Planning Summer: Theme Days

Not one of my parenting priorities, but just something fun: theme days.  Having theme days allows to do a variety of different things under a certain theme.  This keeps the kids busy and sometimes allows me to be more closely involved with their play.  Here are some of the theme days we have planned for this summer:

First Day of Summer Party
Construction Day
Craft Day
Yard Game Day
Sports Day
Splash Day
Spa Day
Last Day of Summer Party

I always plan for plenty–that way, when I don’t get to all of them, we still remember the ones we were able to have fun with.  Our favorite: Spa Day!  Last year, each of the kids invited a friend over, and we painted nails, made homemade chocolate face masks, and did some hair.  This is another MUST DO for this year!

What are some of your favorite themes?

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Planning Summer: Getting Outside

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Another item of great importance to me and my parenting style is exercise.  I have always struggled with my weight, and there are several weight-related diseases that run in my family.  It is my goal to encourage active behavior early in life so that my kids live a healthy lifestyle as adults.  Because of that, I like to make sure I get the kids outside to play.  I also remember some of my greatest fun as a kid being outside.  I hate to have my kids staring at the TV all day when they could be running around.  Here’s what we are planning to do this summer to encourage that behavior:

Camp out in the back yard
Roast hot dogs
Make s’mores
Corn roast
Go roller skating (this will probably be on our sidewalk)
Fun day at the park
Start a water fight
Picnic at the creek
Watch the birds
Plant a garden
Catch bugs (be careful with this one–last year, Rapunzel caught a bee!)

Our #1 outdoor activity is the local parks’ summer program.  Every year, they set up little platforms at various local parks, and you have to follow the directions provided to find them.  Each one has a piece of plastic on it with an image cut out, and the object is to place a piece of paper over the image and color it with crayon so that it shows up on the paper.  The goal is to get all of these, and we have for the last two years in a row.  It sounds easy, but they change up the parks every year, some trails are fairly difficult, and some can be over 2 miles.  We spend most of our time over the summer on this, and we have many great experiences from the last two years (too many to mention!).  Check with your local library and park programs; maybe you have something similar in your area!

What do you like to do outside with your kids over the summer?

Planning for Summer: Being Creative

One of the most important things to me when parenting my children is encouraging their creativity and the creative process.  Since the start of my parenting journey, I’ve been all for creative play: less about the toys that do things for you and more about the dolls and legos, crayons, paper, etc.  Apparently I did a good job of this too, because my kids have this knack for making just about anything using paper and an ENTIRE roll of tape.

So that being said, of course I am all for encouraging creativity throughout the summer.  Here are some of the things we plan to do to keep those creative juices flowing:

Make our own bubbles
Blow those bubbles
Find shapes in the clouds
Write in your journal
Learn a dance
Make a video
Create a collage using pictures from magazines
Play with sidewalk chalk
Create a photo booth and take pictures
Make oobleck and play with it
Use your imagination day!
Build a fort
Write a story
Draw pictures to go with your story
Make a sock puppet
Put on a show with your sock puppet

I’d also like to visit two area arts festivals over the summer as well.  It looks like a huge list, but when you space things out and group some of the smaller things together, it really isn’t too much when your kids are home all summer.  Better building that creativity than having their face in a cell phone!

I still have a couple of days to fill.  What creative things do you like do with your kids?

Sometimes You Just Need a Day Off

For those working Momma’s out there…sometimes…(and I hope you realize it) you just need a day off.  If I share anything in common with any of the other working moms out there in the world, I could probably bet that many of you hate taking a day off.  For some of you, it just means there’s that much to catch up on when you get back to work.  For others, it might mean that your short on pay for a day.  I have been both of those.

But really, no matter what your situation (and I can say this, because I’ve worked full time, stayed at home, and worked part time–sometimes all at the same time and sometimes at different times–at some point in my life), you JUST NEED TO TAKE A DAY OFF.

What prompted me to write this today was Wednesday.  I drove all the way over to work only to realize that I forgot my key.  And being the only employee with official hours on Wednesday this week (I work at a small church), there just wasn’t anyone to let me in.  As I drove back home to get my key, I tossed around different scenerios in my head.  When would I make up that forty minutes I just lost?  Do I just call it a day?  Do I work late?  After weighing my options, I just decided to call in.  (Please keep in mind that you can’t just take off whenever you want–unless, of course, you are your own boss–but check in with the boss first to make sure it’s approved!)

Now back to WHY I needed the day off: I made the mistake earlier this week of thinking my workload this week had lightened since Easter.  Not so much.  Since I try to save as much money as possible by shopping at different places depending on deals and coupons, I had several places to go.  I had meat to separate in the basement refrigerator (we buy in bulk), Sunday School items to prepare, among other things to take care of.  So i took the morning to prepare my lists and head out to the various stores.

Thank goodness I did, or I never would have gotten everything done!

If you’re behind at home, and it’s stressing you out; if it’s affecting your mood; if you’re just worn down; if you just need one day without someone needing you every second…find a babysitter, call in sick…just take the day off.  Your kids (and probably your husband, if you have one) will thank you for it.

Sore Throats Soothers

I had every intention of writing last week, but alas, my plans were foiled once again.  I hope all of you out there in the world had a better week than I did!

My week started out with an infection, mid-way through I caught the stomach bug, and on Friday I picked up a sore throat…which I found out today is strep throat.  Which I also found out today Rapunzel has…along with pinkeye.  We are just a mess over here.  I think I will be disinfecting my house soon.

Well in the meantime I was searching some good remedies for sore throats.  The most popular remedies for sore throat pain:

  • Vinegar (you’ll most often find apple cider vinegar)
  • Lemon Juice
  • Cinnamon
  • Honey
  • Lozenges or Lollipops

You’ll even find one remedy that calls for 2 tsp. of vinegar, 2 tsp. of lemon juice, 2 tsp. of honey, and a dash of cinnamon in a cup of hot water.  Let me just say–you have to do this only if you are desperate!  It worked after about an hour or so and lasted another hour or so, but this combination pushed me very close to the edge of throwing up.  I’d almost rather drink them all separately.

Lozenges and lollipops work, because they cause your mouth to create more saliva, coating the throat.  I found gum helps me as well.

If you’re congested too:

Humidifiers are often recommended to release some congestion.  Strangely enough, I’ve heard that rubbing Vicks on your feet alleviates congestion, though most often we will rub it on our chest.

If you’re dealing with a sore throat right now, I hope some of these tips will help ease your pain!  Feel to comment some of your tried and true remedies!