item? Coke
F. Favorite color? Blue
G. Gummy bears or worms? Neither
H. Home town? Canton, GA
I. Favorite indulgence? Magazines
J. January or July? January
K. Kids? 4
L. Life isn’t complete without? Snugglebug Snuggles
M. Marriage date? August 4, 2003
N. Number of brothers and sisters? 2 brothers 1 sisters
O. Oranges or Apples? Apples
P. Phobias? None, really.
Q. Quotes? If you had it to do all over again, would you?
R. Reasons to smile? Giggle fits.
S. Season of choice? Spring
T. Tag 5 people: Soccermom
U. Unknown fact about me? My house is a mess.
V. Vegetable? Green Beans
W. Worst habit? Procrastination
X. X-ray or Ultrasound? Huh???
Y. Your favorite food? Olive Garden Fettuccine Alfredo
Z. Zodiac sign? Aquarius
Z. Which zoo animal is your favorite? **WHY are there TWO Zs in THIS alphabet???** Polar Bears are my favorite.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Art for the day

In honor of my visit to the aquarium, I'm going to tell you how to make your very own fish art.

For this project you will need the following items:

Goldfish snack crackers, preferably the multi-colored kind
Froot Loops, sort out all the blue ones
White card stock paper
Crayons or markers

Start by crushing up the blue froot loops into a sandy powder. (You can opt for blue sand instead, but that's far more expensive.)

Spread glue on the bottom part of your paper (horizontal, not vertical) and then sprinkle the sand over the glue to make you water.

Let your child pick his fish from the Goldfish snacks. Make sure none of them are broken.

Carefully place a drop or two of glue on the back of the Goldfish and then place the Goldfish in the water portion of the picture.

Let your child draw a picture above the water to complete your project.

You can also add other things like pieces of sponge or starfish to the bottom of the ocean floor. Small pebbles make good rocks for the bottom of the ocean.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Blub Blub!!!

Did you know that "blub blub" is the sound that comes out of a fish's mouth when it tries to talk?

Well, now you have been properly educated. Fish say "blub blub."

To confirm this information, you need only take a small child or two to a large building filled with dozens, no thousands, of fish. Your companions will quickly inform you that fish talk and when they talk they say "blub blub."

"Blub blub" can mean many different things. Take a moment to study the language and you'll soon be able to carry on conversations with your favorite fish.

A hungry fish will swim to the top of the water and look pitifully at the fish keeper and say in a whiny little fishy voice - "blub blub."

A bored fish will swim around in circles trying to find something to do - all the while grumping "blub blub" under his breath.

A tired fish will swim upside down with his eyes half closed, singing a sleepy little song that goes something like "blub blub bla blub blub."

A playful fish will plop in and out of the water, yelling happily "BLUB BLUB".

Now, before you all decide I've just lost my mind, you should probably know that I spent most of this day at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, surrounded by the incessant mumblings of various types of fish, all saying "Blub blub" in their own special little way.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Something Nice

Take a moment to go hug your child and tell her just how special she is. Be sure to include specific information about what you feel makes her so special.

Kira is special because she helps find her sister's pacifier when Marisa is too upset to find it.

Marisa is special because she loves passing out hugs and kisses.

Gibson is special because he willingly loses sleep to try to save orphaned kittens and then cries the rest of the night when he fails because he did everything the vet told him to do and the kittens still died.

Angel is special because she has made such amazing progress in building a life for herself despite the hardships she's had to endure.

There are many other reasons that my children are special to me. This is just what came to my mind first.

So, go tell your child what you think makes them so special. It will brighten their day tremendously, and yours too.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Nobody Ever Feeds Me...

Just when you thought you had this whole parenting thing figured out, your little ones decide to change the rules. Your perfectly scheduled meal times become pointless because your little one just isn't hungry. Well, they aren't hungry until 15 minutes AFTER the dishes are cleaned away. When the dishes are put away and the mess is cleaned, you are suddenly bombarded with pleas of hunger as if starvation is imminent.

What is the busy mother to do? It isn't really possible to be a short order cook throughout the entire day. There is work to be done and messes to be cleaned. Your children simply can not eat 24 hours a day.

Or can they?

What if there was a way to satisfy the constant hunger of your child AND maintain your sanity?

Consider introducing the grazing tray to your daily routine for the sake of every body's happiness. Young children prefer to graze throughout the day instead of trying to eat larger meals only three times a day. In fact, most medical professionals recommend eating several small meals per day in lieu of the more common bigger meals that most people are accustomed to. This method of grazing allows the body to maintain a regular sugar level and helps prevent overeating and weight gain.

I touched briefly on the grazing tray previously in my Lunch Ideas post. However, I will give a more detailed description and instructions today.

To begin with, you will need to select a container for your tray. This can be as simple or as complex as you choose. Muffin tins or divided plates are good options. A collection of small bowls is also a good choice.

Then you need to consider what food you will place on your grazer's tray. This depends largely on the types of foods your child likes to eat. Temperature requirements of the food will also need to be considered.

For Kira, I set up a plastic shoe box (found at the dollar store) filled a few inches with water. I set that bowl in the freezer so the bottom would be iced. Then, in the morning, I put smaller bowls on top of the ice and filled those bowls with her foods for the day. I laid a towel on the table to put the grazing tray on. The towel also did double duty as a cover for the food to keep the cold air in and the cats out. Kira was able to easily open her tray to nibble and close her tray for later. The towel prevented a mess from the condensation and the ice kept the food at the right temperature to prevent spoilage.

For older children, you can set their grazer tray in the refrigerator on the lower shelf so they can help themselves whenever they get hungry. Of course, if you choose foods that do not require being cooled then you won't need to worry about ice and refrigerators. (This will also limit your I prefer the extra effort to keep the tray cool.)

If you have multiple small children, be sure to have a separate tray for each child. This way you can tailor each tray to the child's food preferences AND you eliminate the no sharing arguments that would be inevitable if there was only one tray. Color coding is a good idea for making sure even the youngest child knows which tray is hers.

Now that I've told you HOW to make your grazer's tray, you need to know what to put IN your tray for optimum toddler happiness. Here is a list of possible suggestions for what the little people in my house have enjoyed munching on. This list is not everything that you could include, just a few ideas to get your mind going in the right direction.

Choose a few items from the list. Be sure to vary your selections so your little one has plenty of options. Include one or two fruits, one or two veggies, one or two meats, and one or two cheeses.

-apple slices (sliced very thin)
-match stick carrots (baby carrots for older children)
-broccoli florets (steamed for younger children)
-small sandwich triangles (pbj, cheese spread, etc)
-lunch meat roll ups
-cheese cubes or slices
-olives (if your child happens to like them... )
-dry cereal
-grapes (cut in half or quarters for younger children)
-Vienna sausages (rinsed thoroughly)
-cheese sticks
-canned fruits
-nuts (for older children)
-chocolate (yes, a little bit of something chocolate, perhaps some m&ms... chocolate is always a good addition to any day)

Also, be sure to continue with your regular lunch schedules. While it is good that your child has a tray to graze from, it is also ideal to include a big meal during the day to make sure your child gets a well balanced diet.

You will find that the small amount of effort put forth to set this system up will be well worth your investment. The payoff will include a self-sufficient child and a bit of extra time for you because you won't be fixing 2nd and 3rd lunches throughout the day. When your little angels start saying how hungry they are, you can simply direct them to their snack trays.

Oh yes, one last thought, be sure to vary the contents from day to day. If you use ham and cheddar today, use turkey and Swiss tomorrow. Grapes today? Strawberries tomorrow. Don't get into the habit of putting the exact same foods in the tray every day because then your little ones will get bored and start complaining again.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hey hey hey...

I hope everybody is having a wonderful Father's Day today. My girls have been contentedly ignoring their dad all day long. It has been quite amusing to see him trying so hard to get them to play with him when they just turn and run away.
Now, at 5:30 in the afternoon, Marisa has finally deemed him worthy of her attention. She went and climbed up in his lap and is currently allowing him to hold and snuggle her. There's no telling how long she will allow him this luxury. She is not a Daddy's baby.
Good day to all...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Trust Your Instincts

Today I read about a most horrifying story - the parent's worst nightmare.

Lisa has written on her page about something that happened to her and her son just a couple of days ago. I feel that every parent should read her story because it is important to understand just how easily you or your child can be targeted for victimization. I will, however, give a brief summary here.

Lisa went out to jog with her son, who followed behind her just a few short minutes later. She noticed a car with a guy acting a bit strange. When she looked to see what he was watching, it just happened to be her son. Then she noticed another car on the other end of the street, also watching her son. Her story details the events that followed and the measures that she took to protect herself and her child.

The reason I am telling you about this is simple. You should always trust your instincts. If you think something is not right, no matter how silly it may fell, trust yourself and react accordingly. Had Lisa dismissed her concerns as being paranoid or silly, she may well have lost her child to the predators that were stalking him.

Here are a few tips to help you protect yourself and your children while you live your lives to the fullest.

1) Trust your instincts. Yes, I know I already said that, but it bears repeating. Your body is geared to pick up on the slightest irregularity in your surroundings. You may not realize this, but when you travel a certain path frequently your body remembers that path and is capable of operating on auto-pilot. This is how you can run your 5 mile trek (if you happen to be crazy enough to run that far) without really putting much thought into it. Your body already knows the way. So if your body tells you something is off, TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!

2) Know your area. Be aware of the surrounding area and what is normal for that area. It is also important to know your way around so you can quickly formulate an escape plan should you realize that you are being targeted. The fact that Lisa was aware from the beginning that the guy in the car was behaving oddly may well have saved her son's life. She was aware of her surroundings even though she was listening to her music. (Big Kudos to Lisa...)

3) Play the "what if" game. Stop to consider several scenarios and then determine what you would do in each one. This is also a good game to play with your child. It will help you develop a plan for these situations so that if you find yourself involved in something like this you will be able to react without much thought. It also teaches your mind to consider the options quickly so if you are caught up in a situation that is not one that you've considered, your mind will already have the skills to find a way out.

4) Don't panic. When Lisa realized that her son was being stalked, she could have panicked easily. I think the point where she realized there were two vehicles, one in front of them and one behind them, that it would have been very easy to feel trapped and unable to escape. She kept her head and used her senses to react quickly to the situation. Decide at the very beginning that you will win this fight and you have a far better chance of escape.

5) Teach your children from an early age about predators. I know this is sometimes difficult because we want to protect our children and maintain their innocence. However, failing to educate your child about certain dangers makes them a far easier target. Make sure you teach your kids about kidnappers and how to get away if somebody tries to kidnap them. Be sure to include lessons about Good Touch / Bad Touch and talk about that frequently. Predators often find a way to be close to the child they target through family contact or close friends. Let your child know that NOBODY is allowed to touch them in that way. Teach your child to talk to you about any situation that arises that makes your child feel uncomfortable. Just like Lisa, your child should learn to trust his instincts.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Laughter - Not Always the Best Medicine

It isn't nice to laugh at your children when they are afraid, or when they get hurt. Sometimes, though, even the best mom just can not stop herself from laughing at her child's mishaps and adventures.

Last night we had a pretty good thunder storm here. There was a great deal of noise and light, but very little rain. When this first started, the girls were happily playing and listening to whatever nonsense was on the TV. I was vaguely aware that there was lightening, but it didn't really sink in that we were about to have a storm.

Suddenly, from out of nowhere, the house was bombarded with thunder that was strong enough to shake the walls and rattle the chandeliers. Poor Marisa screamed and cried and came running to me, of course, with all the dramatics of a terror stricken female. Her journey across the room was marked with continued yelps of fear and shock, just cute enough to send even the most stellar mom into fits of giggles.

I couldn't help it. I tried so hard not to laugh because I realized just how terrified she truly was, but I failed in my attempts to hold the giggles at bay. She was just so darn cute when she threw her hands in the air and yelped, then jumped clear across the room just to reach the relative safety of Mommy's arms where she knew that she would be protected from whatever evil had just descended upon our home. Then, each time the thunder would ring through, she would whimper a bit and snuggle in just a little closer, as if the only thing standing between her and certain doom was my arm. It was sweet and adorable and funny. Yet for Marisa it was a scary experience.

There are times when we really shouldn't laugh, but the humor of the situation is just too overpowering to prevent our natural inclinations. Children offer so many opportunities to find the humor in the simplest little things that we tend to overlook in our daily lives. To me, it was yet another thunder storm that just might provide us with some much needed rain. It took the innocence and outlook of a young child to remind me just how scary the big world can be when you have no control and no idea about what is going on around you.

So, as you find yourself laughing at your child's issues, be sure to take a moment to consider how your child might be perceiving the situation. That might help in your attempts to manage your laughter, at least until you can remove yourself from your child's company. If we must laugh at them, they don't always have to know about it, right?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bored Games

Summer is here. The kids are out of school. There is "nothing" to do. Boredom has officially set in.

How does a cool mom battle the dog days of boredome? Well, if you're lucky, your children enjoy playing board games. The best games are those that are highly involved and interactive AND take a long time to finish.

Stock your closet with some of the classic games that have been proven to entertain children through the ages. Monopoly, Clue, Sorry, and Scrabble are some of my personal favorites. However, don't forget the other games that you should have, particularly if you have younger children. Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, and Hi Ho Cherrio are fun for the little ones.

Cranium and Trivial Pursuit are good choices for family game night.

Come to think of it, having these games on hand can be highly useful in the event of a storm - such as we have here right now - to help keep children distracted from the house shaking thunder booms.

Got to go ---

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Happy Birthday

So, even after sending me gifts and spending time talking with me on the phone, my new friend failed to tell me that she had a birthday coming up.

Imagine my surprise today when I visited her page only to see that today was her birthday.

You know, she could've told me. I would've done something special for her.

Well, even though she didn't tell me that today was her birthday and I had to go find out the hard way ----


Push the Red Button

There comes a point in every child's life when the desire to accomplish tasks without assistance is the most important goal in the world. If you happen to have a child who is in this phase, then you will fully understand the value of the "red button."

My dear Kira just loves to do things all by herself. Her shoes, her clothes, and most of all - her movies. She wants to turn the TV and DVD player on. She wants to put the movies into the machine. She wants to push play.

That play button is where my big dilemma occurred. Every time she wanted to push play, I showed her the play button so she could push it. Every time I put my finger anywhere near that button, she would have these moments of tragedy where she was certain that I was going to push the button before she could get her hands close enough to push play. No matter how many times I showed her the button, she just couldn't remember which button makes the movies play.

Well, no more of that nonsense for me. I have the Red Button now.

Some time ago I read an article about this very issue. The mother in that article decided to put a sticker directly above the play button in order to teach her child which button to push without requiring adult assistance. Stickers do not work in my house. My two little angels would quickly embark on a quest to remove each and every sticker from wherever I might have placed it, only to reposition said sticker in some undesirable location - probably on my kitchen floor or some other spot that would render the sticker equally difficult to remove.

In a stroke of genius, I came up with the perfect solution. I would paint the play button, thus identifying the button for everybody who needs to know how to make the videos play. Having decided on my course of action, I found the brightest pink nail polish that I had laying around my house.

You notice I said "PINK" nail polish, right?

So after I found my nail polish, I went straight away to the DVD player. Of course, I can't do anything around here without an audience so I was immediately joined by my entourage and bombarded with questions about whatever I might be doing.

I very carefully opened my bottle of pink nail polish and applied a first coat of 'paint' to the play button. The first coat was left to dry for a few minutes while I explained to Miss Kira that I was painting the Play button so she would be able to push play without having to ask me which button to push. She was thrilled at this new development and, of course, asked if she could help me paint the play button. Um - NO!

After the first coat of paint dried, I applied a second coat just to be sure that the color would be dark enough to be seen by two little angels whenever they wanted to play their movies.

When the pink nail polish was completely dry, I discovered that I had a red play button. It seems that the silver color of the button combined with the pink nail polish resulted in a red button. At any rate, my goal was fully accomplished. I have not had to tell Kira which button to push in over a week now. To add to my cleverness, Marisa now goes around saying "red button" and also enjoys pushing the play button to restart a movie that has ended. I managed to remove one of the most annoying parts of my day by simply altering the appearance of the button.

As an added benefit I don't have to bend down and get really close to the machine anymore just to read the teeny tiny little letters and symbols when I'm trying to figure out which button to push. I only have to push the red button, and even though it is small, it is very easy to see now.

The funniest part was explaining to Randall that there was a perfectly good explanation for having a red button on the DVD player, and that I really had not lost my mind.

Monday, June 9, 2008

My First Giveaway

Now that I've had some time to consider what I might like to offer as a gift for my readers, I am hosting a giveaway. As my gift, I will be giving FIVE lucky winners a hand-made purse, made by me. Here are three samples of what the purse might look like. I have many designs. The purse you win will be customized to the interests of your child. I have cheer leading, balloons, crayons, animals, and flowers. Seriously, if you can think of it - I can make it.

These purses are small. They are perfect for little girls from 2 to 14.

Here are the rules for my giveaway.

1) Tell your readers about me. Make a post on your blog about The Art and Science of Parenting. This post should be dated June 9th or later. Be sure to tell everybody that I'm giving something away. I know people come read when they see "free stuff" posted.

2) Comment on this post with the link to your entry. Your comment should include the link back to your page and some information about what type of purse you think your child would like to have. You also need to include email information so I can contact you if you win.

That really is all you have to do. I am going to run my giveaway for three weeks to give people plenty of time to enter. The post will close at midnight on June 30th.

I will select the winners through a random method and post the information about who won.

I hope you all enjoy this little giveaway.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I've been tagged.....

One of my regular readers, Petula from It's a Woman's World, has tagged me in hopes of learning more about me. In an attempt to comply with the requests of my fans, I'm going to post this here. (I won't be tagging anybody, though, so I'll be skipping that rule...)

Here are the rules:

1. link the person(s) who tagged you

2. Mention the rules on your blog

3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours...

4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them…

5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

Here are my unspectacular quirks:

1) I hate housework. I seriously have a hard time doing much more than dishes and basic picking up.

2) I generally do not like other people's children. Most people that I come in contact with allow their children to behave in ways that annoy me. Because of this, I tend to avoid play dates and such.

3) I can sing the theme song to Backyardigans, Barney, and Blue's Clues without even realizin that I'm singing.

4) I skip breakfast most days. I generally do not eat anything until after 11:00 and sometimes later.

5) I read juvenile fiction frequently. I have a huge collection of books for my kids to read. I generally try to read them first to be sure the content is appropriate.

6) I have asthma and when I start laughing too hard, I have trouble breathing.

***(happy Pet?)***

Feel free to ask me any questions. I will gladly tell you anything you want to know.

Hot! Hot! Hot!

In honor of our now soaring heat wave, I have decided that this is a good time to give you a few creative ideas for convincing your child to drink more fluids. With the temperature hitting the high 90's here, it is important to get those kids to drink something frequently. You should offer them some varieties to prevent boredom and just make life more fun.

You can try a few different recipes for drink mixes. I did an Internet search and found quite a few interesting drinks. The one that sounds the most appealing to me is the Fizzy Twist. If you follow the link attached to the name, you will find other interesting drink ideas, but this one was my favorite.

Fizzy Twist

1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup cranberry juice
1/3 cup ginger ale

Mix the orange and cranberry juices over ice. Then, add the ginger ale.

In order to make drinks more appealing for children, you can do many things.

-You can serve your drinks with flavored ice cubes that are easy to make with a plastic ice tray.
-You can buy plastic ice cubes that come in various shapes and colors.
-You can put frozen fruit in your child's juice to keep it cold and add a bit of zing to their drink.
-You can make your own specialty ice cubes by freezing gummy candies into ice cubes.
-You can serve your child's fizzy twist in champagne flutes.
-Your options are limitless, just use your imagination.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I recently came across a website that had parenting quizzes posted on the home page. I suppose these quizzes are intended to provide a bit of humor to your day. However, I couldn't help but wonder why a parent might be inclined to take one of these quizzes.

The quiz that caught my eye was titled "Are you a great Mom?" For the sake of being able to discuss this rationally, I took the time to take the quiz. The picture of the insanely smiling woman that followed each new question was enough to wrangle my already raw nerves, yet I continued my quest to see just what this quiz would have to say about me and my parenting skills.

The questions are relatively annoying because they give the impression that there is a right choice and if you make the wrong choice - well then, whatever were you thinking when you decided you might be worthy of raising future adults? I happen to think that choices are based entirely on the needs of the family and the concept of right vs. wrong just does not work well when dealing with parenting decisions, so this was quite irritating to me.

After taking my quiz, the computer deemed me to be a great mom. (See my results below...) Come to think of it, I seriously doubt this type of quiz would ever rank anyone to be a non-great mom. After all, the entire goal here is to convince me to buy whatever products are being advertised underneath all those pretty little keyword links. Indeed, I took the quiz again and chose answers that were clearly inconsistent with my idea of what parenting should be about. Imagine my [lack of] surprise when the computer generated results were exactly the same as before.

I suppose the reason I'm going on about this is because while I see that the quiz might be considered entertaining for some, I also know many people who take these types of things quite seriously when seeking self-affirmation. This type of marketing ruse is used to prey on the insecurities of parents world wide, insinuating that perhaps if you use this product or that company then you would be a better parent.

It seems to me that the greatest proof of my amazing parenting skills can not be found on the computer, disguised as the results of a meaningless quiz. Instead, my proof lies in the giggles and smiles that reward me each day; the often repeated "I love you, Mom!" that is passed around my house; the smiles that show just how appreciated my efforts really are; and even the tears that send a heart broken little person running directly to me instead of stopping half way for comfort from some other person (can you say Daddy just isn't good enough for this one...).

I can clearly see my parenting success in these small gestures. I suppose if you stop and look around, you too will see your success and be assured that you are a great parent. You don't need a computer generated quiz to tell you that you are a great parent. I suppose you might find the quizzes to be amusing or entertaining, but if you do happen to be entertained by these quizzes then you already know just how irrelevant the results are.

Today, I declare you to be a great mom (or dad). Pat yourself on the back. Go hug your kids. Teach your child to tell you that you are amazing. It is one of the most wonderful phrases that you can ever teach your child. (Kira tells me quite frequently that I'm amazing, particularly when she wants something fixed and daddy wasn't able to fix it.) Enjoy the fruits of your labor. Waste five minutes kissing and hugging and tickling your babies instead of taking some silly Internet quiz. After all, I've already told you what you already knew and it took less than five minutes.


My Quiz Results

You sure are a great mom!The truth is, whether you choose co-sleep, use disposable diapers, stay at home, only buy specific toys for baby … or any one of a million other decisions, there have long been children who turned out A-OK on account (and in spite!) of similar ones made for them. Parenting is a subjective series of actions and reactions,and is looks like you’re being proactive about your child’s health, development, and overall happiness just by being here at BabyZone.

And while it may feel impossible to resist the temptation to compare yourself to other mothers, you need to take stock in the smart decisions you make every day on behalf of your family. Read more about why competitive parenting just isn’t worth it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Grow Something!

Never underestimate the power of a plant. Letting a child grow her own plant can make her feel very special and give her an amazing sense of accomplishment if you choose the right kind of plant for your child to grow.

My neighbor has a few tomato plants in her yard. Her little girl - Kira's Friend - checks the plants each day to see if there are any newly ripened tomatoes. Tomato plants are a wonderful option for our location because the weather is suitable, and the plants are hardy enough to deal with the Georgia red clay. The plants between our houses sport tons of little green tomatoes just waiting to ripen fully and be picked.

The Friend loves showing her tomatoes to Kira and pointing out which ones are almost ready to be picked.

You can prompt this type of pride in your own child, too, just by giving her a piece of dirt in your yard and letting her plant her very own plants. It's a bonus to plant something that she can eat, too. Eating your own freshly grown vegetables is a really special treat. Good options for growing include tomatoes, peppers, squash, and various herbs. Check your planting zones to determine what will grow best in your area. Then be sure to include your child in the process of selecting her plants.

I have to be very careful not to walk too close to the tomato plants between our houses because I would never want any of those tomatoes to jump off their vines and fall into my mouth. Really, that would just be tragic. All those defenseless, unguarded tomatoes...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Useful Keychains

Want to entertain a child for a short time without having to worry about said child getting into mischief?

Maintain a small collection of key chains attached together. Your key chains should have various designs, shapes, and colors to maintain interest. You can also have a few of the plain circle key rings mixed into your ball of key chains.

You can find "design" key chains at your local dollar store without spending a great deal of money. You can also get a wide variety of designs.

If you have an older child that is able to read, be sure to add a few key chains with those clever (child appropriate) sayings. Your child will enjoy reading them.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Water Water Everywhere...

Here in Georgia, it's hot again. Hot weather here means lazy days spent at the pool, with the hopes that the children will thoroughly exhaust themselves in order to insure the perfect night of sleeping.

In honor of our hot weather, ( and in memory for those of you unfortunate enough to be experience WINTER right now - dear Australia friends ), I'm listing a few safety tips for water play.

A swimming pool can be very dangerous for children. If possible, do not put a swimming pool in your yard until your children are older than 5 years. Help protect your children from drowning by doing the following:

Never leave your children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment. An adult who knows CPR should actively supervise children at all times.

Practice touch supervision with children younger than 5 years. This means that the adult is within an arm's length of the child at all times.

You must put up a fence to separate your house from the pool. Most young children who drown in pools wander out of the house and fall into the pool. Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all 4 sides of the pool. This fence will completely separate the pool from the house and play area of the yard. Use gates that self-close and self-latch, with latches higher than your children's reach.

Keep rescue equipment (such as a shepherd's hook or life preserver) and a telephone by the pool.

Do not use air-filled "swimming aids" as a substitute for approved life vests.

Remove all toys from the pool after use so children aren't tempted to reach for them.

After the children are done swimming, secure the pool so they can't get back into it.

A power safety cover that meets the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) may add to the protection of your children but should not be used in place of the fence between your house and the pool. Even fencing around your pool and using a power safety cover will not prevent all drownings.

Remember, teaching your child how to swim DOES NOT mean your child is safe in water.