Tag Archives: kid’s activities

Summer Vacation: What are you giving your kids this summer?

It’s midnight and I’m sitting in my bed with my laptop. It’s been a long past two days. And well…. I felt compelled to  share it with you.

So…lucky you…haha.

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When I started blogging a few years ago, I wanted to share my life experiences with others. Not because I am “an expert” on anything but because I love life. I am a natural extravert. I pride myself on “bringing the fun” to any situation and I’m always up for a good party or a cozy night with wine on the couch. I love watching people be transformed by God’s love, some good advice, or the love of family. My blog is about sharing my heart with friends everywhere. Some blogs are lighthearted…and some blogs are a little heavier. However, that’s very reflective of my life and where God has me at any given moment.

So…..moving on to yesterday….this picture says it all….

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Yesterday, was a physically tough day. My husband left for a business trip on the same day that I started one of the toughest days of my cycle. To give a brief history, I have struggled with endometriosis for years. After having three years of infertility and a surgery to remove endometriosis tissue, I was able to naturally conceive my first daughter, Sweet Pea.  Five children and 12 years later, my body has finally returned to those infertile days and all the terrible side effects that come with it. To say that I felt terrible would be an understatement.

Nausea, dizziness, painful cramping, diarrhea, heavy bleeding…and five kiddos who just want to tackle and love all over me. My first thought was just to cry…but …crying was not going to help everyone get through the day, nor make dinner, or put kids to bed.

So I decided to take everything slow.

I called the kiddos in and explained that I wasn’t feeling well. I needed them to “step up” and help each other. And then…I just started doing everything in slow motion. My son brought me a glass of water and my oldest daughter helped make me comfy on the couch. I laid on the couch with a pillow and blanket and watched them play. It was something close to the kitchen scene in “Nanny McPhee”…They used their “imaginations” and like several hurricanes they “devastated” my house. There was pots and pans for their “bakery” filled with legos. I watched them mix large bowls of “cake mix” with my vacuum, and they danced around to music. Their outfits changed constantly as did the activities they were playing. My house was decorated with puzzles, and music sheets, and tons and tons of barbies!!!

found these in the fridge.

found these in the fridge.

I didn’t have the strength to yell at them…so I didn’t. I spoke slow and deliberately. I didn’t care if someone came by and saw my house….I was in survival mode.

I wasn’t rushing around meeting the demands of a schedule…I was just trying to get through the day. There was no TV on in the background, so the children could hear me when I called.

When it was time to leave for piano lessons, I gave plenty of notice about needing to leave. There was no yelling, or rushing out the door since I was just trying to find the strength to drive. I paired the little girls up with the bigger kids and asked them to help them in the van. I watched as they helped put on shoes and grab water bottles. My directions were clear and concise…and the kids met my expectations.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because I realized something important about yesterday….

I need to slow down.

My kids need a mom who slows down.

Life is passing me by and I’m missing so much. I’m trying so hard to give them the best of everything that I am missing what they really need which is …..me….

In the words of Jon Legend:

         “All of me loves all of you….all your perfect imperfections. Give your all to me, I’ll give my all to you.”

My kids really don’t need to do more…they need more of me.

  • I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve actually said, “We have to get in the car. You have about 3 seconds to say what you want to say…
  • I’ve watched my younger two daughters grow in frustration as they feel ignored.
  • I’ve put the TV on to “entertain” my crew so I could fit it more time to get stuff done.
  • I’ve heard countless times “you NEVER listen to me”!!!

So what are my kids getting this summer…..a mom that slows down and enjoys every minute. Instead of sitting down with my checklist and my “bucket list” for the summer, I have decided to slow it down…and give my kiddos the best “me” this summer. A mom who lives “in the moment” not awaiting the “next big thing”……

A Mom:

  • who sits down and enjoys a cup of tea.
  • who wants to watch endless ballet and karaoke performances.
  • who listens to an endless supply of the worst jokes and provides some of her own.
  • who thinks that dinner can be ice cream at 7pm because we were having too much fun at the pool.
  • Who tries to “out swing” her kids at the park.
  • Who plays hide and seek
  • Who wants to sit on a blanket and watch the stars
  • Who teaches her kids silly songs to make them laugh
  • Who just wants to make memories…and soak them in.

I’m eager to see what beautiful blessings will come out of this  new “mindset” in parenting. I am certain that God will continue to strengthen our family and draw us closer to him.

May God show you what path you need to take this summer and throughout the year.

God bless,

Tammi

Tip Tuesday: Making your home kid-friendly

Do you have kids?

That’s Miss Missy….she’s pretty BIG in these parts…she is convinced that she is really a BIG girl stuffed in a little body.

Is your home kid-friendly?

I’m not talking about whether you have child-proof gates on the stairs or all your medicines safely tucked away, I’m talking about making your home a kid-friendly environment.

I have high expectations for my children. They contribute a lot to the general functioning of our family. With that in mind, I need to have my house arranged in a way that caters to them as well.

My house certainly is far from any magazine covers but I like to decorate my house in a way that shows I take pride in what I have. Additionally, my house needs to reflect my parenting philosophy that we are raising saints…not museum exhibits. Our couches are made to sit on…our dishes eaten out of…and our things “touched”…..

Going a step further…

If I want my children to be active participants in the daily activities of our home, I need to make sure that I foster their independence in the way that I set up my home. If you are clueless to what i am saying….it’s late….I might be babbling….but read on…somewhere its bound to make sense….

Here are a couple of tips that have proven effective in our little humble abode:

Have things handy to help with chores.

  •  I keep my kid bowls/plates/cups in a bottom cabinet in our kitchen. I do not want my kids climbing to grab a bowl for breakfast or to get a drink of water. This also makes it much easier to assign them the job of emptying all the “kid dishes” from the dishwasher. blog 1
  • I also purchased one of these nifty broom sets so that I could have the kids take turns sweeping under our table for meals. It has been sooo helpful!!!

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  • I have also found that investing in some of the Swifter products like the wet mop and duster are great tools for my kids as well. I might not want them to mop the breakfast room floor but throwing a wet pad on a swifter after a night of pasta or ice cream cones is a great way to “help” mom.

Keep things accessible for independence.

  • My kids love to snack. In some ways, they really think that the kitchen is a drive-thru and that I’m a short order cook. Well…I try and limit my time in the kitchen and my time spent replenishing my pantry and fridge. I have a set menu for the week but my snacks can be more of an option. The kids can choose some sort of fresh fruit or something in the snack bin. blog 2This little bin, purchased for one dollar at the dollar store and labeled, is filled with any snack I feel that they can have at any time. Its located where all the kids can access it. Miss Missy, due to her current allergies, has her own bin at her height. When I menu plan, I hit the kids up for suggestions on what they would like in their bin. The kids’ snack bin is located next to the red bin in the pantry. Miss Missy’s is the light blue bin on the bottom right. blog 4What about snacks that I am saving or only want my kids to have every once in a while??? Those are kept on the top shelf labeled kids treats in the red bin. That bin is where I store extra candy, granola bars or fruit snacks for their co-op days, or anything that I don’t want them consuming without my knowledge.

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  • I also don’t want to be a “nag”…constantly repeating myself in regards to the kids’ bathroom behavior and getting ready for the morning. Putting up charts and visual reminders are a great way to assist kids in what is expected. This sign hangs in the kids’ bathroom next to the sink. I seriously, made this a few years ago with Google images and Microsoft Word. The kids love it! Once their bathroom is painted, this little ditty will get a nice frame. checklist 2The second little chart appears right before the children make their way down the front stairs for the morning. It looks like this:checklist 1I often smile to myself as I see the little eyes scan this sheet before they descend the stairs. If I feel like one of them seems to be “forgetting” several of these, I will send them upstairs to “memorize” the sheet. We have had little “forgetting” in this house.
  •  I keep all of the children’s washcloths in a bin on the floor of the linen closet. This allows the kids to easily grab one before they jump in the shower.  I see no need in folding them. I use to fold them and place them neatly on a shelf. Then one of the kids would grab one, and let the rest of them fall to the ground. This little wicker basket has conquered two issues: I don’t have to fold washcloths and the kids can easily locate a washcloth.
  • I also installed a double closet rod in my hall closet to hang the little kids coats for the winter. After adding a few little hangers, it makes it way easier for them to hang their coats and for their siblings to assist as well.

Create spaces for your kids

When my husband and I moved into our new house three years ago, we sacrificed more yard space for a larger house with an open floor plan. I loved how spacious my new house was and was eager to give everything a place. People were often surprised that I had decided to designate a “school room” in my house for my kids. However, it seemed to be necessary for someone who would be schooling four and then five children to have enough space to house all the stuff that that would require. school room 2 school roomAs you can tell, this room is currently “under construction”. However, you get the general idea. The kids have their own “cubbies” and places for stuff. There are plenty of activities to occupy the little tots while I am working with one of the other kids.

As our family grows and our children undergo new developmental stages, the hubs and I will continually look for ways to help them in maintaining their independence.

I would love to hear how you create a kid-friendly environment…anyone want to offer some suggestions??? I’m always looking for some great ideas!!!

God Bless,

Tammi