Apr 152015
 

Go ahead & run in the sunshine!  The Children's Gardens are the perfect solution to pass the day! Longwood Gardens has been a place my family has held near and dear for years. Our annual Christmas visit, summer strolls under the stars, meeting friends for morning play-dates, spring days out with Grandpa…it’s the perfect place for respite and beauty whatever the reason or season. And the most perfect part? All the gorgeousness is kid-friendly.

The first few times took my kids I was nervous: would this be okay or would this be another example of publicly showing off our travelling circus show? Much to my surprised delight, Longwood not only worked with kids, it was the ideal place to hang out with them.

It was brilliantly easy and fun. So much so that when my sister and I recently made our yearly visit to honor my mother’s love of flowers, we decided to skip sorting childcare and take the whole crew with us.

What makes Longwood Gardens such a fantastic place to visit with young ones?

1) Space to run…and run and run some more. Without the worry of cars or roads, it is safe to let them play and romp around, all while soaking in nature’s delights and getting some fresh air. Bonus for parents? They sleep like bricks when you get home. Total win.

Go ahead & run in the sunshine!  The Children's Gardens are the perfect solution to pass the day!

2) The Children’s Gardens. There are two, one outdoor and one indoor. Both have fountains for them to splash in and loads of things to explore. My children squee when we get to these gardens–every single time. Just make sure to bring some dry clothes and shoes to change them into when they’re done playing and you’re all for a less whiny ride home, Mom!

3) The Treehouses Does it get any more fun than having ginormous treehouses to climb around in? One of them is even stroller-friendly which makes managing a baby with older kids far less daunting. And checking out the bee hive in the one house (completely safe, I promise!) is a huge hit.

4) It’s the fanciest place you will ever potty-train in. I’m serious. Using the family-friendly, generously-sized (read: you can push your stroller easily into each private bathroom). And the Green Wall is gorgeous.

5) The special exhibits and activities. We’ve never done any of their summer camps, but I have heard nothing but rave reviews. And when the train exhibit goes on display in the cooler months, we are all wowed. The intricate villages and landscapes the gardeners create around the tracks leave your jaw dropping!

6) The music show at the Open Air Theater. Because it’s small, the kids are able to get so close to the action. Watching my kids beam and clap along with the music makes my heart swell in a way that makes me so proud that we got ourselves out of the house to enjoy something special.

Go ahead & run in the sunshine!  The Children's Gardens are the perfect solution to pass the day!

7) The logistics are NOT a beast. Pack a backpack with what you need–water, snacks, diapers, bottles, etc. and cruise around at a pace that suits you. Don’t have time to pack a lunch? There is a cafe with loads of kid-friendly options. If you have older children, they will fight to be the one to hit the button to open the doors for your stroller at every entrance/exit. If not, some sweet copatron or one of the friendly volunteers will get your back; people there are nice, really. There are bathrooms scattered frequently throughout and there are plenty of places to grab a seat for a rest when the kids wear you down.

When I say that it’s kid-friendly, it is. I am not a brave soul when it comes to taking my children out and about by myself, but I take them to Longwood Gardens. I am also pretty stingy with my money, but I fully believe that a membership or day out at Longwood is worth every penny. It’s the perfect place to just let kids be kids while soaking in all the glory that nature has to offer.

Plan a visit now and thank yourself later!

****A thank-you to Longwood Gardens for providing the tickets for the particular visit on which this post is referrenced. Our love of Longwood is long-cultivated and 100% genuine!****

Apr 082015
 

Behind the wheel? Get responsible NOW. Your family's safety is no joke--EVER.This world is a pretty crazy place. There are things like kids, schools, dishes, and remembering to stock toilet paper and be home on time to meet the HVAC dude. There are pulls and demands from every direction, usually multiple times over, that leave Mommy feeling like one rockin’ hot mess.

Since I’ve started kicking off this career gig, going at it whole-heartedly, it’s only gotten more tricky. And I know I’m not alone. Lots and lots of people are working hard to make money on the side–for some cool inspiration on how ideas to bank cash in a way that works for you, check this post from the Penny Hoarder with loads of great ideas to support your budget. Needing to earn cash and manage it all is normal; the skill is in working in the work–and all the tasks of this life–responsibly.

For me, this means NOT checking in with my 13th million e-mail of the day while cruising down the road to drop my kids at school. And this is so hard. I do not wish to endanger myself or my children by any means, but I do desperately wish to keep up the atrocity of my growing to-do list at bay so I have time do fancy things like help them with their homework and give them baths at night. However, in these moments when I am tempted to think, “Let me just pop off this one e-mail so I needn’t deal with it later,” I MUST remember what really matters–keeping my family safe.

Behind the wheel? Get responsible NOW. Your family's safety is no joke--EVER.

What does that mean? Not texting while driving. Simple. Straight-up.

No text or e-mail I feel the pull to send can matter more than staying focused while transporting the most precious gift on this earth–my kids. Watch this Calls Kill PSA video if you need more convincing:

There are times, like those at long stop lights and stand-still road blocks when this hardline may feel negotiable. But it is not. Ever.

The bottom line is that, if I’m behind the wheel, my phone cannot be in my hands. This is why the National Safety Council #CallsKill Focused Driver Challenge is so important. All it asks? Take one week to break the habit and pledge to drop the phone while you drive–without exception.

Need more confirmation? Check the truth at the National Safety Council website. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and there is no better time than NOW to make the commitment to make your family’s safety a priority.Behind the wheel? Get responsible NOW. Your family's safety is no joke--EVER.

This life is crazy busy. There are tons of important daily and job-related responsibilities that matter to you and your family–but they never matter more than keeping your hands on the wheel and your focus on what really matters.

Drive safely, friends–it matters!

 

****I’m grateful to the National Safety Council and Mom Bloggers Club for sponsoring this important PSA.****

First image credit: image ID:50123777, copyright:karenr

Mar 302015
 

This adulthood thing is SO not easy. Raising kids, managing a home, juggling it all can leave us wondering how in the world we are qualified to do this job. Latch on to this one truth to find the way to take the next step--and the one after that.I distinctly remember moving into my first apartment after college. After hauling a ton of boxes up the stairs along with an ugly fake ficus plant, I needed to pee. Dashing into my shiny new bathroom, I was met with a startling surprise–there was no toilet paper.

What fresh insanity was this?? Who was in charge of the toilet paper and where was it? Clearly some very poor management was place. Except…with a shocking dawn of awareness, I realized I was in charge of the toilet paper.

Unreal.

Even more mind-blowing, they sold this stuff in the grocery store, as I soon discovered. Like, in the aisle with paper towels and garbage bags and all those things adults bought.

Adults. ADULTS. What a minute, this could not possibly make sense. I was the adult here? Like in my own home with responsibilities and things to take care of that no one else would? Like buying the toilet paper.

Huh.

I would like to report this stymieing feeling of being in charge of my own life has dissipated as I’ve moved beyond my 21 yr. old self, but I cannot. While I have safely nailed re-stashing the paper goods in our house, every now and again, the curve balls of life will leave me scratching my head. After a particularly exhausting weekend, I will look up from the mountain of dirty dishes before me and wonder where is the adult who is going to take care of this.

You see, it can’t be me. I’m too tired. I’ve done way more than enough for the day.

When it’s my son’s impossible attention struggles in school, it can’t be me. I have never dealt with anything like this before and have no idea what I’m doing.

When it’s this world of starting kids’ sports, it can’t be me. I’ve never played soccer and I have no clue what appropriate sports mom behavior is.

When it’s the excruciating loss of a loved one, it can’t be me. I’ve never hurt this badly before. And where is my mom to help hold my hand through the pain?

When it’s a new work role, it can’t be me. I never trained for this and don’t have the energy or smarts to tackle something so huge.

When it’s figuring out how to pay a bill we don’t have money for, it can’t be me. Where’s the back-up team?

Nope. No way. In all of these situations, surely there must be an adult who is going to step up and take control. The adult can’t be me. I have no clue how to get it together and take the next step. Because on more days than not, I still feel like a kid that needs help–a lot of help.

I am pretty sure I missed some class on adulthood I was supposed to take. It was probably held right before that darn class for parents on how to fill out the atrocious school picture order forms.

This adulthood thing is SO not easy. Raising kids, managing a home, juggling it all can leave us wondering how in the world we are qualified to do this job. Latch on to this one truth to find the way to take the next step--and the one after that.

It feels very convenient to sit here and sulk for not being properly informed about how very grown-up being a grown-up actually is…except, I can’t. I don’t have time to sulk. Stuff needs to be done. And while I have others who can help support, as it turns out, no one is going to do it for me. It’s my responsibility. It’s my house. My life. My kids. It’s my job.

It’s my job to get up on the days I don’t know how to handle and figure them out. It’s my job to have faith that God will give me just enough to sort though–no more, no less. And it’s my job to keep going through all the parts of life that seem impassible.

It’s my job because I am the adult.

You’ll excuse me while I reel from the shock of this startling revelation, friends. And I’m also going to need an extra few minutes to pop over to the store to stock on some toilet paper. It’s getting real around here.

 

First image credit: image ID:35833993, copyright:verkoka

Second image credit: image ID:21308401, copyright:asife

Mar 232015
 

This life is so crazy and so very full. Paring it down to the basics, the things that TRULY matter is the key to making your day-to-day not only manageable, but full and blessed. Check the pure truth I found through our crisis and get real--it's actually kind of fun, I promise!Recently, things got rather basic around here. And by basic, I mean that remembering to brush teeth was a solid victory.

Chaos left us scrambling to make sense of necessities while sleep was relegated to a fanciful indulgence.

One sweet result of the fun was some precious family time. Another gift was a brilliant revelation that came to me while shoving underwear in the washing machine and praying that I could find something edible to serve for dinner: this is enough.

You see, for days, dishes went unwashed, toppling against each other in a threat to crash to the floor. Kids were permitted excess hours with the iPad and Mommy decidedly set up shop in a pair of unflattering leggings. It was not Martha Stewart-esque, Pinterest would have cringed, and the Mom of the Year award was never more honestly earned.

I looked at my neglected to-do list and sobbed a little in my heart. It cursed me by only getting longer and infinitely more demanding.

And then I looked at my family. I looked at the kids laughing and happy. And at the fact that somehow we managed to get everyone fed and safely in bed for the night.

And I knew that, despite all, God was still good, and we would get up in the morning and it would happen again.

In the midst of the frenzy, I went dark on my blog and social media. In my foolhearty arrogance regarding the importance of my craft thus far, I’ve never done this before. But days without posting simply was the only option that made sense because we were too busy living life.

Stats were suddenly of the least importance, as things like miraculously getting everyone in the bath at night became of the utmost importance.

And so we went on. And so I realized that the things in this life that continue us, that make this life real, aren’t the things like pretty countertops, checkmarks on lists, or even coolly managing the events raging around us. No, it’s the things like wiping potty-training bums and filling juice cups.

This life is so crazy and so very full. Paring it down to the basics, the things that TRULY matter is the key to making your day-to-day not only manageable, but full and blessed. Check the pure truth I found through our crisis and get real--it's actually kind of fun, I promise!

I did not live in the era of the pioneers; I just read all of the Little House on the Prairie books and watched Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman ad nauseam. So I don’t really know what I’m talking about. But I imagine that in those days, the day’s goal was more about survival and provision than having the cutest Facebook status update.

Than having a perfectly formulated daily calendar. Than making sure your child read the optimal number of popcorn words each day. Than DIY-ing the most gorgeously rustic bathroom storage shelves.

No, I think it was about the basics. About keeping people safe and feeding them. About making sure they were clothed and generally cared for.

I think what was real, was very real. So real that focus was clear and true.

And you know what? I think they nailed it. Nailed it beyond all shadow of a doubt. I think those pioneers had their crap together.

With this awareness, I surrender my piles of unwashed laundry and stale leftovers. I surrender my sad abandoned blog posts and I surrender them in the interest of what is most real: that which is necessary to carry us from day to day.

Life just went and got real. And in the interest of our fab pioneer ancestors, I’m totally cool with that.

First image credit: photography ID:55254163, copyright:alexsvirid

Second image ID:2602245, copyright:EyeMark

 

Mar 182015
 

No sitter but still needing a date night with your husband? Here's a few simple (really!) steps to bringing a coffeehouse into your own home. Trust me, with 2 of these tricks, even the kids will be happy! Date night is on!!One month ago, my husband and I had a coffeehouse date. To be more accurate, 16 years and one month ago, we had a coffeehouse date.

On February 18, 1999, my husband called me on my college dorm room landline (because those things existed) and asked if I’d like to go hang out at the coffeehouse with him. Channeling all my quintessential nerdy-ness, I was confused by this random dude I’d seen in the computer lab (because those things also existed) making such a ludicrous request on a Thursday night, “But…I’m studying,” I sputtered.

I know, I had such a way with the men, it was stymieing.

Not to be deterred, he suggested I bring my books along. I did. And I never opened them the entire night.

Fast-forward a year into the future, same coffeehouse, same day, and once again, no studying happened. But a marriage proposal did, followed a bit later by a wedding.

And ever since all those initial visits to our coffeehouse, we’ve made a commitment to go back. Every February 18.

Except…kids happened. Admire our ambition, because at first, we weren’t slowed down; we took them with us. But then, they got older. And things like getting to bed on time for school the next morning on a Wednesday night made the 1.5 hr. trek for a cup of tea, however beautifully sentimental, increasingly impractical.

We debated all the sides of the coin–hire a sitter, dump on a friend, go on the weekend, find a closer coffeehouse…we went round and round and round the options. Logistics and circumstances continued to lead us solidly back to the conclusion: going this year was going to be really, really tough.

I was feeling rather grouchy and pouty about the whole thing, to be honest. And then, inspiration struck. If I couldn’t get us to the coffeehouse, maybe I could get it to us?

I am not a crafty person. I am not a creative DIY-er by any stretch. But, the coffeehouse matters, you see. So I told my husband, “I’ll take care of it” and refused to answer any more questions.

No sitter but still needing a date night with your husband? Here's a few simple (really!) steps to bringing a coffeehouse into your own home. Trust me, with 2 of these tricks, even the kids will be happy! Date night is on!!

How do you create a coffeehouse in your own home?

1) I found some very cool copper wire LED lights. I ventured into our mess of a garage to secure a hammer and a few nails. I strung them around our dining room and dimmed the lights. Of course I waited to the last minute to do this and then panickedly tried to untwist the last wire as my husband pulled in the driveway.

2) I got the kids on board and braved the glitter. The coffeehouse always features a series by a local artist. I figured my most talented local artists were right in my own home, so together made “A Life in Glitter” and I hung their work around the dining room.

3) I made my husband teach me how to use Pandora radio on my phone a week prior. Yes, I’m this dumb. I queued up some sweet jazz tunes and let the vibes roll.

4) I stocked up on my favorite chocolate mint tea ahead of time, and I got over my life-long fear of making scones. And you know what? They were pretty darn amazing.

5) I laid out our Scrabble game. We always play Scrabble when we visit the coffeehouse; remember, I said I was a nerd…

6) I bathed and fed the kids early. Way early so I would have time to prep. Who says chicken nuggets at 4pm doesn’t count as a solid dinner? They still came and ate with us, for the record.

7) I swung by Redbox for a “new” movie that would captivate them to minimize interruptions while my husband and I were dating it up. Our daughter still peed all over the bathroom floor 5 minutes into our date. It added to the mood.

8) I dug our chalkboard sign out of the basement and wrote “Welcome to MJs” (name of our beloved coffeehouse) on it and propped it in the corner. Not quite the same thing, but helped me pretend.

9) I got out the pretty plates and set the table with a cute sugar bowl.

10) I enlisted the support of a sweet friend–mostly just to cheer me on and to talk me down at the last-minute when I couldn’t get the lights untangled. It helped tremendously.

And then, when my husband walked in the door, I had the kids greet him, yelling, “Welcome to the coffeehouse, Daddy!”. This part isn’t exactly like what would happen at a real coffeehouse, but it is what happens at our coffeehouse. Because this 16 yr. old coffeehouse may not be many things, but it is full of a lot of love and some very cute kids who make staying home worth it.

Someday we’ll go back to the real deal; for now, we’re busy cleaning up the pee.

No sitter but still needing a date night with your husband? Here's a few simple (really!) steps to bringing a coffeehouse into your own home. Trust me, with 2 of these tricks, even the kids will be happy! Date night is on!!

 

First image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:24048985, copyright:eugenesergeev

Mar 162015
 

Bad case of the grumpies? You are not alone with grouchy moods! When I found this perspective to help boost my mood and make me feel better, it was a Godsend--AND a reason to smile!A couple weeks ago, I shared about a rather low spot I found myself in, one which included vehemently slamming my minivan into the garage door. I won’t lie, it was a neat time. And delightfully, for my husband and kids the fun hasn’t quit.  It’s been two straight weeks of “Mommy’s in a mood” around these parts.

Somehow that timely crunch of metal while I was actively mourning my mom broke something in me. It’s as if all the tempered grouchiness within suddenly gave way. It gave way to a torrent of snappy frustration with my daughter’s endless very-three, three year-oldness, irritation with parents in the drop-off line who take too long for my impatient bent, curses on too-tight budgets, and disproportionate tears over broken trash cans. Like I said, it’s been fun around here.

As I sit, wondering if March of 2015 is simply beyond repair for my hopelessness, I am reminded of a flipside that I am carefully ignoring. You see, if I acknowledge it, it might just do wonders for re-setting my mood, and I have so cozily settled into being a grumpy defeatist…

The flipside was last Tuesday morning. One week and one day after I attacked our garage.

On this Tuesday, I was up, out of bed, and at work on my computer by 5:30am. As I breezed through e-mails, I thought, “Awesome! I’ll be done by 7, so I can exercise and grab a shower before the school run!”. Tired, fussy and very needy kids woke up early and had other plans.

I modified my brilliant game plan, “No worries! I’ll drop my son at school and we’ll run to the grocery store quickly before it gets crowded. Then I can get home and exercise.”

Good news! The nearby retirement home decided to shift their weekly visit to the grocery store to Tuesday morning…at the same time my daughter and I arrived.  I’ll just let you imagine what a wonderful match this was for that impatient bent I mentioned above.

Also, my daughter needed to pee–right in the middle of the soup aisle. As I tore across the store to the lone bathroom and got this sorted, I still clung to hope of an ordered morning. We somehow found our way to the check out, where I unloaded a very full cart. While I was bagging and preparing to pay, my daughter had another bathroom emergency that could not wait. The clerk was thrilled. I love potty-training. 

Take #2 on the mad dash to the bathroom; I regrouped further. “Well, no time to exercise this morning, but I’ll still have time for a nice shower after unloading the groceries.”

Now very completely toileted, we got ourselves and the groceries home. Just as I put one foot on the stairs to run up for my shower, the phone rang. It was the school nurse. My son was ill and would need picked up.

“Okay, I will grab him, settle them on the couch with a show and shower before the garage guy shows up.” We had another garage repair estimate scheduled, praying against hope to beat the original $1500 quote we were given.

Right as I returned from getting my son, the service truck pulled in the driveway behind me. The repairman showed up–45 minutes early.

Friends, it was time to call it–there would be no shower.

Bad case of the grumpies? You are not alone with grouchy moods! When I found this perspective to help boost my mood and make me feel better, it was a Godsend!

As he tinkered around outside, I managed to sneak in for a quick change into some fresh jeans and an overdue date with my toothbrush. It wasn’t brilliant, but allowed me to feel slightly more human, slightly less like a sweatpanted poster ad for halitosis awareness.

It also allowed me to be slightly more centered when a few minutes later the garage guy knocked on the door, and simply said, “I fixed it.”

What?! We were told it couldn’t be fixed!”

“No, it wasn’t that bad; I just had to use the lag…(words that I don’t understand but made me further think this man was both an angel and a genius)…and it is only $106.”

$106. $106! For those of you still following this long, detailed tale, you get that this is quite a bit cheaper than $1500. Quite a bit cheaper.

The kind of cheaper that challenges your commitment to doom and gloom. The kind of cheaper shakes you awake to hope even when things have been feeling very grim. Even when you’ve had the most frustrating morning in the world and will never again shower in your life.

The kind of cheaper that reminds you that after every Monday there is a Tuesday.

The Tuesday may not come right after Monday, but it is there. It is coming. There is always another side to the Monday.

 

First image credit: image ID:1323317, copyright:cookelma

Second image credit: image ID:1831863, copyright:ponytail1414

 

Mar 132015
 

Being shy as a kid is no fun. Use these tips and tricks to help your child skillfully navigate the social scene--you'll be glad you checked here!I acutely remember being painful shy as a child; it wasn’t fun. Any other shy gals out there? If so, you know what mean. 

If I could to help my own kids have a smoother time making friends and navigating the social scene, that would be such a blessing. So when Patricia Evans of the Huffington Post UK Blog asked if she could share her excellent article about easing friendship-making with shy kids, I was delighted! Please welcome her below and read on for some wonderful information and tips about helping your kids break out of their shells.

And make sure to follow along with Patricia on Twitter too for more of her savvy insight!

 

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Being shy as a kid is no fun. Use these tips and tricks to help your child skillfully navigate the social scene--you'll be glad you checked here!

Photo by Jill Encarnacion via Flickr

Why do some kids get shy and others are extremely outgoing? Before we get into this, let’s figure out what being shy really means. Children who are considered shy are usually those who are highly sensitive and strongly affected by their environment. Some kids are introverted, it’s not that they don’t want to get along with others; they just need to take the time away from people to restore their energy. Others are much more interested with their own project and ideas that they would rather play alone than interact with other kids. All of these types of shyness have a common factor – they very much wanted to connect socially but feel awkward and anxious in doing so.

When a kid is not participating and is having a hard time in making friends, parents immediately think that their kid needs to get help in overcoming his shyness. Being shy is not a problem; it’s a personality trait that many people don’t understand. They believe that when a child is shy, he is probably suffering from poor self-image. While this is not often true, we still want our children to go out there and make friends. So what’s the best way in supporting your child to respond socially?

Being shy as a kid is no fun. Use these tips and tricks to help your child skillfully navigate the social scene--you'll be glad you checked here!

Photo by Aka Hige via Flickr

Observe How He Reacts In Every Environment

Before making any move, observe your child first and see if he acts this way in every situation, at all times. Does he get excited in joining the soccer team but gets quiet and hesitant when he arrived at the first practice? Does he want to join a group of kids playing at the school playground but quietly walks away because he doesn’t know how to approach them? He may be active and expressive at home and with his close friends but doesn’t feel good in approaching new kids.

Let Him Express His Thoughts

Talking is a recommended stance of collaboration. Asking him his concerns and seeking solutions together could be a great start. Don’t just ask how his day went. Usually, some kids feel that telling their parents about their day felt more like an obligation than a sincere question. He can differentiate if you’re just hearing the words that come out of his mouth or if you’re really listening to him. Let him build his trust on you. Let him feel that you will listen to him no matter what he says.

Being shy as a kid is no fun. Use these tips and tricks to help your child skillfully navigate the social scene--you'll be glad you checked here!

Photo by BK via Flickr

Be Clear With The Don’ts and Can’ts

Maybe the reason why he’s not getting out there is because he’s hearing too much negative words from you.

“You can’t go.” “Don’t do that.”

Hearing these negative words can limit your child because he fears of rejection and disapproval. Even if you are pertaining to his older brother or sister in that matter, he might think that you won’t allow him when he asks for your permission. Make it clear to every member of the family what is allowed and what is not in the household. Set rules and boundaries to avoid conflict and confusion.

Play Early

School Family’s Patti Ghezzi mentioned common characteristics in a child’s social growth at each grade level. At kindergarten a child might consider everyone as friend but when he reaches 3rd grade, he’s becoming more selective in choosing friends and shares less about his social life.

As early as possible, structure your child’s schedule. Make sure to allot ample amount of time in play and social activities. Get him involved in school activities and play dates. Psychotherapist Tammy Gold advises parents that helping kids bond can be done without making them feel that a friendship is being forced. By letting your kids get outdoors in a local playground or inviting other kids from school in a sleepover or picnic will do.

Being shy as a kid is no fun. Use these tips and tricks to help your child skillfully navigate the social scene--you'll be glad you checked here!

Photo by Marcus Kwan via Flickr

Technology Limits Participation

One common reason why kids get shy is due to the overuse of technology. TV and computer plays a big factor why kids become socially awkward. PlaygroundEquipment.com revealed that 40% of kids prefer TV and computer over outdoor play. Failing to engage in physical activities can lead to weight gain, speech impediment, and lack of social interaction. As a parent, you have to ensure that your kid gets generous amount of outdoor play over TV and computer games.

Motivate Him By Starting Small

If you feel that he is not yet ready in making friends with a bunch of kids at once, let him start with one friend that he can rely on. If he’s in a situation where he feels shy, help him overcome his fears by reminding him that it’s okay to take a while in warming up in a new situation or by citing previous events where he has overcome his shyness. For instance, telling him about that last birthday party where he held your hand all throughout the games but ended up having lots of fun with other kids can be a great motivation.

Being shy as a kid is no fun. Use these tips and tricks to help your child skillfully navigate the social scene--you'll be glad you checked here!

Photo by Anna Levinzon via Flickr

Team Up With Fellow Parents

Parents often drive the connection in introducing kids to another child. Making friends with a fellow parent in the community can be of big help to you and your child. The other parent might be struggling with the same hurdle and you can help each other out by exchanging solutions or by making your kids get together on a play date. Building a positive relationship with another parent can set an example to your kid in doing the same.

Role Play

More often than not, kids tend to get shy because he or she doesn’t know what to say or what to do when confronted by the situation. Sometimes, it is okay to feed him with words that can help him open up in situations. “I like ___ because ___. Can I help you ____?” is a great opening sentence to rehearse with your kids, says Julia Simens, author of Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child.

Being shy as a kid is no fun. Use these tips and tricks to help your child skillfully navigate the social scene--you'll be glad you checked here!

Photo by Phil Dragash via Flickr

Exercise this sentence with your kid using different situations. Your child could say, “I like your truck because it can turn into a robot. Can I help you assemble the rest?” He will be less likely to be turned down by other kids when he is positive and specific.

Shake It Off

Remember, being shy is okay. Every child is unique in his own way and being shy might also be a part of his unique trait. Most people see shyness as a disadvantage especially in social situations where an outgoing child excels more. The shy child on the other hand feels anxious and isolated due to the treatment that he might be receiving.

Social contact is one of the most important human needs that can impact our emotional and physical health in every stage of our lives. Though kids can learn to manage social anxiety, speak up for themselves, and connect happily with others at some point, they still need a little extra support from their parents in helping them become more socially comfortable.

 

First image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:17214739, copyright:ababaka

 

 

Mar 112015
 

Yes! Could we not just always have this be a thing? May the magical relief of pain medication be yours with this, friends!I won’t lie. I had no idea what FOMO meant. I am that un-hip. After checking in with Urban Dictionary (yes, yes  I really do refer to this on a frequent basis. Mostly because my younger friends got sick of me asking what stuff meant), I totally fell for this acronym: Fear of Missing Out.

This is me!

Like, basically my entire experience on this earth. Because when I am not busy doing and being all that I can be, I am fussing over whether I can and should be doing more. Forget that this is a self-punishing vantage point, and recognize the truth that we all want to be all that we can–especially when it comes to our kids.

The worst part of being sick for me? Hands-down is still trying to be there for my kids despite feeling like crap. The thing is, the preschool parties, Kindergarten book fairs and pee-wee soccer games don’t quit. Ever. But sometimes my health does.

This is a recent picture of how awesome I felt in these winter months. Clearly, winter was winning.

I felt HORRIBLE in this pic and was so sick of being down and out of it! Happy to take anything I can not to get back to this yucky place!

This is where the remedies roll in. Recently, hellbent on not letting a sinus infection slow me down, I tried it all. Neti-pot, essential oilshumidifiers–and it helped, but didn’t totally resolve. So I gave in and decided to trust modern medicine: I went to the doctor. And do you know what she prescribed? An antibiotic and taking SUDAFED®! She strongly supported it’s capacity to dry out my sinuses and keep them clean, thus preventing exacerbation of infection.

Huh. My mother was a strong proponent of SUDAFED® for years; maybe she knew what she was talking about?? Go figure. Who knew my mom knew anything.

Yes! Could we not just always have this be a thing? May the magical relief of pain medication be yours with this, friends!

But the thing is, we moms are human. So we get sick. But we don’t want to miss the stuff in our kids’ lives (=FOMO), so we need help. Enter SUDAFED®. It helps us put those nasty sinus symptoms at bay so we can keep up our most important gig as Mom. Sinus congestion, pain and pressure can take a back seat as relief takes over.

In the past year, this is one of the most gorgeous Mom moments I had. I can’t imagine missing this because I was too under-the-weather. Truth told, I don’t want to miss a single one of these moments.

Such a gorgeous moment of childhood! And so thankful that, because of this solution, I don't have to miss a single one of these childhood memories!

With SUDAFED®, we don’t have to have FOMO because we can continue to be there for our kids.

And that is a sweet, sweet thing. Bring on the SUDAFED®, friends, this Mom of the Year is going in & keeping those sinuses clear so she doesn’t have to miss a single thing.

FOMO? No such thing around these parts.

Yes! Could we not just always have this be a thing? May the magical relief of pain medication be yours with this, friends!

 For more smart tips to staying free from FOMO, tune in to SUDAFED® on Facebook for all the latest!

*****Thanks to SUDAFED® for sponsoring today’s discussion!*****

Feb 272015
 

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!My favorite day of the week! The hope, the promise, (albeit the very unlikely) dream that there will be a minute of relaxation or a snoozle of extra sleep hiding somewhere in the corners of your weekend…it could happen. Keep the fantasy alive, fellow warriors.

A few months ago, I started having a teensy celebration on my social media every Friday to recognize the day. I’m not sure anyone else is that into it, but it makes me giggle, so I’m keeping the weekly fun rolling.

Follow along with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to check out the latest Friday laughs. And please share any of your own ideas for how you revel-it-up come the end of the week!

For now, smile the it’s the week is over, and go bold with a true wild mom-style move. Inspiration below!

 

 

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

 Happy Friday, friends! Go enjoy!

Feb 252015
 

Visiting the Crayola Experience was the perfect way to encourage my kids creative efforts and explore the delights of crayons, markers and other art-supplies! I loved the DIY fun and this was the perfect diversion for my active kids--read on to find out the can't-miss highlights!Every once in a while, I decide to be That Mom. You know, the mom who does something really cool with her kids.

It all started with an episode of our beloved Daniel Tiger. When the crew took a trek to “the crayon factory”, my children began a vivid love affair with the notion of making a visit to The Crayola Experience and have never looked back. That was two years ago.

We first visited over a year ago, and my kids were so enamored they’ve been begging to go back since. It wasn’t a hard sell, as I have very fond memories of going myself as a child with my grandparents. And while the design of the crayon box may have changed, the fact that it is an awesome thing to do with kids has not.

Throw in the fact that I might totally lose my crap if I hear the tinny tune of an electronic toy one more time while hibernating down in these arctic temps, and a chance to get out and let my kids loose on some creative play sounded beyond sweet. My husband was in for taking off so we could make a day of it, and The Crayola Experience was on!

There are crayons and markers to make, Model Magic to shape, molds to melt crayons in, colorful wax to draw with, and an entire floor dedicated to craft-making. With the live factory demonstration (we saw it twice and my kids would have happily sat through the interactive show a zillion times more) and the two-story high gynasium for kids to run wild in (a separate smaller structure for toddlers is available too), we had found the perfect cure for winter blehs.

Visiting the Crayola Experience was the perfect way to encourage my kids creative efforts and explore the delights of crayons, markers and other art-supplies! I loved the DIY fun and this was the perfect diversion for my active kids--read on to find out the can't-miss highlights!

They had so much fun. The Art Alive! section left their mouths gaping; kids create digital works to be displayed on an interactive big screen–their work was being broadcast! And Doodle in the Dark lead to endless giggles. As they interacted with animated crayons and played with an interactive floor screen, I did the unthinkable: I sat down on a bench in contented relaxation and said to my husband “They will sleep so well tonight.” Bliss.

And since I’m sucker and we only do adventurous things as a family once in forever, the kids were each allowed to pick one special treat from the gift shop. Truth told, I love the gift shop: it is chock full of nifty gift ideas for creative play with lots of products you can’t find in stores. Also true? I am thrilled with my kids’ picks. The umbrella my daughter chose was perfect (I’ve wanted one for her for forever for rainy preschool drop-offs and pick-ups), and I can’t tell you how many fascinated minutes my son’s marker-maker has filled. And we’ve only made half of the markers in the kit, so lots more fun to come!

Visiting the Crayola Experience was the perfect way to encourage my kids creative efforts and explore the delights of crayons, markers and other art-supplies! I loved the DIY fun and this was the perfect diversion for my active kids--read on to find out the can't-miss highlights!

Our visit to The Crayola Experience was fantastic. We made, we created, we got tons of artwork to bring home, and a boatload of fun memories were made. And then we got in the car, and my son’s first words were, “Mommy, can we go back to the crayon factory?” I think they had a good time?

Good news for you, friends? The Crayola Experience is offering an exclusive discount to my readers. To get this sweet discount, go HERE and enter code “Mom of the Year”.

Trust me, a trip to Easton is worth it. The kids will have a blast, creative genius will be sparked, and really, they will sleep like angels all night after you get home. Perfect fun for kids and parents ;)

Go get your Crayola on!

****Thank you to The Crayola Experience for providing my family with tickets to their attraction; our delight in our visit is 100% genuine!****

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