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Thursday, July 30, 2009

More Bugs...

You know you want more bugs. There can never be too many bugs. Just ask your kids, they'll tell you.

You shook the tree, and that was good for a couple of hours of bug observations. Those bugs are all gone, though. Your kids are begging for more bugs. You probably learned from shaking that tree that you put yourself in danger by standing under the shaking tree... (bugs in your hair?) So today you want a new method of attracting bugs for your little ones observing pleasure.

I aim to please. Today I will give you a new idea for getting those critters to put on a show for your kids. Here's what you do...

You will need a plastic or foil pie plate. Dig a hole in the ground that is big enough to hold the plate with the rim at the same level as the surrounding ground.

Ask your kids what might work well to lure a few bugs to their observatory. They generally prefer sweet foods. You might try some jelly, honey, soft fruit, bread, or peanut butter. Actually, I recommend a variety of baits to add to your plate so that you can observe what each different bug finds most appealing.

You'll need to go away from the area for at approximately 30 minutes. This would be a good time to have a few pictures available of local bugs that you might encounter. You could also read something about bugs.

When you return to your plate, expect that your kids will want to hang out for a while and watch whatever came to visit. If you take paper and crayons out to the plate with you, your kids can draw pictures of what they see. You can even have each child tell a story about the bugs. The possibilities are endless.

When you finish observing the bugs, be sure to turn the pie plate upside down and dump all the bugs out. They won't be able to get out if you don't. It's important to remind your children that looking at the bugs is okay, but releasing them back into the wild is necessary.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What The...

Okay - I don't usually use my site as a forum to deal with issues in the news. However, I came across this article today that really has me reeling. I won't reprint the entire article here, just a few highlights. To read the entire piece, visit the link by clicking on the article's title.

Boston Hack Almost Takes Blame For Forgotten Child

"BOSTON – A family picked up by a taxi at the airport left a sleeping 5-year-old child behind in the back of the minivan — and the cabbie almost took the blame for it."

"Minutes later, Cohen got a call from the cab pool at the airport. State police, who have jurisdiction over Logan, were looking for him."

"The following day, Cohen was ordered to report to the Hackney unit, where police told him his license was being suspended for three days because he didn't do a thorough check of the van."

" "I think the sad piece here is that the police are not recognizing the responsibility of the adults and are now saying this driver also has to be responsible for passengers who forget their children," said Donna Blythe-Shaw, a staff representative for the United Steelworkers Boston Taxi Drivers Association."


Seriously now - who is responsible for that child being left in that taxi?

Where does the real fault lie?

Those parents are very lucky that they left their child with an honest person and not a predator. I understand being tired after a long trip, but this type of incident rakes my nerves to the highest. There was more than one adult responsible for that child. Somebody should have noticed that they were leaving something very important behind BEFORE they got in their house.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mom-dom Has Arrived

My house has dissolved into a state of Mom-dom today.

Most of you know by now that I am a rather flexible and relaxed parent. I encourage my children to play in the mud. I have very few rules and restrictions, most of which are safety oriented. I allow my children to lead the way on most trips to the store, following them through aisle after useless aisle for 30 minutes to an hour just to buy a box of cereal that was located right by the entrance. I am what you might call child-oriented in my day-to-day life. I don't mind taking time to let them explore the aisles as long as they aren't grabbing things off the shelves. This is a well known expectation in our home.

I decided today that we would spend some time at our favorite location just down the road. I packed up the computer, dressed the girls, moved the car seats and piled everybody into the car. Our first stop was Kroger to get a couple of cheap Lunchables for the girls to snack on. It was a simple trip, but the girls wanted to roam the store. We roamed back to the fish case where they both pretended to eat all the fish steaks and crab legs. Then we wandered over to the case where the Lunchables live. They each picked out their snack, and we carried on to roam around the freezer case. Of course we wound up near the cakes and cookies...

Both girls ran over a grabbed a pack of cupcakes, turning the package upside down to get a better look. I told them no cupcakes and made sure the damage was not severe. We carried on towards the checkout. Marisa grabbed something else and got a soft swat on the bottom. Marisa took exception to this and began wailing loudly. Mind you, she's still in diapers. A spanking on her bottom is never even felt.

We proceed to the checkout. The store marketing team is quite clever. They put chocolate in EVERY SINGLE AISLE right by the registers. Marisa determined right then and there that she needed chocolate right then and there. I, being a bit near the end of my rope, told her that there would be no chocolate today. I was very calm and quiet when I told her no, but she just does not like being told "no."

Marisa took exception to this and began wailing loudly about how hungry she was. There was a woman near the end of the aisle watching the whole scene with that knowing look of a mother who has been through this a time or two with her own kids. She gave me a gentle smile. I gave her a smile with a bit of rolling eyes. I ushered Marisa over to the counter and away from the chocolate that she was gazing at with the forlorn look of a puppy who hasn't been fed in days and sees the bacon through the glass that can't be breeched. (You know this look...)

Kira chose this moment to begin crying. To be honest with you, I have no idea what Kira's issue was. She was complaining about having to stand by the counter. The woman directly behind us was "crowding" us. The cashier was dealing with a huge stack of coupons. I was being very patient and calmly explained to the girls that we would only be a few more minutes and I needed them to stop crying.

They cried louder.

I took a deep breath.

I said to myself as I'm looking around at the people in my vicinity ---

"Self, whatever you do at this very moment will determine what happens the next time you walk into a store with these two children."

I recalled a discussion that Randall and I had just a week or so ago about giving warnings and following through. At this point, I had not actually "warned" either of the children. I had asked them to quiet down. I had reminded them of my expectations for their behavior in the store. I determined that at their age, they are old enough to understand that their actions have consequences and that these particular actions are not acceptable to their mom.

I took a deep breath. I gathered my dignity. I took both girls by the hand. I apologized profusely to the cashier and explained that I would be leaving now without buying the two Lunchables on the counter. (He was still busy with those coupons.)

The girls really began crying at this point, as they both realized what this action of mine truly meant.

We walked to the car. I buckled them in. I brought them home.

There will be no sandbox today.

I made them both sit on the floor at the foot of my bed. I gave them their "snack trays" and fixed their lunch. (Not Lunchables... ) They ate their food in relative silence. Marisa declared she was done and ready to play, only to be met by my stern Mom-dom gaze with my declaration that she would sit by her tray until I was done with her being there. She crawled back to her allotted space with tears rolling down her cheeks.

After both girls finished their paltry meals, I removed their shoes and socks in preparation for bed. Kira went off to the bathroom while I settled Marisa into the bed. I gave Marisa a short speech to remind her why she was in trouble and that I still love her no matter what. I rolled up the extra quilt that lives on our bed and placed it in the middle of the bed. I told Marisa that she was not to cross the quilt.

Kira finished in the bathroom and I gave her the same type of speech as Marisa had just received. I reminded her what behavior is acceptable and why we were now in the state of Mom-dom. I directed her to crawl into my bed. I also gave her the same directions with regards to that rolled up quilt.

I couldn't stop there, though. Oh no - this is TOTAL MOM-DOM MODE.

I instructed Marisa to roll onto her side and face Daddy's lamp.

I instructed Kira to roll onto her side and face Mommy's lamp.

Then I turned out the lights and vacated the room.

Amazingly, there was not one single protest...

One last thought that I need to add. I really hate Mom-dom. I hate having to be harsh and dole out punishments of this nature. It would have been so much easier for me to just go on with my plans and take them to play. That was what I really wanted to do - move on to the next stage of the day and let the horrid scene of the grocery store fade away.

Easier is not always better.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


If you live in the Atlanta area, LISTEN UP!!!

There is a free show --- YEP, I SAID FREE!!! --- coming to the Woodruff Arts Center.

"Bring your family and enjoy FREE performances from Young Audience's musicians,
dancers, puppeteers, storytellers, visual artists, and theatre artists, on the Rich

The artspalooza is scheduled for THREE Saturdays in August. ** August 15th, 22nd, and 29th **

There will be two shows on each day. ** 10:00 AM and 12:30 PM **

(psst -- Pet -- I'll be at the 12:30 show on August 15th... You should really consider joining me. )

The big catch to this whole FREE SHOW thing is this....

Yeah - you knew there was a catch of some sort. There always is.

Okay, I'll tell you.

Space is limited. You have to register in advance. It's a very simple process, though. I already registered my family. It took me less than 5 minutes. It was great. I'm guessing they send tickets because they asked for my address, but it could just be that they check your ID at the door.

This link right here ---> LINK <--- will take you to the proper location to learn more about this FREE SHOW (you got the FREE part, right), so go check it out.

(Let me know if you plan to go to that August 15th @ 12:30 show. That's when I'll be there with me and my gang.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lesson Learned

I have learned a very valuable lesson today.

Being "The Daddy" is the worst possible fate that anybody could ever suffer.

I have come to this conclusion after the past 20 minutes of attempting to console my heartbroken little girl who came face to face with the reality that she is not in charge of the entire universe.

We're sitting here at DAC Kids- (Yes, it's my absolute favorite place. Yes, I've been her four times - count them, FOUR times - this week.) Kira came to me with tears all in her eyes because her newest friend wanted to be "The Mommy" and wanted Marisa to be "The Baby" and relegated Kira to the offensive role of being "The Daddy."

(Sorry honey. You aren't nearly as favored as we once believed. Apparently being The Daddy is just horrible.)

I have to admit --- I laughed. Really, I laughed pretty good there. I tried to hide it, but this isn't something I'm good at. So while I was laughing, I was also wrapping my arms around Kira in hopes that she would believe that I was crying right along with her and not realize that I was laughing at her extreme level of drama that she was devoting to this (non)important issue of role relegation.

She was convinced that this girl would follow her around, no matter where she chose to play, in order to force her to be "The Daddy" in whatever game that girl chose to play.

Trust me when I say that attempting to reason with a distraught four year old is never a good idea. It won't work. There is always one more "but" to be added to the argument. You can not win.

Instead of reasoning or arguing with her about her obvious distortions of the situation, I asked her what she wanted to do about it.

She chose to stay cuddled up in my arms for a good twenty minutes while she cried and wailed and sobbed about the injustices of it all.

She begged to go home immediately, which I denied because Marisa was still playing.

She swore she was starving to deathany and absolutely MUST go home and eat right away. (I didn't bring food with me today...shame on me.)

Eventually she sauntered off to play in the sand closest to where I am sitting. I'm trying to guess how long it will take before she is off playing with that same offending girl who so thoroughly devastated her entire world just a short time ago.

**Incidentally, before I was able to finish adding the links below, Kira had forgotten that the world has come to an end. She's nowhere to be seen. Imagine that...**

Related Articles:

I Don't Want to Forget

Make Believe

Hugs and Snuggles

Shake A Tree

Bugs, bugs, bugs!


(unless you are looking for them...)

Around my house, bug hunting is a favorite occupation. I have no idea what the fascination is with bugs, but my girls spend an increasingly large amount of time trying to find these little creatures. I almost feel sorry for the poor, helpless little creepy crawlies. ALMOST!!!

Lately we've been watching the Popular Mechanics for Kids, Slither and Slime video. In the video, there is a section where the lead guy tells you how to find bugs to observe. Well, I figured I might ought to share this lovely information so you, too, can have fun with bugs. After all, if "I" have to go out in the yard and shake a tree to make bugs drop out of it - then by golly - so should YOU.

Well, method #1 of finding bugs to play with is, as you may have already guessed, shaking a tree. (I'll get to method #2 and #3 in later posts.)

You take a light colored sheet and lay it out on the ground under a tree that is small enough to shake, but large enough to have several branches. After you have the sheet set up, guess what you do...

You "Shake The Tree!"

Yep, you pretend you're a bear and shake the tree as hard as you possibly can. The rain of bugs will fall upon your carefully prepared sheet. You and your little entomologists will enjoy hours of observatory fun while you watch the poor, startled little creatures as they try to figure out how in the world they came to be in such an unwelcome position.

(This would be a good time to point out that most of those little bugs will not appreciate being handled. If your child absolutely must pick them up - be sure she is wearing garden gloves so she doesn't get bitten or stung.)

When your angelic scientist grow weary of torturing (ahem - I mean observing) the bugs that you have so graciously provided for them, move on to something else. The bugs will eventually find their way back home. After most of them have vacated your bug bed, you can come back for the sheet. (Unless you wish to take the more evil path of making their lives a bit more chaotic. If that be the case, pick the sheet up and shake it vigorously to rid the surface of the bugs. They'll be a bit more rattled, but mostly unharmed. Don't laugh too loudly, though. They might follow you home...)

Related Articles:

Butterflies Everywhere

Popular Mechanics

Slugs and Such

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Popular Mechanics

Do you want to get your kids interested in Science and find that they are resistant?

Well.... I found something that works wonders for teaching Science.

Popular Mechanics for Kids

I'm very lucky that my library has several videos from PMK. We get them all the time. Right now we're watching the one about slimy creatures. It's kind of gross, but there's a ton of educational information and the kids just love the grossness of it all.

I'm glad that there are a few videos that aren't nearly as gross as this one.

Related Articles:

Library Take

Science 101

Natural Killers

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm Being Featured

I was recently contacted by Bizymoms with a request to add my blog to their site as a featured parenting blog. This is big news for me. I, of course, said YES YES YES.

So now I have another RSS Feed going to Bizymoms. Yippee!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Parenting Pointers

I found this cool bit of information over at Motherhood Moment.

Clorox has launched a "What to Expect Healthy Home Growth Chart" to help people have a healthy home. If you've read the "What to Expect" series, the author worked with The What to Expect Foundation and Clorox to develop the “What to Expect: Guide to a Healthy Home” in 2006.

See the complete article at Motherhood Moment.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Butterflies Everywhere

Here are some pictures from our trip to the Butterfly House at Callaway Gardens. They aren't actually in any specific order, except this first one is from the very beginning.

(Kira and Marisa at the entrance of the Butterfly House.)

(Marisa - inside the Butterfly House.)

(Marisa with her goody bag.)

(Kira - with her goody bag.)

(Marisa's bag is bigger than she is.)

(Marisa with our butterfly friend.)

(Kira with our butterfly friend.)

(If I close my eyes, the butterflies won't know I'm here and they'll come sit on me.)
(Kira with the first butterfly visit.)

(Marisa is trying to get the butterfly to crawl up on her finger.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Look What Kira Can Do!!!

I asked Kira to sit back on a bench today and cross her legs. I expected her to pull her legs up under her like usual. Instead....

THIS is what she did.

To find out why THIS is such a BIG DEAL, check out the following articles.

When the News Is Not Good

Kira's Big Day

Cast Off

It's GONE!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dear Mom

I love to hear from my readers. I really enjoy receiving comments and emails. Your feedback helps me to create the best possible site for your needs.

If you have a specific question about parenting or children, please feel free to contact me directly at

I will answer your question in a post, while allowing you to remain completely anonymous.

Related Articles:

Dear Mom - March 31, 2008

Dear Mom - April 21, 2008

Dear Mom - January 27, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Something to Think About

**I received this via email this morning. It reflects my current state of mind so I felt like sharing.**

Washington DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later: The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the till and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:
A 3 year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly, as the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children.. Every parent, without exception, forced them to move on.

45 minutes:
The musician played. Only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace.
He collected $32.

1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.
This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments .....

How many other things are we missing?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Gibson!

I just want to take a moment to tell my darling son Happy Birthday. He turned 15 years old today.

This, of course, is the end of life as I once new it. The sanctity of home life will now be disrupted by the arrival of the learner's permit - should he ever manage to actually study enough to pass the test. (Not that he failed that test just like I said he would if he didn't actually READ the manual.)


Perhaps I shall survive this particular phase in parenting. However, if you notice an unusual absence and/or silence from my realm of the universe, please take appropriate actions to insure my safety. After all, he'll be driving me around soon, and I want to be sure that somebody out there is looking out for me.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I'm sitting here today watching Dora the Explorer.

Well, I'm actually working and painting while Marisa is watching Dora the Explorer, but that's beside the point.

The episode we're watching has little Dora trying to become a True Princess. One of the tasks involves teaching rocks how to sing. Unfortunately the rocks are guarded by the grumpy giant. It turns out that the giant is grumpy because he's lost his puppy.

Dora offers to help the giant find his lost puppy so he won't be so grumpy anymore.

You may wonder why I'm talking about this - unless, of course, your name is Toni.

You see, my friend Toni is a bit obsessed with the injustices and neglect that poor Dora must suffer. You can visit her at The Mind of a Mom to see just what I mean.

Well, I'm listening to the episode while I'm in the bedroom painting and it occurs to me:


Isn't this what we tell our children. If a stranger approaches you and tells you they need help to find their lost puppy that the child should go find their grown up immediately?

So today - in honor of Dora and Toni - I would like to remind you to review the standard measures of safety with your children. Be sure to point out that cartoons and television programs are not exactly real.

Toni - I hope you've enjoyed your very own special post. I thought about you today. Your day is now complete.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Music is an important part of every person's life. Children should be exposed to music early and often - and not just one type of music, either. Find ways to expose your child to a wide variety of musical styles and methods.

Take them to concerts of various kinds.

Listen to different radio stations.

Bring in an assortment of instruments for you child to play with and experience.

Most importantly, let your child decide what music they like and enjoy. You may be surprised to find that you teenager actually enjoys classical music instead of rock and roll. (I know I was...)

With so many different types of music available in the world, you're sure to find something that your child enjoys (and you can tolerate).

Important Parenting Tips

These are bits of wisdom gained by a father who was educated by his
rather active children.

1. There is no such thing as child proofing your house.

2. A four year olds voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded

3. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not
strong enough to rotate 42 pound boy wearing pound puppy
underwear and a Superman cape.

4. Baseballs make marks on ceilings.

5. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.

6. The glass in windows (even double pane) doesn't stop a baseball
hit by a ceiling fan.

7. When you here the toilet flush and the words "uh-oh" it is
already too late.

8. Brake fluid mixed with Chlorox makes smoke, lots of it.

9. A six year old boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though
a 36 year old man says it can only be done in the movies.

10. If you use a waterbed as home plate while wearing baseball shoes,
it does not explodes.

11. A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq. ft.
house almost 4 inches deep.

12. Legos will pass through the digestive tract of a 4 year old.

13. Duplos will not.

14. Playdough and microwaves should never be used in the same

15. Superglue is forever.

16. VCR's do not eject PB&J sandwiches, even though TV commercials
show they do.

17. Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.

18. Marbles in a gas tank make lots of noises when driving.

19. You probably do not want to know what that odor is.

20. Always look in the oven before you turn it on.

21. The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms

22. It will, however, make cats dizzy.

23. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.

24. A good sense of humor will get you through most problems in life
(unfortunately, mostly in retrospect).


**I found these tips here.**

Monday, July 6, 2009

Are You Home, Yet?

For my regular readers, please excuse this interruption in our regularly schedule theme. This is a special post for a very special person. Enjoy the picture. I hope it makes you smile. (Don't ask for an explanation... just nod and smile.)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Splish Splash

It's raining a bit here today, which is nice because that means it isn't miserably hot outside. The girls wanted to splash in puddles on the way into church this morning, but I told them that they would have to wait until time to leave. I told them that when it was time to leave they would be allowed to splash to their little hearts' content.

Children NEVER forget your promises, so don't tell them unless you mean it.

Upon leaving church today, I was reminded that it was time to splash. I resigned myself to a bit of wetness and took a seat on the sidewalk to watch the girls splash in the parking lot.

And splash they did!!!

Their little hearts were not content until after an hour had passed. Luckily I met a new friend and had a very pleasant conversation while my dear little girls rolled in the puddles. (Yes, they literally laid down on the pavement and rolled in the puddles, then giggled profusely at their own cleverness.)

So if you're going to make a promise to your kids - be prepared to follow through.

**God made rain so little kids would have puddles to splash in.**

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Keep Them Happy

The key to happy children is a steady supply of food.

It probably doesn't even matter what kind of food you give them.

Also, when they're eating they tend to be quiet(er)... This makes Mom happy, too.


Related Articles

Lunch Ideas for Kids of All Ages

Free Rice

Nobody Ever Feeds Me