One moment = 17 seconds

Did you know that? I didn’t. But apparently, I had been using the “one moment!” phrase so often that my five year old counted how long a “moment” was. Oops!

I was very thankful that in this “moment,” he got up to only 17 seconds as I am well aware that many of my “moments” last much longer.

A parenting phrase that I learned long ago {and clearly omitted from my vocabulary} is one that I do believe is key to helping kids understand the importance of your time and, in essence, what time is.

When your minion asks you to come over or do something while you are cleaning/working/sneaking Easter candy, etc… rather than saying, “one moment,” use the following phrase:

When I am done with ___________, then I will come look at ___________.

This phrase is important for kids since they:

  1. are learning the concept of time;
  2. feel that what they are showing you is important and they value your opinion;
  3. realize that you have projects you are working on that are important too; and
  4. learn from your example.

If you continue to let your children believe that a “moment” is actually 7 minutes, don’t be surprised when you call them to dinner and they don’t come right away. They think they will be there in a “moment,” your definitions are simply different.

My eldest has actually started using the phrase in her vocabulary and, honestly, it works nicely. “When I am done reading this chapter, then I’ll come play.” {So far, she uses it at appropriate times.}

Little children, however, have no concept of time. Our minions are learning how to tell time and I definitely have been called out on my kids more and more.

“Mommy, you said we would leave in 2 minutes, but you are still talking to Miss K.”

Yes. Yes I am. So, the next time my little one asks, my response will be: “WHEN I am done chatting with my friend, THEN we will leave.” 🙂

Have a great day!

Baking Mix Recipe {i.e. faux Bisquick}

When the weather cools, I get into my comfy Autumn clothes and into making my comfy Autumn meals 🙂

A family-favorite is chicken or turkey pot pie. I love these meals too as it allows me to easily convert leftover meat into a brand new dish – saving money while keeping the menu fresh.

In one of my FAVORITE BOOKS that everyone who wants to save money should read, Miserly Moms, Joni McCoy offers a wide variety of DIY recipes that allows you to create your own at home so you can save $$$ on the name brand items. The Baking Mix recipe an essential one for me. This recipe makes about 10 cups and can be used in any Bisquick recipe – we typically use it for pot pie and drop biscuits, but pancakes and waffles are easy options too!

The thing I like about this recipe is that it is the epitome of store-bought mixes… it’s so easy to do, we just don’t know HOW.

By having the recipe available to create your own, you have the time-saving option that the convenient boxes offer, without the cost.

So, here you go! Here is the Faux Bisquick Recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 8 c. flour
  • 1 1/4 c. nonfat dry milk
  • 1/4 c. baking powder
  • 1 T salt
  • 2 c. shortening

Directions: Combine flour, milk powder, baking powder & salt in a very large bowl. Cut in shortening until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Store in tightly closed covered container. Makes about 10 cups.

Voila! There you go!

Now, you can easily make several meal options for any meal of the day 🙂

Good sites to use this with:

ad-bakingmix

Have a great day!
Andrea-sig

Modesty Shorts: What they are and where to get them

Back-to-school shopping is right around the corner! There is no denying it: Little girl outfits are totally adorable. The frilly skirts, the polka dots, the ruffles!!!

When they are young, girl skirts have built in shorts to prevent underwear flashing while little girls hang upside down on the monkey bars at the park. However, it seems that when they hit school-age, these shorts are no longer a part of the skirt and it’s simply “I see London, I see France” for all to see! You know, at the exact age where sitting criss-cross applesauce is expected daily.

If your little fashionista loves dresses like my second minion, you were introduced to this dilemma earlier. For us, our eldest wasn’t incredibly into dresses, so underwear flashing was rarely an issue until she entered kindergarten when she had a uniform that thankfully included skirts with shorts attached!

Now, both girls are in school and my second minion especially can be seen in a dress or skirt daily. The solution we came upon a couple of years ago and have rarely since was what we call modesty shorts.

These are amazing little shorts that girls put on over their underwear and under their skirts/dresses without the bulkiness of that regular shorts can cause.

In school shopping last year, I was on a mission to get a few pair since BOTH my girls were going to be in school. I was very sad to learn that these modesty shorts are not sold in many places. I went to Macy’s, JC Penney, Target, and a variety of other stores with no luck. When I would ask an employee, I would be directed to bike shorts – at $12/each, no thank you! This is not what I want.

Why is it so hard to find a simple pair of shorts to hide my daughters’ underwear?!?

Luckily, my mother-in-law found some at Kohls and called us. We went out that night and bought a few sets. {You can find them in the store or online at Kohls.com.} These are referred to as “bike shorts” or “playground shorts” but are very different from the other stores. I swear they are “modesty shorts.” 🙂

When we checked out, I mentioned to the cashier that I had been searching and searching for these! She mentioned that the other place she knew of with them was Von Maur – but even these are 2T-4T. Seriously?!? No where else? You can look online, but they will come with a hefty price tag.

To me, it should not be so hard to try to preserve our children’s innocence and modesty. I want my girls to be able to go out and do cartwheels and play duck-duck-goose without showing their underwear {or more!} to anyone close by.

So, for those of you looking for these magical underwear hiders, I encourage you to shop Kohls as they appear to have the best price. You can easily get a set of three for $9.99 in various colors {though we stick to the black, white, and grey as these are NOT to be shown off :)}. Add their ever-easy-to-find coupon and save more. The Children’s Place has “Cartwheel Shorts” for just under $4/each.  Old Navy {online ONLY} has some for $5/each as well. Again, there are others online, but some sell for more than $22/each. No thank you.

Plus, it shouldn’t be so hard to help our girls stay modest. Please, please, please department stores, sell these IN STORE so people know they exist.

Have fun this back-to-school season and feel safe knowing your lil’ girl is covered 🙂
andrea-sig

Review: Columbus Main Library Kid Space

The Columbus Library has re-opened after a year of renovations! We explored it today and here is my official review.

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The renovations did a great job of incorporating a new contemporary feel into the original early 1900s ambiance. Sadly, though, with all the renovations, the kid-space fell flat.

Now, I am not saying that it is not a good space for kids, simply that in comparison to what it was, it lost a lot of charm. My minions loved going to the “castle library” and playing with the various interactive play spaces it had. Now, it barely has any!

The new kid-space contains books for ages 0-9 and has a nice layout. The bathrooms are kid-sized {which the minions loved!} and they provide plenty of seating for reading. Unfortunately, they dropped the elements beyond books that little minds require to learn.

Elements NOT brought into the new library kid-space from the old:

  • Dramatic play space. The library used to change out this space monthly to reflect various themes such as a restaurant or post office.
  • Puppet show area. It was a simple stage and basket of puppets and any time we were there, kids were playing here expanding their imagination.
  • Light wall/Magnet board for kids to practice letters and numbers. According to one of the librarians, this is coming soon.
  • Private story time space. I didn’t know this was necessary until we attempted to attend a story time {see below}.
  • Creative play space.  Where are the blocks?!? Simple toys encourage little ones to get creative!
  • Kindergarten assessment center. They had a great center before renovating that told you what a kid is expected to know and then offered little games in order to assess your child. I personally loved this and it didn’t take much space at all.

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So, what IS in the new library kid-space?

  • Tons of books! The organization is fantastic and, let’s face it, we are at a library and this IS the purpose of a library.
  • A lot of computers and tablets. While I do understand the purpose, this was one of the only interactive pieces with which kids could play. I do not go to the library for media time and the number of tablets and computers with little other option was a turn-off for me.
  • Story time. The idea of having this as the first thing you see upon entering is appealing until you realize that one person speaking in a very open space is not very conducive for hearing well. Add to that the kids in the space who are NOT involved in story time and it makes a difficult task of asking preschoolers to focus.
  • Kid-sized potties + a family bathroom. This was a nice touch showing that they put a lot of thought into how to make things easy for parents.
  • Five toys. Literally one puzzle and four toys for toddlers. That’s it. A librarian said they rotate them out, but it seemed like a tease.

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I know that a lot of thought and preparation went into this huge renovation. The hours spent are seen through all the details in the construction and the items that were selected are top-notch. However, in comparison the the old kid-space? I vote for the old.     

With my personality, I am very quick to ask questions. The journalist in me I suppose. Or the nosiness… One of those two, that’s for sure!

I talked with two librarians and was ensured that this was the only kid-space in the library. There are a few elements still in the works such as a smart-board and a light board. They are open to hearing from parents/care givers as to what they can do to make it a better space. This does not mean that every idea will be accepted of course, but feedback is welcome.

I wish I had more positive feedback to give, but sadly, I was very disappointed in the kid-space renovation at the Columbus Public Library downtown. Compared to others in their own network such as Karl Rd., Whetstone, New Albany, it simply falls flat. Not to mention Westerville! If you want to engage kids at a young age to be actively involved at the library, you have to have those intentional elements in order to engage.

I still encourage you to check it out and let me know your thoughts. One great addition is that the library opens to the Topiary Garden in the back. This was a nice walk for the minions and a picnic in the park is always a plus!

Have a great day!

Eric Carle Week

Fingerprinting after reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar from CraftsByCourtney.com

Eric Carle’s birthday is June 25. If you don’t know who he is, I am sure you know his books. He is the beloved author who wrote and illustrated childhood classics such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Grouchy Ladybug and Mr. Seahorse. He also illustrated Brown Bear, Brown Bear and others.

His art is unique and his love for animals is evident throughout his career. His books easily help formulate lesson plans for young minds and for the past few years, we honor his birthday through an “Eric Carle Week” of learning with art, food, games and trips out into nature. {This week is similar to how we celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday as well. Great children authors deserve such respect 🙂 }

A fun activity for The Very Clumsy Click Beetle with races to follow! These little crickets actually move! Thanks Preschool-Creative-Learning.blogspot.com!

I’ve compiled a plethora of ideas on how to commemorate Eric Carle through preschool learning. With a little imagination and some paint, your little ones will enjoy these artistic activities while learning a little about animals and several lessons on math and literacy as well!

We also teach our minions about the author as well when we have a week focused on their work. What makes them unique? Are there any themes to their books? What do you like about them? It engages the kids and reminds them of the person behind the words. Eric Carle’s website will give you a lot of information on him and his books as well as some activity pages of their own!

The Grouchy Ladybug snacks from PowerYourLunchbox.com are easy, delicious and healthy. LOVE!

Did you know that he started illustrating in 1965 and had work published just last year!!!  {I love when I learn from my kids activities 🙂 }

Check out the link below and then go to your library {or better yet, reserve them} and I promise you will have a ton of fun learning about the world of Eric Carle 🙂

>>> Click here to be inspired<<<

Have a great day!
Andrea-sig

Hidden Treasure: Safety Town in New Albany

Looking for something fun and creative that will keep little ones busy for hours at no cost to you? {I know; who isn’t!?!} Safety Town in New Albany is a wonderful getaway for families that can fill your day if you come prepared.

So, this isn’t exactly “hidden” as we’ve known about it for years as have others, but I’ve learned that is “hidden” to those outside of New Albany, so this will be our little secret 😉

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Located across the road from the New Albany K-1 School, Safety Town is designed to teach K-1 students street safety. Literally a miniature version of New Albany, Safety Town is filled with brick buildings, roads, cross walks, and even a road through the woods in order to allow children to learn road safety in a safe space.

When Safety Town is in session, street lights and signs are added to bring the town to life.

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Another perk is the location. Being located just across from the K-1 building, access to the K-1 playground offers another hour of fun! Designed for little people, this is one of the best school playgrounds I have seen! When school is in session, however, this is off limits. Luckily, there is a play park just down the road, next to the water park. Bathrooms, too, are accessible in the picnic pavilion just down the road. There are walking paths just behind the water park as well.

What to pack

In order to make the most out of your time at Safety Town, I recommend packing the following:

  • Bikes, Trikes, and scooters {or anything that moves so that little ones can be “cars” on the roads}
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks
  • Tickets to hand out when little ones break the rules of the road
    • The tickets are fun and they reinforce good habits. Be warned though, on ornery days, kids might be looking for tickets 🙂
  • Picnic lunch for after in the pavilion just down the road {with bathrooms!}

Where is Safety Town

Just across from the New Albany K-1 Elementary Building:
5101 Swickard Woods Blvd
New Albany , OH 43054

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This place is an absolute treasure and my kids love it, as I’m sure yours will as well.

Have fun!

Andrea-sig

No-Stress Resting Time

I don’t know about your family, but my minions do not nap anymore. I’m not certain when the Sandman went from putting my children to sleep at 1:30 p.m. each day to being a villain in the Spider-Man comics, but it has happened. I, for one, was not about to give up my Mom{Me} time each day, however. This mama NEEDS her me time to recharge, clean up and plan for the next day.

Since boycotting naps, we have tried various methods and, luckily, my kids are very good about staying in their rooms and entertaining themselves. My most favorite – and my minions as well – has been the introduction of audio books.

It sounds so simple, and it really is. {My minions are now 7, 6, and 4 – my 4 year old absolutely loves it!}

Audio books have been a staple for us as we have family out of state and my family is accustomed to ten hour car rides – something made very smoothly through the help of audio books. We aren’t anti-media, but find this to be a way we can all listen to a book together and talk about it.

We have listened to various books from The Wizard of Oz to The Chronicles of Narnia to Darth Paper Strikes Back {I highly recommend the Origami Yoda book series to any young Star Wars fans 😊}.

We invested in a set of headphones for each minion and simply check the audio books out from the Westerville Library; their selection of audio books in both CD and Playaways is phenomenal!!!

iHeartRadioFamily also has some great channels that play nothing but stories. We just discovered this and the kids have been requesting that this week. Aesop’s fables, 1001 Tales, and many more! I simply place my iPad/iPhone in a central location and turn on the stories.

We have discovered some wonderful book series this way. The Whatever After book series tells the real stories of Disney Princesses in a fun way and, as mentioned earlier, Origami Yoda is a family hit! Many weekend mornings, the minions all meet in the eldest’s room and let us sleep in!!! {Bonus!!!}

Now, I know that all kids do not have the book obsession as mine do, but this may be something to consider if you are looking for a way to have some added “quiet time” to your schedule.

Enjoy your quiet!

Andrea-sig