Monthly Archives: December 2013

Pause Play – Love Your Kids

We got some snow, as a lot of people have, and of course the kids want to play in it. Well, our sledding attempts in the backyard weren’t so great the first day. It was too fluffy. Plus, not enough to use some cool new sleds from the grandparents. Well, the next day, turned out to be perfect.

With a little freezing rain frozen on top, the conditions at the local school hill turned out perfect. The kids and I had a blast sledding and racing down the hill. Who would win, who would topple over, who would crash? It was a lot of fun. We were on a roll as up and down the hill we went. We laughed together at the thrill of zipping down.

But then, pause play.

My oldest son stopped me at the top of the hill before we went down again and said, “Mommy, how does the sky do that?” I looked up and was amazed by what he had paused to notice. It looked something like the picture below.

I explained that the sky is cloud covered and where there is a hole the sun can shine through. I’m sure you’ve seen that before. It is always beautiful. We looked at it for a few seconds, sharing a moment, and then he zipped down the hill without another thought out loud.

But I wonder if he wonders the same things I do. Is it an opening for heaven’s angels to peek down at us? Is it an opening for us to notice and remember the grand things that only God can do? Is it a reminder to pause play and acknowledge the small things in life? Morning comes quickly. Pause play in your day and notice those small things that are all around you. And don’t forget to love your kids!

Lollipops or Lolliblobs?

So, I came across another project that looked so cute. I’ve seen this project floating around in several places in internet world but I wondered, “Will it work”? I originally saw these on The Prudent Homemaker on her list of things to do this month. Her link takes you to the recipe for homemade lollipops here. Aren’t they nice looking? I was pretty sure my kids would like them and my husband. They never pass up a lollipop.

I already had all the supplies I needed, except for the actual sticks. I decided to use pretzel sticks because a little salty with some sweet can be a good thing. I felt so clever 🙂

I followed all the directions, even dug out my thermometer and got everything set up. I mixed together the sugar, corn syrup and water and turned it on. Beautiful as it boiled and it got hotter. It was supposed to get to 310 degrees. When it reached that, I got ready to pour. I poured about 8 of them. Put the pot down and quickly put a pretzel stick in the candy. It was hardening fast. This is going to work, I was getting excited!

By the last one the sugar was almost hard. I hurried and was dumb and tried to push down some of the candy with a finger. Yeeowwwww! It was hot, burning, on my finger, so what do I do? I put it in my mouth. Aaaaaaaaa! Hot! I grab a towel and turn on the water and run my finger under water. Remember, the temperature of this stuff was 310 degrees. Stupid me. Ok, no damage. But, I did get a query  from the kids in the other room asking if I was alright. That was nice.

So, I grab the pot to do the rest, but it had hardened up. Ugh, I reheat and go to try again. I realize I cannot do this alone. I yell for my oldest son and he comes in, sees what is already on the tray and is excited. I give him strict instructions about what he is to do. I pour, he puts in the pretzel stick and puts toppings on. No touching the sugar! He is psyched and  comes up with the brilliant idea to put the pretzel stick down first then pour over so we can move faster.

We are ready to go.  I reheat the stuff again and we are ready to go. Sooooo much easier with a great helper and we get them done.

There is still a little stuff left in the pan. It hardens in the pan while my son and I admired our handiwork. So, I called my Mom for some pot cleaning advice. I boiled a big pot of water and put the candy pot in until it melted again. I did manage to get the pan clean.

Finally, we sampled them and they were good. Really sweet. The pretzel sticks worked well. Mine weren’t perfect circles, but we got some fun shapes. Lolliblobs taste the same as regular lollipops.

My husband did sustain an injury while eating one of these lollipops. There was a sharp piece of crushed candy cane in one and it poked his mouth and cut it. So, be careful. If I make these again, I will definitely have help on hand, have plenty of trays set up so I don’t have to reheat, and maybe try to find a pot with a pouring spout. Good luck if you try!


Monogram Mint Wreath

So, I was looking for something new for my front door decorations and came across this peppermint monogram wreath here. And I thought, “will it work?”. It is pretty, different, and not your typical Christmas wreath.

I gathered my supplies, the mints, red hots, glue gun, and an empty  box. I like to use what I have on hand and not make a hundred trips to the store, hence the box.

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My daughter was my helper and we started by opening all the mints and setting them up in the H shape to see if we had enough mints. Yup, one bag was good. After cutting out the H from the cardboard, we went all out and painted it as suggested in the original directions.

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Next step was gluing the mints on. Oops, ran into a little problem, the last two won’t fit. Ugh. We were able to pull a few mints off and squeeze them on. However, the mints were no longer perfectly aligned. I would suggest if you do this, to do a cross section of the letter first and work your way out.

Ok, no big deal, time for the red hots. Hmmm, these are kind of small and fell in between the mints. So, we just piled up the glue and it worked fine.

Glued on some ribbon and attempted a bow and it was ready to go. Definitely not the perfection of the original, but I was pleased and the kids thought it looked great.

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This should be the end of the post, but sadly no. I have a storm door over the front door and a couple days later my husband goes, “What happened to the wreath?”.  I asked if he had licked it. He said no.

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Looks like it melted. Shucks, I hadn’t thought of that happening. Went back to the original site and read farther into the comments and saw where people had put worries about melting and ants and she suggested some sort of spray. Well, I’m not that ambitious. I think I’ll find another spot for it outside and just put up a wreath from the basement. Good luck if you try it!

Easy to Make Ninja Nunchucks

I never knew these would be in my future. But as a Mom with boys going through a Ninja phase that has lasted months, I guess it had to come. When one of my boys asked for some nunchucks, I knew it was time to step up to the plate and see what we could do.

A few weeks ago my youngest son had made some nunchucks out of paper. They didn’t last too long, as the yarn pulled right through the end. But it was a good try. So this time, I thought fast and this is what we came up with.

You need yarn, a drill, and two pill bottles like this:

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Use the drill to make a tiny hole in the center of the cap. I tried it by hammering a nail and knew it would crack. Guess what, it did. So, use the drill!

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Next, pull string through both caps and tie a couple of knots on the underside so it can’t be pulled through.

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Put both lids on and there you go.

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A little warning: make sure your kids don’t hit with these, it will hurt. Just let them hi-ya through the air.

Go have some fun little ninjas!

Love Your Kids Series Wrap Up…For Now

Love Your Kids

The Love Your Kids Series is wrapping up for now after 30 days. Loving your kids isn’t really something that has a true starting and ending point. You probably loved your children before they were even born, when you were just dreaming about being a Mom or Dad. You have that much love to give. Loving your children isn’t going to end.

Each day that I wrote, I wanted it to be encouragement for you to pause and see how wonderful, fantastic, and easy it is to love your children doing life every day. There are opportunities all around you which are a moment to let your child know you love them. Moments that can only happen between a parent and a child. No one else can have same feeling of love.

But in all honesty, I want to just share that I have failed at some point with all of these ways to love my children.  I am not meeting my love expectations for my children as a Mom. I want to be present and not miss or forget or mess up. So, I looked back over the list and here is the truth. Sometimes…

Day 1 – I don’t discipline fairly

Day 2 – I don’t give my kids enough responsibility because it is hard to let them grow up

Day 3 – I don’t want their help because I just want to get it done

Day 4 – I am thinking of something else and not truly there

Day 5 – I don’t want to play

Day 6 – I tell them to get over it, there’s no blood or bones

Day 7 – I don’t feel like I say yes enough

Day 8 – I fall into the trap of “everybody’s a winner” there is no first place

Day 9 – I don’t pay fairly

Day 10 – I know they just want something new

Day 11 – I let them overdose on tech time

Day 12 – I get frustrated because they gobble it up in five seconds

Day 13 – I think G or PG has really changed and maybe they shouldn’t watch stuff

Day 14 – I know ahead of time the surprise will be a let down but still go

Day 15 – I forget water and it is hot

Day 16 – I don’t hug enough

Day 17 – I wipe their face off first

Day 18 – I don’t use the secret sign and publicly display my love for them

Day 19 – I wish we didn’t have to cram into one room

Day 20 – I forget to pack snacks and won’t buy something

Day 21 – I don’t pull them through the snow because I am already tired

Day 22 – I forget that things I can do and take for granted are really big deals to a kid

Day 23 – I throw away things because I just don’t have physical room to keep everything

Day 24 – I make them eat a banana even when it’s the only fruit we’ve had for weeks

Day 25 – I think their table manners are horrible, why can’t they just sit

Day 26 – I don’t let them do this because I want to talk with them

Day 27 – I’m tired of making things that will be forgotten in an hour

Day 28 – I make suggestions to be better

Day 29 – I don’t do this enough

Day 30 – I just watch instead of joining in

I’m pretty sure none of this makes me a bad mom, just a real mom. Likewise if you looked over the list of how you love your children you would probably think you fall short. But my guess is we don’t fall short in our kids’ eyes. I think they see through rose-colored lenses and we are superheroes in their eyes. I believe, in the end, all the memories will mesh and melt together to where there are just a few that stand out. And those memories will be good and bad, but they will be yours to share. So to end this series for now, love your children with a love that is greater than the grains of sand on the beach.

Thank you for reading. Go and love your children.

Love Your Kids – Day 30

Love Your Children and be a Kid Too

Close your eyes and picture what pure joy is on your child’s face. Imagine being able to capture that and actually be a part of it. As a parent you can be and are a part of that joy. Today, I am recommending that you be a kid too.

We go to the park pretty regularly in good weather and there are two things which bring that pure joy expression to my kids’ faces. The swings and the slides are go to playground equipment. Regular swings require good pushes. This is followed by shouts of “Higher, higher!” and “Again, again!”. Do you ever get them going and then jump on the swing beside them and try to swing in tandem? What fun this is! Had you forgotten? I know I have. The tire swing requires a big push and then some spinning. Yell, “Hang on tight!” and then jump on with them. Run over to the slide, climb up behind your child, and then “Wheeeee!” on the way down with them.

Your face is probably a little flushed, but the shared joy in having fun makes it seem like you are almost a kid too. Your child is going to remember you pushing them, swinging with them, and sliding down behind them. What a memory for both of you. So, love your children and be a kid too sometimes. Find your child’s pure joy moment and be a part of it. What fun!

Love Your Kids – Day 29

Love Your Children and Ask Them to Forgive You

I’ve mentioned before that it is hard work being a parent. It’s not a clock in and out sort of job. It’s an all the time, even when you’re doing something else, kind of job. And sometimes, somebody does something that makes you cranky. This could happen at work, in the store, while you’re driving, or even at home. That crankiness can come through as we talk to the ones we love.

So, you need to be ready to say, “I’m sorry” and ask for forgiveness from your kids. Because at some point you are going to take that cranky, which was caused by someone else, and it is going to alter your judgment of something going on with your kids. I’ve been there and if you think about it, you probably have been too. I’m ashamed when I take that crank out on my kids and yell at them and I know I’m doing it. It still happens. I try to be aware in the moment so it doesn’t happen and I’m learning.

I’ve learned to ask forgiveness from my children and to say I’m sorry. I don’t give them details of what turned me into a crank. Instead, I tell them I was wrong and apologize and tell them I love them. Not once have they said, “Whatever, I don’t forgive you”. No, they wrap me in their arms, give me a hug and kiss, and tell me they love me too. I don’t want their memories of me to be those of me yelling out of poor judgment. I’m imperfect and it’s going to happen and it will happen to you. Love your children and ask them to forgive you and then wrap them in your arms and hold on tight.

Love Your Kids – Day 28

Love Your Children and Enjoy the Show

Have you ever wondered what a tiny baby is thinking while you smile and talk to him? I certainly have. Now that my children are older I don’t have to wonder so much because they will just tell us. But when their minds are racing, sometimes I still wonder.

Over the weekend my kids wanted to make some money. They decided to sell their stuff to each other. This turned out to be a fairly fun activity once I got them just to charge pennies. They came up with little jingles to try to get each other to their store. This turned into my youngest son deciding to have a show. He was so excited as he practiced his songs and got his stage ready. Then, he even wrote up tickets for us and hollered when it was show time. This was a lot of fun for both of us. He sang his songs, danced a little, and even came down into the crowd to high-five us!

The point is, I got to cheer and applaud for my son as he did something he thought was fun. I got to enjoy the show. It was his imagination, talent, and personality running wild through his performance. I didn’t have to wonder what he was thinking, I knew. He was a rock star…he was MY rock star. Your kids are your rock stars whether they are performing a show from their bed stage or reading you their first book. Love your children and enjoy the show, whatever that may be, and cheer them on!

Love Your Kids – Day 27

Love Your Children and Make Things with Them

If you have been reading along, a few days back I wrote about re-using things around the house to make things. Sometimes my kids come to me with a definite idea of what they want to make. The only thing is, they can’t do it all on their own. Here is your job as a parent: help them.

Cutting through cardboard is tricky, so help with that step. Tying knots in a bracelet is hard, help them. If they are having trouble spelling words, help them. Two Legos stuck together, help get them apart. Your help in making things with them might only be one step. But that one step can get them one step closer towards their completed project. I’ll admit, they will pick the most inopportune times to ask for help. You just have to breathe, pause what you are doing and help.

I think that making things together encourages your children to use their imagination. You can offer helpful hints if they are stuck and they can take an idea and run with it. This teamwork is a skill your kids will use at school, in sports, at work. Do you realize all the little life lessons that come up in daily living? I know I don’t realize how I helped my kids learn something until I’m looking back wondering where they learned how to do something. It just happens. Today, love your children and when they need help making something, help them.