What Are Some Great Spring Break Ideas for My Kids?

cheap ideas when your kids are on break and you need to get out of the house?

What Are Some Great Spring Break Ideas for My Kids? We adventured from Phoenix to Santa Fe for Spring Break. We are used to the 5-6 hour San Diego drive, so road-tripping the 8-9 hours to New Mexico posed some extra challenges to our van full of giggly girls. Of course, by now we are used to our days being a compilation of hilarious, laugh-out-loud moments followed by shrieks of horror and outbursts of anger, then back to happy and harmonious play. This is life with children. And yes...this was our van ride. Breath-taking pink and orange sunset views of Tonto Rim that even my three-year-old marveled at, followed by two children in tears because I refused to skip one of the Wiggles songs that was playing, followed by energetic storytelling rounds that ended up with everyone in stitches (mostly because the only phrase our youngest kept adding to the story was…"and then he pooped in a shoe"). Here are some fun Spring Break ideas we came up with: Go on a road trip to a new city & while on the road... Sing songs. Tell stories one word at a time or one phrase at a time, going in rounds. Give

How Do I Get My Kids to School on Time?

How do I get my kids to school on time?

  How Do I Get My Kids to School on Time? This morning I was woken up far too early, by my 10-year-old looking for her school uniform. Of course, it wasn’t in her drawer where she should have put it the night before. And of course she assumed that her sister had “stolen it” from her. Oh boy. Can I just please sleep a few more minutes? The next 45 minutes were taken up waking the 1st grader, finding missing shoes under the sofa, pottying the 3-year-old, filling water bottles--with ice cubes flying everywhere, signing homework forms and searching every drawer in the house for one surviving hair band. After several years of this early-morning routine, I find we are finally adjusting to it. Some mornings are pull-my-hair-out stressful and others are surprisingly calm and filled with laughter around the breakfast table. This morning, thankfully... was topped off by some comic relief. I had managed to get the kids into the van before our oh-no-we-are-going-to-be-tardy-again cut-off time. I was actually dressed and NOT wearing slippers. Backpacks: check. Water bottles: check. Baby buckled: check. I rested my head against the car seat, waiting for all the kids to climb in the van. This

Can I Potty Train my Child at 18 Months?

Can I potty train my child at 18 months?

 Can I Potty Train my Child at 18 Months? Yes, yes, and yes! Those sphincter muscles are fully developed at around 18 months of age, which means your little one can be potty trained successfully. My kiddos all sported fancy Dora, Elmo or Princess undies at 18 months. Now, I started potty training all my kids earlier than most because I was not a big fan of changing poopy diapers. However, you can be just as successful if you begin potty training around the 18 month mark. Neeley Dosdall, mother of 5, started her kids out at 18 months and never looked back! Here are some fantastic potty training tips from Neeley: Once you start potty training, never go back to a diaper except for night time. Start potty training your child at 18 months. Never look back! Avoid potty training during life-changing seasons or events, like the holidays, moving, travel...etc. Use a splash guard potty seat for boys and make sure it doesn’t pinch them! Have them sit for only 7 minutes at a time. Then try again later. For boys between 18-24 months, you can pour warm water over their little boy parts and “kaboom” it makes them go! Use stickers

When Do I Start Potty Training my Child?

When Do I Start Potty Training my Child?

One way to ensure that your child is potty-trained by age 2 to start young-- very young. Younger than you would really even think is normal or accepted. In many countries around the world this is common practice. Traditionally, even in the US...this was the case. My grandmother used to boast that her children were already using the “pot” when they turned 1! I had my reservations. Until, that is... I had my own kiddos. I began researching elimination communication, which is the practice of watching infant cues for elimination and getting them to the potty as young as 6 weeks old! So, I decided to potty train my girls quite young. I started putting my babies on the potty around 8 months of age. Crazy, I know! Obsessed? Perhaps. I simply couldn’t bear the thought of changing those diapers that had transitioned from breast-milk only to pureed chicken and green beans. Here’s the thing. It worked! My babies began pooping and peeing on the potty. Not just once in a blue moon, either. Every single day! My friend Nakeisha Thrash did the same with her little boy. She had him on the potty at 8 months of age. She does claim

How Do I Survive a Road Trip With my Kids?

How do I survive a road trip with my kids?

How do I Survive a Road Trip with my Kids? I can barely remember the days when it was just me and my husband in my car. In those days we would be cruising along on a summer evening, a quaint, mid-western landscape dancing by and I would ask him what he was thinking about. He'd answer with something profoundly male, like. "I'm thinking about those yellow markings on the road, Aimee." Really? You can think about those? Yes, our life today is very different. 4 kids, a mini-van and never a dull moment during a road trip. Here is a quick list of ideas to answer the question: How Do I Survive a Road Trip With my Kids? 1) The iPads. I have a friend, who one summer only let her kids use electronics ONLY while on the road. The rest of the time they were forced to run, play and climb trees. When it was time to hop in the car to their next destination on their summer trip, the kids were perfect angels and she had a peaceful few hours to herself. It's brilliant! 2) The Bag of Toys I will often give my kids a 15 minute warning before the car is

A Good Night’s Sleep

listening to your mommy instincts and getting a good nights sleep

  Before I had kids I really was pretty harsh on the young parents in my life. They'd come in to work complaining about lack of sleep and I simply did not get it. My thinking was they should have just turned off those lights and gone to bed earlier. I mean, how hard could it be to sleep? Oh, I had no idea. No clue as to what happens when you bring a new baby into your home--for the rest of your life! No understanding of the torture that is involved. Beautiful joy and beautiful pain all wrapped together. It isn't just one night of sleep that you lose. It is a 2nd and a 3rd and a 4th...and then it is one year of no sleep, 2 years of no sleep. And so forth and so on. I have always been really pleased when my kids reached about 2 or so, because I found that there were less disturbances at night and less early morning wakings. Now that my youngest is 3 it is even better. I am actually beginning to get my 8 hours of sleep-- now and then. Until of course, nights like last night happen. So, I'm

What is Mommy Medicine?

What is Mommy Medicine?

One night a few years ago...when I was having a rare and wonderfully deep sleep, I had a vivid dream. In my dream I was Mary Poppins. I wore the hat, carried that fantastic magic purse and was strolling along using the umbrella as a walking stick. Suddenly, I--or me as Mary Poppins--found herself signing up to study Pediatric Medicine online. I woke up with a jolt and sat up in bed, horrified. You see, dreams will sometimes mean something to me. I find God will use dreams to direct me, share thoughts, or reveal my emotions to me. In fact, a few years before I had prayed that God would start speaking to me in dreams. And He had. Now I was petrified. Here I was with three young children. Had I missed my calling? Was I supposed to become a pediatrician? How could I have missed this? How would I accomplish this? There was simply NO way. It was 4am and I was wide awake, my heart racing. I just could not wrap my heart around the "how" of this. How would I quit what I was doing and spend 4 years in Medical School? When I was

Expectations: How To Communicate Your Expectations When it Comes to Discipline?

how do i communicate my expectations when it comes to discipline?

"Mom, you didn't tell me that. I didn't know I wasn't supposed to..." How many times have we heard our kids utter these words?  I find it quite challenging to communicate clearly with my school-aged children who seem to have selective hearing when it comes to my instructions and behavioral expectations. After much struggle, I have come up with three bullet points for my children. Three simple expectations. Three principles. Three family rules to follow. It isn't the end-all be-all. However...after drilling these three points home year in and year out...we are beginning to make some progress. Yes, I did say...just beginning. Parenting is, after all...the hardest job in the world. 1) Be kind. When my nine-year old is falling apart because I am always controlling her, I quietly remind her that the reason she does not have the privilege of watching a show tonight is that she slapped her five-year-old sister hard across the back -- leaving a red, hand-shaped mark.  In our family, we are kind. If her Kindergarten-aged, very-likely-to-annoy younger sibling bothers her, she needs to try to work it out first. Then, she can come seek my help. Being unkind is not an option in our family. Kindness is

What Will Get My Kid To Stop Begging?

begging

Here are a few brilliant phrases & strategies to use when your child just won’t stop asking: http://www.yourtango.com/2015278597/5-phrases-that-will-instantly-make-your-kids-stop-begging Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (2/3/2016) beccafawley (Flickr)

Is There A Homemade Granola Bar That My Kids Will Actually Like to Eat?

Homemade Granola Bar recipe

Is there a tasty homemade granola bar recipe my kids will eat? Yes! And, believe me...I have been through a whole bunch of, well...unusual and unique recipes. Often my husband and I are left to eat the granola bars that I made for the kids to take to school. This one, however is a winner. It has great ingredients and is no bake! To make it EVEN better, we put the ingredients through our BlendTec & process them a bit so the granola ball is less chunky and more smooth. Also, if you want a granola ball with zero sugar, substitute the chocolate chips for cocoa nibs. Your kids may not even notice. http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/no-bake-energy-bites/   Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (2/2/2016) Celeste Lindell (Flickr)

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