Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Tag
I invite you to read my post from last Halloween as I celebrate my one year in blogging!
This Halloween spend some special time with the little one. Here’s some ideas on how to make your holiday a little more fun!
1. Carve some pumpkins
I have listed some links below that have free pumpkin carving templates. Just practice safe knife skills while watching little fingers! Also tips on toasting the seeds are also available online. This teaches resourcefulness to kids and gives you a treat to eat!
2. Decorate some mini “pumpkins”
Here’s a simple trick if carving is not possible. A visit to the grocery store then the fabric shop for a few ribbons …
a little glue and you have your decorations (which will keep til Thanksgiving!)
33. Let them help you decorate a table
See this quick and easy tablescape above using the same cute “pumpkins” and some hurricane globes with pins to hold in place. These items can easily be found at many local craft store!
4. Go candy shopping
Find some coupons for Halloween candy in your local paper (lots of them this time of year) and look at the store ads… like Walgreens, CVS, Rite-Aid. Then match them to your coupons for the most bang for your buck! Let the kids help scout for the bargains. You have to buy candy if you are going to participate in “Trick or Treat” so you might as well make it a fun experience while saving money and teaching the little ones to save too!
Whatever you do… have fun and be safe! These meaningful times together will never be recreated so please spend it wisely!
Some articles I like!
“Attitude”… No! “At-TWO-tude”
On living with a two-year-old…. “Gee Gee…. dolly, wankie, piggie!” she said this morning. “Okay Marissa, you carry them downstairs and I will carry you” I replied. “No Gee Gee!” as she layed on the floor in defiance. I stood at the top of the stairs waiting for Marissa to comply with my request. And I waited! And I waited! Then the threats started… “One….Two….Three” (to which she replied “four”. Then I said “Do you want to go to timeout?”…. That was the only thing that seemed to have any influence on her….. At-TWO-tude I tell you!
Funny how time heals the jagged memories of such things. About 29 years ago I had a two-year-old. My now 31 year old daughter has my two and a half year old granddaughter. I will admit that being a grandmother is very different than I thought it would be… in a good way. I have this amazing connection to her and now “get” the whole “GRAND”child thing that all my friends would talk about- make that RAVE about. I suppose the independence that she is showing which creates this whole “at-TWO-tude” should be celebrated. It means that she is thinking for herself and trying to make some of the little life decisions. I will celebrate that and remind myself that they grow up far too soon and the “at-TWO-tude” that she displays today will quickly get better as she learns to navigate this life… And I will be helping her to pack for college next week, or so it will seem!
What can you do for free with your kids this weekend?
Now that Fall is here you might be looking for a way to spend some quaility time with the kiddos… but since it’s the end of the month (and the month ALWAYS seems to last longer than the money) I thought you might enjoy knowing about some free things to do together!
1. Build something with your kid!
This Saturday (9/24) take the kids to Lowe’s! No they aren’t paying me to say this…. 😉 They are offering a free “Build and Grow” workshop where your kids can build a firetruck! All supplies are free and kids get an apron, goggles and a completion patch at the end of the workshop… only catch… you have to register! So go HERE and get them on the list for this fabulous free even!
(If you miss this week… check the schedule at your local store! They offer these free events almost every month! Other home centers do as well….)
2. Take a walk!
A walk is free and priceless at the same time. It is a perfect time to walk and pick up beautiful leaves which could open up all types of topics. You might ask (unless they ask first) “How do the leaves turn all these colors?” or “Can you name the colors you see?” My daughter used to love to collect leaves in the fall and we would press them between wax paper to preserve them. She is 30 now and I swear I believe I STILL have some of those leaves!
3. Teach your kids to use a camera!
I recently heard of an idea where your child is asked to find something to photograph that begins with the letter A, B … and so on. If this idea initiates a conversation then I say give it a try. Otherwise, with todays digital technology… they might just like to go out and take pictures of things that they like. Again you might be amazed at what they find interesting and you might just have a budding photographer on your hands!
4. Let’s have a cooking lesson!
Photo Credit: http://cooking724.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/kids-cooking/
Pick one fall treat that you enjoyed as a kid (mine is homemade popcorn balls….yummy) and teach your kids to make it. Or let them suggest something that they want to learn how to make. You may be surprised at how creative they can be!
5. Involve them in your football watching!
Whether it be your favorite college team on Saturday or your NFL Fav on Sunday… let the little ones get involved too! This is a great time to answer questions about sportsmanship and how to be a team player. Please remember to be patient and watch the explatives … they are little carbon copies of you!
6. Teach them one thing that you learned from your Grandparent!
Photo Credit: http://www.lilsugar.com/Family-Ties-What-Call-Grandparents-1134034
In my most recent blog post I wrote about my Grandmama Bessie (https://dsgnmomonline.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/on-being-a-mother-and-even-better-a-grandmother/). She taught me some amazing “lost arts” like sewing and cooking. What type of things did you Grandparents teach you? How to whittle? Make a bird house? Master the yo-yo?
7. If you blog, ask each of them to write a guest post
If they aren’t old enough ask them to draw a picture which you can feature on your “guest blogger’s” day! This will bring them such joy to be “published” and who knows what budding writers we have hidden in our own families!
8. Storytime at your local bookstore!
Check out the scheduled free storytimes at your local bookstore. Doesn’t cost a thing and they may just fall in love with reading!
9. Check your local museums for their “free” day!
We are so fortunate in Memphis to have an array of fabulous Museums available and many of them have free or greatly reduced days for kids! So while you may not have the Cotton Museum (shown above), the Civil Rights Museum or even the home of Elvis in your city… There are wonderful museums everywhere just waiting for you and the kids to explore! *Ask them about a yearly family pass to save money all year long.
10. Google your city then go explore a site that you have not visited yet!
Find out what untapped resources you have in your city. In Memphis we have trolleys to ride and Beale Street to see. Do some digging on the computer and see what your city has that could be fun for a free fall afternoon!
11. Farmer’s Market exploration!
Photo Credit: http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/836245/things-your-kids-can-learn-at-the-farmers-market
The Farmer’s Market is a wonderful place to share your knowledge of different types of fruits and veggies. How many vegetables can they find? Make a game of trying to fill in the blank A-Z. Then let them pick one vegetable that looks interesting to them that they have never tried. Who knows, maybe their involvement will make them more interesting in eating it.
12. Check out your local “Kids eat FREE or CHEAP” for Saturday and Sunday
In Memphis the following restaurants offer cool deals for kids and parents on weekends!
Texas Roadhouse, Piccadilly Cafeteria, Firehouse Subs… just to make a few! Check out your local area online to see what you are missing!
Please remember that the meaningful conversations… the ones that lead to stories and lessons of life… often come from the small quiet times that we spend with our kids one-on-one! Doesn’t have to be an elaborate day out or an expensive event… just you and them sharing life and making lasting memories!
I read and enjoyed this quote recently:
“Being a mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my
field, since the payment is pure love.”
~Mildred B. Vermont
It’s fitting that I write about my only child’s only child on the occasion of her second birthday!
Honestly… before I became a Grandmother, I thought “What is the BIG deal?” When my friends who had become grandparents prior to me would go on… and on… and ON about their kid’s kids… again I would say “What is the BIG deal?” (if only to myself!). I now know what the big deal is. It is joy at it simplest. It is unmeasurable happiness. It is a vulnerable love that opens your heart and reminds you of the sweetest memories that are tucked way back in your mind… twenty… thirty years old or more.
When Marissa was first born I would sit and hold her, looking deep into those beautiful brown eyes. One day I just began to weep as I held her. The love overflowed and came out in the form of tears… guessing it had to go somewhere! This immense love washed over me and I felt that I truly “got it” that day.
I remember the beautiful connection I had with my Grandmama. Having lost her some 28 years ago at age 27 I should have to dig deeply to pull up the memories of my times with her… but I do not have to dig at all. They are here on the surface of my soul. I was lucky enough to spend many summers with her in her small rural town…even though we lived about 400 miles away in a big city. She taught me the lost arts of quilting, cross-stitch, and crocheting. We made clothes from the left over Pajama Factory remnants that she inherited from a close friend. She taught me to cook, bake and canning. I learned when and how to pick beans and other vegetables from their small but bountiful garden. I had cold biscuits and gravy (cold by my choice) which my Grandmama had made from scratch every morning at about 4 am prior to my Grandaddy’s departure to work as a carpenter. She let me sleep until I wanted to get up which as I recall was typically about 9 am. My memory of bedtime is amusing. Since my grandparents arose so early… they would literally “go to bed with the chickens”! So before the sunset had time to sink into the night… I was expected to be asleep. What? It’s light out…. I’m 12! Nobody I know goes to bed that early! So I chuckle as I re-live the memories of TRYING to go to sleep before 8 pm.
Grandmama Bessie –
She would say “If it don’t love… don’t make it eat it” (we -the grandchildren- were the “it” she was refering to… so spoiled WE WERE!)
The tight bond between Grandparent and Grandchild. Is it because the years of parenting make us more grateful for the little things? I know that since I have become a grandmother, a “Gigi” to be exact, I have enjoyed precious moments with my granddaughter… as if I really didn’t know how to enjoy them the first time around as a Mom. I guess God gave me a “do-over”. I think I did pretty good the first time… kind of like taking a class and getting a “C+” or maybe a “B-” the first time around… then re-taking the class like 25 years later and getting an “A+”. Funny how a little life under your belt helps your perspective. Maybe realistically I have a Degree in Mothering and a Masters in Life 101. That is the “it” that I needed to get to…
So I hope when Marissa Gray turns 25 she will be blogging (or who know WHAT they will be doing by then!) about her crazy “Gigi” who she has shared many countless wonderful fun filled days with and from whom she has learned much. I hope that I can impart some of my wisdom in her so that maybe her road to happiness will have less bumps and more downhill coasts! One Gigi can only hope.
I love you Marissa. Happy Birthday angel. And to my daughter Alissa, I love you and thank you for giving me this precious gift. Being a “Gigi” fits me JUST RIGHT!
My new friend who is a blogger, husband and 31-year-old father, T.J. Brown, has written a post recently entitled “The Sad Story of My Creation” http://thomasjohnbrown.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/the-sad-story-of-my-creation/. I was heartbroken for him as he told of his parents decision to have him and then tell him (his whole life) that he was a “mistake”! I was so appalled by this that I was compelled to comment on his post and that has resulted in the development of a sincere friendship. My respect for him is enormous as he works through the pain that this has caused him to this day. He blogs to air his feelings and “get it out”. This is a brave journey that T.J. has accepted and I am very thankful that our paths have crossed. His very supportive wife, Amber, comments on his every post and I can tell that there is much love and support for him through their relationship.
We as parents have an IMMENSE effect on our children and the kind of adults they will be! Words are weapons. Words are powerful especially being uttered by one’s own parent. The harsh words of “you were a mistake” can only serve to debilitate a child from developing in any sort of normal way! Why would a parent want that for their child? As I said in my response to him (in part): “I am so appalled that parents could describe a child’s creation as a “mistake”. Honestly adults need to own up to their actions and stop the blame game… it was not the car load of people (regardless of race) or the missed birth control which is at fault here. The truth is, it seems, that your parents chose to have “divorce sex” as you call it and created another precious human being. I believe that God allows the people that are suppose to be born to be conceived and are allowed to live. Each life has meaning and teaches us lessons as parents. Your attitude is commendable. Please keep believing that you are special and NOT a mistake. You have the touched my life with this post and that is no mistake!”
I went on to tell him about someone who I worked for many years ago. She was told by her parents that she should have been aborted! Just knowing that her parents wished that she had never been born affected her daily existence and made her a very bitter and angry individual. It seemed to me that she was always looking to hurt others the way she was hurt. I may not be a Psychologist but I am smart enough to know that what we say to our children is carried throughout our lives. Unless we go through the long and arduous process of “reprogramming those tapes” in our minds… that is what plays over and over…. and over!
My story is a different from T.J’s as daylight is from darkness! My parents were married 13 years before my birth. My oldest brother was born about 13 months into their marriage and then there were 11 years of unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant with a second child. Eleven long year of being told that she was barren and may never have another due to complications that arose during the difficult birth of my brother. Imagine the happiness that they felt as they were finally able to tell their 12-year-old son that he was FINALLY going to be a big brother! That May my mother attended a local festival featuring a beautiful Queen and her court riding the “Strawberry Festival” float (a very big event in 1955!). Someone on that float had the name “Janiece”, I assumed it was the Queen but have never been able to confirm. I was told that my mother said “Oh if I have a girl I’m going to name her “Janiece”. I never met the person for whom I was named but always wondered if I could someday tell her that story. I was born about 4 months later… I was 3 weeks early and my parents had to travel from a rural Tennessee county about 90 miles away from Memphis to get to the hospital. Because of her complications she had a special doctor. They made it in time… No two parents were ever more proud to welcome their new baby girl… after over a decade of waiting.
When I was 18 months old their Christian strength was tested. I became very ill and was admitted to the hospital. The doctors told them to prepare for the worse. They said they had done all they could and that it was in the Lord’s hands. My mother used to tell me of how they kneeled at the foot of my hospital crib and prayed that God would spare my life if it was “His will”.
I was one sick little girl but the antibiotics and fluids that they administered had given me the strength to pull out of the sickness. Iwas a fighter. Never gave up. My parents, both devout Christians, dedicated my life to the Lord then and there. I have scars in my forehead and my ankle that remind me of this story. As a huge happy surprise they welcomed another addition about a year later… my little brother! I have what I like to call a “brother sandwich”! 😉
MY BROTHER SANDWICH
(Left – Johnny, my oldest brother, me and my “baby” brother David – right)
Both my parents are no longer living but I can still hear my mother’s voice as she would recount how eternally grateful they both were that the Lord had spared my life. I always felt VERY special knowing that my parents desperately wanted me and then almost lost me…and then gratefully dedicated my life. They were wonderful examples of what a parent should be. I thank God daily that I had them in my life as shinning examples. And of course I miss them both terribly… Mom for 25 years and Dad only this year gone. You can read my memorial tribute to them here: https://dsgnmomonline.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/its-been-25-years-today-mom-i-still-miss-you/ and https://dsgnmomonline.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/holding-daddys-hand-forever/.
It occurred to me that the story of my creation could not be further from that of T.J. We had very different welcoming committees. Mine was very much like a ticker tape parade and his was vastly different. Yet be both ended up blogging and sharing. We ended up having our paths cross because of these differences. We ended up as friends. Thank you T.J. for your inspiration. I wish you all the best on your journey.
Photo credit: http://iamachild.wordpress.com/category/wilbur-lawrence/
Do you have an “Attitude of Gratitude”? I must say I really do try to have it everyday…some days I succeed and some days I fall short. After all, life has a way of beating you down. What I have found is that when you least expect it, you will be reminded that there is so much goodness to be thankful for! For example, I was researching my ideas for this post and I came across a photo that I wanted to use. It reminds me of how thankful I am for God’s gift of the beauty of nature.
It is a beautiful Fall scene with leaves blazing in color! As I clicked on it I found myself in a blog of poems. Then the music starts… it is a piano rendition of “How Great Thou Art”. Immediately my eyes filled with tears as I sang the words that I had memorized as a little girl as I listened to countless times that my Mother practiced that song. She was a gifted soprano soloist at her many church homes throughout her life. Her voice filled my head with the melody and the precious words to that song. Even though Mother has been gone from this earthly home for more than 25 years, (https://dsgnmomonline.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/its-been-25-years-today-mom-i-still-miss-you/) my memory helped me fill in the blanks and I found myself deep in the Attitude of Gratitude! Grateful for a Mother’s love. Grateful for the many years of patient child rearing that she devoted to our family. Grateful that she had that amazing voice and was willing to share it with her congregation. This left an emblazoned etch on my mind and my heart. “How Great Thou Art”. Indeed, “How Great Thou Art”.
There has been much written on this subject but most theories closely relate The Attitude of Gratitude to the Law of Attraction. Simply stated “whatever you think about the most, your dominate thoughts, have to manifest themselves into your life… good or bad”. I totally believe in this theory. I watch it happen daily in the lives of those around me as well as my own.
“You are a living magnet, you invariably attract into your life the people, situations and circumstances that are in harmony with your dominant thoughts.” Brian Tracy
I wanted to share with my readers something I witnessed a few days ago. As I was driving, there was a very young mother (maybe late teens) carrying twin boys across the street in busy traffic…not at the light or cross-walk… thru the traffic. The boys were twins, identical it seemed, and I would guess their age to be about 2 years old. I know full well what it’s like to carry a 2-year-old. My granddaughter is 2 and if you have carried a 2-year-old lately, you might sympathise with the chore that this young mother had at hand! It’s all she could do to keep them both in her arms and make it safely to the other side of the street. As she reached her destination, she had to put the toddlers down in the busy pharmacy parking lot. I really was frightened for her. I then noticed that she had dropped what looked like a lunch bag on the sidewalk…quickly asked myself do I call out to her and tell her? Or would the babies be in danger if I let her know? But what if the “lunch bag ” had all her money in it? My mind raced. I quickly rolled the window down and yelled “Excuse me mam, you dropped something”. There was gratitude in her eyes. Maybe it was the equivalent of her purse. All I know is that she scarcely noticed that it was missing from under her arm. She lipped “Thank you” to me. I smiled and drove away. My mind dove deep into what her situation might be. Was she homeless? Running? Hurting? And twins at a young age! My goodness. My heart melted for her. I feel quite sure that it would have been tough for her to have the “Attitude of Gratitude” right then in that situation, but she seemed to be thankful for my act of kindness and concern. Often it seems that people get wrapped up in what they don’t have or what injustice has been done to them. The next time I want to have a pity party…. I will remember that young mother’s face and the kind words “thank you” on her lips.
Ask yourself the question. “Do I have the Attitude of Gratitude?” What do you want in your life? You are a magnet…