Monthly Archives: October 2010

Easy and Inexpensive Ways to Keep the Kids Happy and Busy

These are a few ideas that I use when the kids and I are home.  They make for good rainy day activities or just activities to keep them busy while you try to get some work done. 

1.  Buy some bags of dry beans.  Put them in a tupperware container with some small toys, spoons, cups, etc.  Pull out an old sheet and put the tupperware container on it and let the kids play.  You can hide the toys inside the container for them to find and let them do it.  My kids also loved spooning them out into other small containers. 

2.  Buy bags of dry pasta and put them into a container.  Let the kids play in the kitchen while you cook or clean.  Give them some kitchen utensils (preferably not anything sharp or dangerous), pots, pans, etc.  They can pretend cook while you do it for real.

3.  Make different flavors of pudding.  Lay out some wax paper and let the kids finger paint in the pudding.  You can also paint on paper plates.  Plus, it’s a snack too!

4.  Give the kids a spray bottle of water and a towel and let them spot clean the floors.  Make sure they wear socks so they don’t slip down.  I love this activity because it keeps me from having to mop as often.

5.  Make a recipe like this one: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Eggless-Peanut-Butter-Cookies/Detail.aspx.  Give the kids cookie cutters and rolling pins to play with.  They can make their own cookie cut outs and you can cook them. (Note:  Hollie, if you read this, I just remembered I have some of your cookie cutters….will be returning them soon. 🙂 )

6.  If all else fails, dump over a toy box.  Usually, there are all kind of little goodies at the bottom that the kids have forgotten about.  It’s like new toys to them.

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Halloween Costumes

Trick or Treat is next Thursday here so I have been asking the kids what they want to be for Halloween.  Fortunately, my kids are pretty easy to please.  Natie wants to be Batman for the third year in a row.  The costume still fits so that was really easy.  Jay didn’t care what he was as long as I bought him a play gun to go with it.  A trip to Walmart was all it took to get his costume ready.  Gabby Jules wants to be a Balla-weenie (code for ballerina).  I have a hobby of making tutus so I grabbed one of those out of the closet and whamo…she’s a ballaweenie!!  So now we are ready for Halloween.

Here’s Gabby Jules with her tutu on.  She also has butterfly wings on and she’s holding a cell phone.  She also requested a play knife as well.  I’m not really sure what kind of ballaweenie that makes her, but I think she can pull it off.

Here’s Nate with his batman costume on….and a bike helmet.  You may think he must be going for a bike ride, but you would be mistaken.  He just thought Batman should wear one. 

Bring on Halloween…we are ready.  Sugar high here we come!!

Monkey Park

We have visited Monkey Park a few times so far this fall.  I’m not really sure why it’s called Monkey Park, but it’s a really neat park to visit.  There are different play areas for all ages, a train ride, a covered bridge, trails, and it’s laid out so you can see the whole park at one time.  This comes in handy with three kids….I like being able to see them all even if they are across the park.

Here’s Natie hanging on for dear life.  He is my little dare devil.  He has always wanted to climb and jump the highest. 

Here’s Jay with his tattoo.  We had participated in the Autism Walk earlier in the day and he got this tattoo while he was there.

Gabby got her face painted while we were at the Walk.  She didn’t care what they painted on her as long as it was pink.

Here she is going down the slide at the park.

Nate pushed Gabby in the baby swing.  You may think, “Aw, how sweet.  He’s pushing his baby sister.”  But in reality, he was trying to see if he could push her into the steel pole beside the swing. 

Jay and Nate like to compete to see who can swing the highest.  Nate wasn’t playing fair because he enlisted the help of the guy behind him.  I think Jay still won though.

Here they are sitting on the rocks along the creek.  Why is it impossible to get three children to look at the camera at the same time?

It’s always so much fun to see them play.  And to hear them complain about having to pose for a picture.  I can’t convince them that childhood doesn’t last forever and one day they’ll be happy there are pictures to remind them of this special time.

And it really is such a special time.

Tucker

I didn’t feel right blogging about my dogs and not including my sweet dog Tucker.  He’s been gone for almost three years now, but I still miss him.  I got him before I met my husband.  Tucker didn’t like him and would bark and jump between us when we first started dating.  He was just a little fur ball, but he didn’t know it.  He would run with the horses like he thought he was one.  Before he was even a year old, he got ran over.  He spent over a week at the vet and he was never really the same dog after that.  He was pretty skittish, but still spunky as ever. 

When he was about eight, he started going blind.  Very quickly he lost his eye sight.  It was terribly sad to watch him fumble around.  We debated putting him to sleep because we didn’t want him to be unhappy and scared.  But he showed us.  Within a week he was back to his spunky self.  Our other two dogs helped lead him around.  Before long he was getting around like normal.  We had to be careful about leaving bikes, wagons, and cars in different places because Tucker would run like the wind when he heard something exciting and would slam right into whatever was in his way.  But he would just shake it off and keep running. 

Tucker taught me a lot.  I used to feel sad and sorry for people and animals living with disabilities.  How sad that they have to live a life that wasn’t normal.  But Tucker reminded me that God doesn’t make mistakes.  People and animals with disabilities lead a life just as normal as those without them…just more extra-ordinary.  They get to view the world through a different lens, but not a worse lens.  God makes us all with our own uniqueness, our own life to lead.  Tucker taught me that life is a gift no matter what we see as our obstacles.  He showed me that any obstacle can be overcome.  He just didn’t know there was another option.  He didn’t know there was an option to feel sorry for himself.  So he didn’t.  And that’s a lesson I needed to learn.

My Four Legged Friends

We have two dogs, Aspen and Kingsley.  Aspen is 10 and Kingsley is 9. 

We adopted Aspen from the Humane Society.   She looked like a sad little rat when we got her.  Someone had found her in a dumpster along with all her brothers and sisters.  She is really too smart to be a dog.  Years ago we bought one of those invisible fences to keep her inside the fenced yard.  Within a week, she somehow took the collar off and hid it….we never found it.  She could find ways to get out of the fence and my husband and I could not figure it out.  I don’t know whether to imply that our dog is really smart or that her owners might be slightly intellectually challenged (that means kinda dumb for anyone out there who might be intellectually challenged too).  We’ll go with Aspen is really smart.

We adopted Kingsley from a local vet.  To be honest I wasn’t really hyped up about another dog.  But my husband really wanted him so I reluctantly gave in.  I’m glad he talked me into it.  Kingsley is fun to have around even though he’s quite intellectually challenged.  He can’t figure out that when the front door is open, it leads to the same outside as the back door.  And no amount of coaxing will convince him otherwise.  He’ll cry at the back door to be let out even though the front door is wide open.  Same applies to coming back in.  He scratches at the back door to come in even though he can see through the back door that the front door is open. 

Before we had kids, our dogs were our kids.  They slept with us, laid on the couch with us…well, they did everything with us.  When we had our first child, they were demoted to just being dogs.  They actually took this demotion quite well and seemed more than happy to take on the role of dog and protector of small little human.  It worked out pretty well.

Lately, I’ve been getting puppy fever.  I want a new puppy to cuddle and play with.  Then I think about house training.  And all the night whining.  And how puppies think everything is a chew toy.  So, I realized  I don’t really want a new puppy.  And then I realized I already have two house trained, lazy, old puppies.  So I have a new pet project (get it….pet project).  I am treating my old dogs like new puppies.  I torture them with lots of attention, baths, and even dress up.  Don’t they look so happy to have all this new found attention?

The Humor of Parenthood

I’m posting the following list that I’ve seen many times in the last eight years that I’ve been a mom.  As many times as I read it, it still gives me a giggle.  I can totally relate to all of them, but especially number 2, 6, and 9.  Hope it gives you a giggle too. 

I got this from http://www.stanford.edu/~bfenton/parenting.html.

Preparation for parenthood…

It’s not just a matter of reading books and decorating the nursery. Here are 12 simple tests for expectant parents to take to prepare themselves for the real-life experience of being a mother or father.

1. Women: To prepare for maternity, put on a dressing gown and stick a pillowcase filled with beans down the front. Leave it there for 9 months. After 9 months, take out 10% of the beans.
Men: To prepare for paternity, go to the local drug store, tip the contents of your wallet on the counter, and tell the pharmacist to help himself. Then go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office. Go home. Pick up the paper. Read it for the last time.

2. Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels, and how they have allowed their children to run wild. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child’s sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior. Enjoy it — it’ll be the last time in your life that you will have all the answers.

3. To discover how the nights will feel, walk around the living room from 5 pm to 10 pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious noise) playing loudly. At 10 pm, put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1 am. Put the alarm on for 3 am. As you can’t get back to sleep, get up at 2 am and make a drink. Go to bed at 2:45 am. Get up again at 3 am when the alarm goes off. Sing songs in the dark until 4 am. Put the alarm on for 5 am. Get up. Make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.

4. Can you stand the mess children make? To find out, first smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer. Stick your fingers in the flower beds, then rub them on the clean walls. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

5. Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems: first buy an octopus and a bag made out of loose mesh. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out. Time allowed for this: all morning.

6. Take an egg carton, using a pair of scissors and a pot of paint, turn it into an alligator. Now take the tube from a roll of toilet paper. Using only Scotch tape and a piece of foil, turn it into an attractive Christmas candle. Last, take a milk carton, a ping pong ball, and an empty packet of Cocoa Pops and make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower. Congratulations! You have just qualified for a place on the play group committee.

7. Forget the BMW and buy a station wagon. And don’t think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don’t look like that. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Get a dime. Stick it in the cassette player. Take a family-size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seats. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car. There. Perfect.

8. Get ready to go out. Wait outside the bathroom for half an hour. Go out the front door. Come in again. Go out. Come back in. Go out again. Walk down the front path. Walk back up it. Walk down it again. Walk very slowly down the road for 5 minutes. Stop to inspect minutely every cigarette butt, piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue, and dead insect along the way. Retrace your steps. Scream that you’ve had as much as you can stand until the neighbors come out and stare at you. Give up and go back into the house. You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.

9. Always repeat everything you say at least five times.

10. Go to your local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a preschool child — a fully-grown goat is excellent. If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat. Buy your week’s groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goats eat or destroy. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

11. Hollow out a melon. Make a small hole in the side. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone. Tip the rest into your lap, making sure a lot of it falls on the floor. You are now ready to feed a 12-month-old baby.

12. Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street, Barney, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I love you too.

Sometimes my daughter looks up at me out of the blue and says, “I love you too.”  And I know that she probably says it because she’s heard the boys or Sam say it after I’ve told them that I love them.  But she just says it with no prompting.  And I like to think that she says it because she can feel the love that I feel for her every waking second…not just for her, but for my sweet boys and husband.  And that’s why she says, “I love you too.”  Because she feels the love even without being told.  And the feelings are mutual.  Sometimes she looks up at me and I just have to say, “I love you too.”