Category Archives: Kid Stuff

Christmas Card Chaos

Tis’ the season for trying to capture that PeRfEcT photo for the annual Christmas card!  You know the one I’m referring to that gives the illusion that your kids never fight, don’t play in the mud, and wear matching outfits daily.  First there is the decision over whether to go to a portrait studio, hire a photographer and do an outdoor family photo shoot, or take the pictures yourself.  Once that is decided the planning of the outfits can begin.  The ridiculous part about this is that stores start  putting out their holiday lines in October so if your kids wear a popular size you better be thinking ahead.  Ok, now you know who is taking the picture and what everyone is wearing, but here is the hardest part…getting everyone to cooperate! photo

I am sure many of you moms are going through this torture over the next few weeks so let me share my Christmas card 2013 attempt with all of you.  Before I start getting all sorts of complaints from dads, I chose to write moms because maybe there are one or two dads out there who break the mold and take the kids for the Christmas photos, but in MY experience, there is NO dad who wants to be anywhere near this unprecedented madness EVER!

This year I was going to have a friend who is a professional photographer take photos in our yard.  Well that idea went down the toilet when I had to cancel the session because it had rained the night before and the grass was soaking wet.  I know my kids would never have cooperated if their feet were soaking wet from the grass and we wouldn’t have gotten the photos that I wanted to get.  My second attempt pictured above was yesterday.  I thought I could take the bull by the horns and take the photos myself.  I’ve done it before so why not?  Here’s why not…apparently I bought my son “handsome” clothes instead of “cool” clothes and he refused to put them on.  In a desperate attempt to move forward with my plan I decorated a tree with candy canes and figured I would at least get my daughter’s picture done since she was all dressed and loves getting her picture taken.  I figured my son would get jealous and cave once he saw her getting all the attention and put the cute plaid shirt and sweater on, but boy was I wrong.  What erupted was like a scene out of a Christmas horror show.  While my daughter was standing on a chair smiling my son took one of my giant candy cane props and started chopping down the candy canes one by one out of the tree faster than I could grab him.  Candy was flying all over the place, my daughter was wobbling in a chair in her Christmas dress, and all I was thinking was, don’t react like Clark Griswold when his lights don’t light up in Christmas Vacation!

Needless to say, we marched back in the house after picking up all of the broken candy canes and I am left with this fantastic picture that I share with all of you.  Please keep it in mind when you are stressed to the max this Christmas season.  As you receive your mail full of smiling faces each day remember a lot more goes into those cards than you think and don’t be too hard on yourself if your journey to whatever your PeRfEcT card is isn’t so PeRfEcT!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under Getting Real, Holiday, Kid Stuff, Life, RANDO•RAMA

I am Thankful Project

With my son in Kindergarten, I’ve been planning more projects that incorporate some writing and of course some messy art!  With all the academics that need to get covered in the short school day kids don’t often get the chance to get down and dirty with paint anymore.  This simple Indian Corn project kept my 4 and 6 year olds busy for about a half hour (just long enough for me to enjoy a cup of coffee!) and the writing piece will remain a special memory of what they were thankful for at this special time in their childhood.

If you are a teacher, this can be done as a whole class activity and it would make a fantastic bulletin board display!  Click on this link to print my free THANKFUL FOR tags and get your creative juices flowing!

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I cut out a corn shape out of cardstock and fabric and glued them together. You can just use cardstock, but I thought the fabric gave the project a rustic look!

The more fall colors the better!

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I used burlap to make the dry corn leaves and attached the printable Thankful For cards!

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Happy Painting & Memory Making!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under Holiday, Kid Stuff, RANDO•RAMA

How I Got My Kids To Stop Sucking Their Thumbs

Hi friends!  I missed you all this summer, more than you’ll ever know.  I underestimated how much writing YOU is such good therapy for ME! :)

At the beginning of the summer I decided to work on accomplishing one GoAL with the kids by the end of the summer: to stop their thumb sucking!!  It has been a habit for both of our kiddos ever since birth.

We purchased some (pricey) thumb guards from tguard.com which was recommended by a friend.  This worked well with Leanne, our oldest daughter who is 6.  thumbguardGarrett, our 3 year-old, didn’t respond as well to them.  No matter what I did, he seemed to find a way to get the guards off.  I even bought the next size down, thinking they were too big, but he still found a way.  Truly, I think he got them off because he was willing to put himself through a considerable amount of pain…that’s a BOY for ya!  But my daughter didn’t really fight it, and even if she tried, she wasn’t able to get hers off.  Regardless, I would still highly recommend tguards to anyone wanting to break this habit.  I think they are one of the best options on the market.

The next thing we tried was our ChEApEst and most successful attempt so far.  I took their winter mittens and cut out all the fingers except the thumbs!  Both kids responded well to these because they were more comfortable to wear and much easier to put on.  The issue with mittens: they are SUPER easy to take off, which meant we had to UP the incentives to keep them on.  So…if they took the mittens off during the night, they didn’t get chocolate milk for breakfast and had to choke down regular milk (ha!).  Also, they got points toward a favorite toy which they finally got to cash in at the end of the summer.  The chocolate milk was a good incentive because it is the first thing they look forward to when they wake up, which we always reminded them when putting them to bed.  Sometimes they would come into the kitchen with a frown on their face and mitten-free hands, knowing regular milk would be on the menu:(

DSC_0556It took about a month for Garrett to break the habit of taking his mittens off at night.  And even though I feel they have broken their habit, they still request the mittens at night, just to make sure they don’t suck their thumbs without realizing it while sleeping.  I am so proud of them!

As I re-read this post, the process still sounds so much easier than it really was.  I don’t want to lie and make it sound like it was easy, because it wasn’t.  It was a FigHt, especially with our 3-year-old.  We exhausted all incentives and thumb guard options out there, and by the second half of the summer the mittens seemed to be what was most effective (even though it still took a good month before I felt like they really had it mastered).  It was a roller coaster of a summer, but worth all the hard work!  If your kiddos are dealing with the same struggle, I hope our experience and the mittens/tguards can be new options for you! Don’t lose hope! Hang in there momma!

Good Luck!

Lara

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Filed under Kid Stuff, Parenthood, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships, Uncategorized

iPhone Mommy

I admit it…I spend WaY ToO MuCh time on my phone.  It is a habit I have been saying I am going to stop for a long time, but have yet to accomplish.  It would be bad enough if I was taking time away from my kids by just talking on the phone, but we all know that is not what I am doing.  I hop around from email, to Facebook, to Pinterest, to Twitter and sometimes throw in a game of skee-ball.  The problem is…NoNe of this is more important than my kids!  If you are hooked  on your phone and have been trying to stop, this letter written by Tonya Ferguson on her blog 4 Little Fergusons might just be what you need to finally put it down.

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Dear mom on the iPhone,

I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone. It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it? You are doing a great job with your kids: You work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.

But Momma, let me tell you what you don’t see right now …

Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl. She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her long hair. She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her.

You aren’t.

Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!” I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way.

He sees that too. His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do.

Now you are pushing your baby in the swing. She loves it! Cooing and smiling with every push. You don’t see her though, do you? Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing.

Talk to her. Tell her about the clouds, Mommy. The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you, and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly.

Put your eyes back on your prize: your kids.

Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there. I am not saying it’s not OK to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User beware!

Play time at the park will be over before you know it.

The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it.

They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy. They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish. They won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!”

There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time.

Because they know …

You’ve shown them, all these moments, that the phone is more important than they are. They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime.

I know that’s not true, Mommy.

I know your heart says differently.

But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly.

May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all.

*********************************************

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under All-Or-Nothing, Family, Friends, Getting Real, Hard Reality, Kid Stuff, Life, Parenthood, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships

Easy Outdoor Game

The hour before dinner in our house is always difficult because the kids can’t help but get restless waiting to eat and waiting for my husband to get home from work.  In an attempt to avoid taking out every single backyard toy, I came up with this simple game that kept them busy and didn’t leave the yard a mess for me to clean up!

If you have a walkway similar to mine you can use each stone individually.  If you have concrete you can divide it up into squares and play.  I used sidewalk chalk to write down the sight words that my son is working on.  I also drew some pictures for my daughter to color in to keep her busy.  I had my son pick out a rock and instructed him to toss his rock onto the walkway filled with words.  Once it landed on a word he had to run to it, say the word, then bring the rock back to me.  It was such a simple game, but it kept him busy and helped him practice his words!

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You can modify this to any level:

*Write letters on the stones to practice upper and lowercase letter recognition.

*Write numbers on the stones and use 2 rocks.  Have your child add together the two numbers that the rocks land on.

*Draw pictures with your kids and have them tell you the first letter for each picture and the sound that it makes.

The possibilities are endless and the only thing you have to do is collect your sidewalk chalk when you are finished!

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~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under At Home, Junk Drawer, Kid Stuff, Parenthood, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships

Doll Shoe Fix

How many times am I going to have to put these doll shoes back on?!!!  If that is a question you ask yourself daily, here is a quick fix to keep all of those Barbie, Princess, and Fairy shoes on the dolls instead of all over your house!

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I always keep a tube of E-6000 Industrial Strength Adhesive  (purchased at my local craft store) around the house for quick repairs on everything and anything that my kids “accidentally” break.  I decided to try it on the doll shoes and…not as shoe has been lost since I secured them to their feet!

Make sure you let the glue dry for a few days before you let your kids play with them again, and I wouldn’t suggest trying this if you have kids who put toys in their mouth.  My kids are 5 and 3 and have never put strange things in their mouth so I figured I was good to go with this one!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under Junk Drawer, Kid Stuff, RANDO•RAMA, Uncategorized

I Lost My Kids in Disney World

It has taken me months to start this post because of  sheer embarrassment, but if my story can provide insight to someone else…then it is worth sharing.  Last summer we went to Disney World for a family vacation.  My sister had planned the trip from wake-ups to bedtimes and we had the time of our lives.  That would be minus the 15 minutes of terror when I realized I had lost my two kids in the park.

My husband had taken the kids on the train-ride around Magic Kingdom and I was shopping on Main Street.  We were planning to meet at the train stop at the front of the park and continue our day.  When the three of them got to the train stop my husband realized he had left our empty stroller at one of the other train stops and was staying on the train to go back to get it.  The kids came off the train and started walking down the ramp that they thought was going to bring them to me.  As I watched them exit the train I realized that the train exit ramp and the platform I was standing on did not meet in the same location.  Before I could yell to them they were gone.  I ran down a set of stairs hoping it would end where the kids came off the ramp, but the ramp was nowhere in sight and neither were Nicholas and Abby.  I ran around like a maniac trying to find them, but it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.  I found a young “cast member” (that is what they call the people who work in Disney) and told him I lost my kids.  He didn’t really seem to jump with any urgency and I immediately knew I needed to find someone else to help me.  The next cast member that I found was a woman who immediately sprung into action.  She got on a radio and asked me what the kids looked like.  She assured me that the kids would be found and that they would not get out of the park.  Like a scene out of a movie I watched all of the cast members leap into action…as I kept saying “My son is 5 and my daughter is 3, they are blonde as blonde can be, she is wearing a red and white polka dot dress and he is wearing and black and red Mickey Mouse shirt.”  My heart raced as I cried picturing how scared my babies must have been.  The woman kept me calm by telling me that she lost her own son in the park a little over a week ago and that an undercover cast  member had found him.  I wish I had gotten her name…she knew how it felt to be a mom who was missing her greatest blessing and hugged me as we watched the scene unfold and wait for what seemed like an eternity.  After about 15 minutes I heard a voice say, “We’ve got them.”  I looked at the top of the train platform and ran to the steps to see my scared little ones walking toward me.  They were holding hands and Nicholas (my mamma’s boy) was crying.  I hugged them and never wanted to let go.

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I am beyond grateful to the cast members who went above and beyond to find my kids and keep me calm.  I wish I could have thanked them all, but the moment was so overwhelming that by the time I got it together everything had gone back to normal in The Magic Kingdom and they were all scattered about doing their jobs.

When I look back on this I really can’t BlAmE this on anyone.  There was no way any of us could have known that the ramp and stairs didn’t meet up.  It wasn’t like my kids had wondered off and weren’t paying attention…they thought they were walking and meeting me after getting off the train.  What I did learn is that there are things I could have done PriOr to this incident that could have made finding them a little easier.

Before our trip we had purchased tattoos for the kids arms that said, “If lost call XXX-XXX-XXXX.”  Did I have the tattoos on the kids arms that day?  NO!  What good were they doing in our hotel room?!!!  My husband and I also realized we had never had a discussion with the kids telling them what to do if they got lost.  We should have pointed out what cast members look like and told them to find one if they were lost.  Someone else gave me a great suggestion to take a picture of my kids each morning on my phone so that if they are lost you can see exactly what they are wearing in case you forget and you can show the picture to anyone who is helping to find them.  I also found a great idea on Pinterest where you make a bracelet with your phone number on it so that if they are lost someone can call you.  Bottom line…if you ever get into the situation that I was in act fast and find someone who you feel can help you.

I hope you never find yourself in this predicament, but just in case here are some ideas to help others get your kids back to you safely.

Take a Picture of Your

Kids Each Morning

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Cell Phone Bracelet

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If Lost Tattoo

Website for Safety Tattoo

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~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under Getting Real, Hard Reality, Junk Drawer, Kid Stuff, Life, Parenthood, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships, Road Trip, Uncategorized