Yikes! Seriously, they need an "Enter At Your Own Risk" sign on the door.
Yikes! Seriously, they need an "Enter At Your Own Risk" sign on the door.
Before: Rusty with painter's tape...ready for it's face lift!
After: A nautical delight! I used a can of low-VOC spray paint in powder blue. What a transformation!
I'm so glad that I didn't throw this beauty away years ago!
Emma, my oldest, follows the first child stereotype. She's responsible, smart as a whip, exercises discretion and shows restraint, but can be quite moody. Harper, my youngest, is impulsive, fiercely independent, and sensitive, but has the most pleasant disposition any three year old could have. Emma has a tendency to be high strung. She panics in a crisis. Harper is laid back, almost to the point of being defiant at times.
From a mom's perspective, the differences can be frustrating. It's difficult to meet both of their needs when the needs vary greatly from child to child. Most days are uneventful, but occasionally, when each exhibits the above traits to the hilt, it's a challenge.
My mother-in-law gave me some great advice recently. She told me that every child is different. Her four were unique and each one presented her with challenges. She said the key is not to cater to each one's individual needs but to get them to meet you and their siblings half-way. She said it won't always work that way. But it's never too early to teach them how to compromise.
See, there are some pretty good mothers-in-law out there.
Earth Hour began in 2007 with 2.2 million households and businesses participating in Sydney. Last year, that number increased to 50 million worldwide. Wow! This year, the WWF hopes that 1 billion households and businesses will turn off non-essential lights and electronic appliances during this hour.
Many state capitals across the country will be darkening their domes...the question is, will you be darkening your home?
For more information, visit www.earthhour.org.
Below: Harper playing a color sorting game with buttons and a muffin tin. (An idea I found on ABC and 123).
Above: Sleeping Beauty fast asleep this morning.
I am, however, getting a lot done around the house since I'm stuck here. In between my little projects, I thought I'd post a few randoms.
- I broke out my new glue gun this morning, and literally am gluing everything in sight. In fact, I want to break things in order to glue them! I'm having a ton of fun. I've fixed two picture frames, a nightlight, a trophy, and some broken Easter decorations.
- Also broke out the Easter decorations. I hate the mess that is made in the process of decorating, but everything looks so pretty once it's in place.
- Of course, in between all of this, I'm doing laundry. I'm always doing laundry.
- I'd really like to vacuum, but since Emma is resting comfortably and quietly, I'll have to save that for tomorrow.
- I've eaten way too many black licorice jelly beans, but they are just so darn good!
- I really have to finish writing Harper's birthday thank yous. I used to be so good about that kind of stuff. These days I have a hard time getting motivated to do such things. When my parents passed away, I wrote the thank you notes for the flowers, food, contributions, etc. And I think I just associate any thank you card writing with that.
It's one of those days that, when you're childless, you can curl up on the sofa with a good book or watch TV. When you have kids, well, you know...
Since we no longer live in the same town that we did 4 years ago when Emma entered 3-year preschool, we can't send Harper to the same preschool Emma attended. And I wouldn't choose to do so...I wasn't incredibly fond of the school. We've got to take a look at a few schools. Now, I'm not fanatical about where she goes. This isn't the Upper East Side of Manhattan. We have no plans to throw $50,000 at her preschool education. But I want to be somewhat selective and prioritize what's important to us. At this point, socialization is our top priority. Since she's been home with me since birth, her exposure to other children has been limited. Other than her several, weekly activities, the time she has spent with peers has been minimal.
We toured a school on Monday and loved it! It offers a 2-day/week class for 3-year olds with a choice of 1 of 3 time slots. Because it is operated in conjunction with our local municipality, registrants must be residents of our town. It's located at our local recreation center, which conveniently, is located 4 minutes from our home. Yay! I love that!! I was impressed by the curriculum, and the average tenure of the teachers is 10 years.
I want to get her in to this school. But, and it's a big but, there is no open registration. Registration begins on April 27th. First to show up are the first to secure a spot. So, can you guess where I'll be on the morning of April 27? Yep...camping out at the rec. center!
I read "Knuffle Bunny" by Mo Willems. It's a heartwarming story of a little girl who accidentally loses her prized lovey, a bunny, while running an errand to the laundromat with her father. This story is special to us as a family because both Emma and Harper have had lovies that, if lost, would surely have devastated them. As a special treat, I baked cupcakes for the children, and we gave each child a bunny basket. We won the book and accompanying bunny in a raffle at last year's Read Across America kick-off celebration at the local high school. I've actually never seen the two packaged together, but you could try Amazon.com if you are interested in both. I purchased the adorable bunny baskets at Target (in the dollar section). Target has such cute seasonal baskets. You must check them out!
I had a wonderful time reading to the children. They were delightful and so well-behaved.
Did you know that walking 30 minutes a day can help reduce the risk of coronary artery disease, lower both blood pressure and cholesterol, and increase life expectancy? According to the American Heart Association, each hour of regular, vigorous exercise could gain you 2 hours of life expectancy.
If you enjoy walking outdoors, you'll have the best success if you switch up your walking route. Walking the same route daily is uninspiring. You'll become bored and soon give up. I like to alter between boardwalks, local parks, bike paths, and my surrounding neighborhoods. It's a different experience and challenge each day. I also like to find ways to make my walking more interesting. When I walk around my neighborhood, I like to look at the houses for design and landscaping ideas. You'd be surprised by how many great ideas you'll find on a daily stroll.
Don't wait for bad news from your doc. Start now! To get started, visit www.go.heart.org.
Enjoy walking? Share some of your walking tips with us. Post a comment to let us know what works for you!
Using Random.org, I randomly chose the winner by starting at the number 1 and ending at 11. The random number that was chosen was 2, and Kendra posted the second comment. Although there were 12 comments posted, the 12th comment did not apply to the giveaway, and thus, it did not count towards the random drawing.
Don't fret! There will be another giveaway in the near future so be sure to check back regularly!
Thanks again to all who participated! And remember, even if you didn't win, you can still clean green!
Above: Saturday's circus. I love that there was a big top!
Below: Our very own circus performer!
Above: Enjoying circus food!
Below: Our cat, Peppy doing what he does best!
Above and below: Waiting for the St. Patrick's Day parade to begin on Sunday.
Above and below: In the spirit of things on St. Patty's Day...Irish cheeks a smilin'!
Below: Harper's second visit to the dentist. She looks more terrified than she was.
What's the best way to start spring? By spring cleaning, of course!
As spring begins and Earth Day approaches, what better way to celebrate than to do some spring cleaning! But this year, as an incentive to get my readers to clean green, I am giving away a wonderful selection of environmentally friendly cleaning products from Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day! Yay!!
One fabulously lucky reader will win these must-haves:
One 12.5 oz Liquid Hand Soap in Lavender (my all-time fave!!!)
One 11 oz. Surface Scrub in Lemon Verbena
One 16 oz. Dish Soap in Lavender
One 16 oz. Countertop Spray in Lavender
And as an added bonus, I am throwing in this adorable canvas tote. If you're still using those yucky plastic bags to do your grocery shopping, it's time to stop!
Wanna start greening up your act? Great! Here's how to enter:
This giveaway is open only to U.S. and Canadian residents with a valid mailing address!
1. Leave a comment for me to let me know why you want to win. Hey, it's perfectly acceptable to say you want something for free! Who doesn't?? You must leave a valid email address or URL so that I can contact you to arrange shipping.
2. If you are a follower, leave a second comment saying so. If you're not a follower, what are you waiting for??
You must leave your comments by 10:00 pm EDT on 3/23. I will use Random.org to choose one winner. The lucky winner will be notified via email and will have 72 hours to respond. If the lucky winner does not respond, another reader will be chosen using Random.org.
Good luck to all and thanks for participating!!
To view the full line of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day products, click here.
Here are my results:
You are energy in its purest form. No need to complicate things with sweetness. And while people may hate your aftertaste, you are seen as a necessary evil.
Your best soda match: 7 Up
Stay away from: Coke
I'm curious to see how we compare...what kind are you? What's your best match and who should you stay away from?
Since it was a Friday, I suggested that Emma invite her friend to stay for pizza. Emma wanted Dominos pizza and her friend excitedly agreed. We are off to a great start.
OK, so at about 4:15, the mother drops off the friend and I ask her to come back at around 7:30 for the pick-up. Everyone is in agreement. Excellent.
At about 4:25, Emma and her friend come downstairs for a snack. What? She's been here 10 minutes and you need a snack? But we're having pizza in an hour. Go play. I mean, seriously, is the girl here to play or to eat? Please.
I give them each a small bowl of Cheez-Its and a drink. They seem happy for the time being. But somehow I know it won't last too long. After the snack, they go back up stairs to the playroom where they happily play until the pizza arrives at 5:30. I serve them each a slice of pizza and another drink. While they are eating, Emma asks for more napkins. OK, but I thought I placed a heap of them on the table, knowing how kids can be when eating pizza.
As I am taking the napkins to them, I see a pile of bunched up, dirty napkins in front of the friend's plate. What is that, I'm thinking, and of course, I have to ask. They are napkins with sauce all over them. Apparently, the friend isn't into eating sauce on her pizza that particular day. Did I lose a bet? Is this some sort of punishment?
The friend eats the pizza without sauce but only bits and pieces of one slice. I now have a trash can half full of napkins and almost two whole pizzas staring me in the face. What now?
The girls clean up their dishes and go back upstairs to play. Meanwhile, I clean up the kitchen while I fume over what has just transpired. Seriously. I thought all kids like everything about pizza.
In 10 minutes, they are downstairs again. Emma tells me that friend is hungry for a snack. Well, of course she is, she barely ate her pizza!!!!!!!!!! At this point, I am pretty much at my wit's end, but trying not to show it. I don't want either Emma or friend to think I'm the least bit annoyed by this nonsense. They're just kids after all.
I give friend yet another snack and start counting the minutes until her mother comes to pick her up.
Once she's gone, Emma and I sit down to have a little chat about playdates and snacks. And before our conversation is over, I make sure that she never, ever, ever displays (even remotely) that kind of behavior at one of her friend's houses.
Have about ten minutes to spare? Well, take this quiz on the BBC Web site to find out.
I scored a 17 out of 20. About half way through the quiz, I wasn't quite sure how well I was doing. Be sure to read the directions carefully, as you have to play each smile video.
I've recently discovered Sproost, a design Web site based on your personal style, not a style that the market or current trend dictates. To begin, you complete a quiz to help you identify your personal style. After your style is determined, Sproost recommends different design elements to help you create your perfect room. Or you can create it from scratch by choosing furniture and accessories. It's so much fun!
To begin, click here to take the quiz.
By the way, my style preferences are:
33% cottage chic
33% Nantucket style
Tomorrow we are going to the Big Apple Circus! It's the first time the kids have been to a circus, and I have to say, they are excited. I can't wait to see how they react.
Sunday, we are traveling to north Jersey to my husband's hometown for the annual St. Patrick's Day parade. Don't quote me, but I think it's the second largest St. Patty's Day parade in the state. After the parade, we'll be having dinner with Henry's best friend (who is Emma's Godfather) and his family at their home. Always a fun time. We don't see them as much as we'd like, so it's always special when we get together.
So, I probably won't be posting anything on Saturday or Sunday. But the weekend's activities will give me lots of material for next week's Friday Fotos. And don't forget about the giveaway announcement next week!
Above: Enjoying last weekend's warm weather.
Below: Monkeying around with Daddy.
This spring I hope you'll be using all natural cleaners to tackle your every spring cleaning need. There is a plethora of them available these days, and you don't have to go to a natural foods store to buy them. They are available in just about every commercial supermarket or retail chain store.
And remember, natural cleaners are not only better for the environment, they are better for you and your children. Chemical cleaners release toxins into the environment long after they've been used. This means that you and your children are breathing in those toxins for weeks after you've cleaned. Eww! Yuck!
What? Still not enough of an incentive to switch to green and clean cleaners? Maybe this will motivate you. Pieces Of Me is having it's first ever giveaway next week!! Hint: I'll be giving away something that's green and cleans. Don't miss it!
In the meantime, click here to get some green cleaning tips to get you started.
It is a difficult process deciding on a type of party to have or a theme. Since Emma started having "friends parties" 3 years ago, we've hosted the party in our home. I know what you're thinking, I'm a crazy woman. A home party seems reasonable at the time of planning. However, the day of the party is a different story! I run around like crazy. I'm frantic and frenzied. Last year, Emma had a Barbie party. Each girl brought her favorite Barbie, and we even included Barbie dolls in the goodie bags. I know, I'm insane. Two years ago, she had a tea party complete with finger sandwiches shaped like flowers. They were homemade, of course.
Gone are the days of playing a few games such as pin the tail on the donkey, opening presents and eating cake and ice cream. Gone. Gone. Gone. Kids parties are big business, and the kids, no, the parents get really competitive about outdoing each other. It's just plain ridiculous. My goal is always to have a party that Emma and her friends will enjoy and remember. It needs to be age appropriate as well.
What I love about the home parties is that there are some many opportunities to add special and personal touches from decorating to meal planning. What I don't like is the enormous amount of effort it requires from planning to execution. Whatever we decide, you'll be sure to hear all about it!
Nothing, I repeat, nothing irritates me more than poor planning and non-existent organizational skills. I cannot tolerate it. C'mon, it's not like the kid ran up to his mom yesterday and said, "Hey, mom, don't forget my birthday is on Saturday." We are well aware of our children's birthdays. Plus, the class invitation rule is that if you hand them out in school, they must be given to each and every child. So, it's not as if Emma were an afterthought. And, it's not the first time this has happened. The Monday prior to Thanksgiving Emma received an invitation for a party on Friday, the day following Thanksgiving. Get real. Who has a birthday party on Thanksgiving weekend, the busiest travel holiday of the year????????
I have half a mind to call these parents and give them my 2 cents. But I never would. I figure they'll suffer enough embarrassment and disappointment when the party is a big flop because they were too disorganized to get the invitations out in a timely fashion.