Monday, December 5, 2011

KGO-The Loss of a Local Landmark

On December 1st 2011 the bay area lost a landmark. Every body's favorite news talk radio station completely disemboweled themselves and fired the majority of their popular talk-show hosts.  With no warning at all. No warning to their staff and no warning to their loyal listeners.  This blog post by a media insider explains it best. 

I realize I just lost some readers who cannot understand why I would write about something so silly as a radio station changing their format, but this station was over 30 years old.  I am 41 years old, as of today, and I have been listening to this station since I was a child. It has been a constant, just like watching Saturday Night Live or The Simpsons. You tune in and they are there, always. KGO was a landmark of the bay area. 

KGO fired all of their talent and now just do news 24/7, with the exception of their 9a-Noon program, which I will discuss later. (grumble, grumble). The bay area is a diverse, even eclectic micro-climate of micro-climates. You can visit the beach and then some snow, in one day, if there is a light dusting on our bay area mountain peaks. You can witness the Tea Party of Contra Costa County and visit a Nuclear Free Zone in Berkeley, all in one day.  The former KGO was a perfect example of this diversity. You may not like every host, agree with every host, but they were real people with real opinions and they were all the best of the industry. And now they are gone. The station is now generic news. Generic does not represent anything about the bay area. 

But wait, not all of their talk show hosts are gone! We still have Ronn Owens from 9am-Noon. Who is currently on vacation for two weeks so don't bother tuning in to him yet.  On the first day of this format he pleaded with his listeners to give the new format a chance and he said he would set aside some time for people to call in and discuss this drastic change. Uhm, 20 minutes of call in time. Over 30 years of content and we get 20 minutes of grieving time. I have always been a huge fan of Ronn Owen's until Friday December 2nd.  His "concern" was so insincere, so contrived. When a caller started to bemoan the loss of all those talented hosts Ronn Owens actually said, "You still have me.". He just doesn't get it. KGO is not just Ronn Owens, it was a total package. 

Now the package has been ripped to shreds and will soon completely disintegrate. I am not being overly dramatic, in the wake of this horrible business move made by Cumulus quite a few Facebook and twitter accounts have sprung anew lamenting the loss of our local talent. We are peons next to this corporate giant but our pleas are not futile.  Some sponsors have already suspended their accounts;
        Thank you so much for writing and I guess taking a look at the Gene
Burns/KGO page on our website. We are just as shocked as you and just as
upset. I am the advertising agency for both Just Remnants and Burgermeister.
All advertising on KGO for both clients was suspended at 9:00 am this

I was one of the first advertisers to recognize the genius of Gene Burns
some 16 years ago.
I am heartbroken after a 37 year relationship with KGO and a 50 + year
relationship with Mickey Luckoff and a 16 year personal relationship with


And angry loyal fans are pressuring other advertisers to do the same. 

KGO will never be the same but if they work hard to hire back their dearly missed hosts, and go back to the format we loved, we may just be able to forgive them.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekly < 30 minute Recipe #12

Teriyaki Turkey Burgers are one of my favorite meals. They are yummy served over rice but that bumps up the points a lot. So you can serve them over lettuce.

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 egg
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
8 Tbs. Teriyaki sauce (like Kikkoman's)
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
can of pineapple rings in juice, with 8 Tbs. juice reserved
electric skillet if you have one
Romaine or green leaf lettuce as much as you want.

Put turkey in bowl, make a well and crack egg into it. Take off your rings and squish it all up. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder, squish a little more and form 4 patties. Pre-heat skillet to med-high heat. Whisk Teriyaki sauce, ginger and pineapple juice together in bowl.

Brown each burger 1-2 minutes each side in skillet. Reduce heat to low or simmer on electric skillet. Pour at least 2 Tbs. of sauce over each burger, and simmer with lid on for 2 minutes. Flip burgers and pour 2 more Tbs. of sauce (that should finish it off) over each burger and simmer for 2 more minutes with lid on so the sauce doesn't boil off. Check center of burger to make sure it's not pink. Serve over lettuce topped with a pineapple ring.

Turkey burger with egg is 4.5 points, the sauce for each burger is 1.5 points, each pineapple ring is 1/2 a point. Lettuce is zero points. So one turkey burger with pineapple and lettuce is 6.5 points.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Reader's Choice; Regrets.

I have had writer's block lately. That thing called life keeps getting in the way. I asked my "fans" on my Facebook page to inspire me and give me some topics.  Both Clare and Jen asked if I had any regrets or if I could go back in a time machine what year would I change. 

The answer is no.  Every decision I have made, or experience that I have had, has made me the person I am today and I don't want to change that.  Even the bad stuff, because it's better the devil you know, than the devil you don't. 

I have been mulling about this topic all morning. When this happens my brain turns into a cable news channel. No matter what is happening on the main screen there is a line of words continuously scrolling across the bottom. I am engaged with my present life but there is that scroll of words, which are my thoughts, just moving and changing as I edit out or in what I am going to blog about later.

At first I thought I am going to list every decision or experience I have ever had and blog about why I don't regret it. But as I did a mental review of my life I got bored, sad, and embarrassed. I realized any readers were going to have those same feelings. I can handle you being sad or embarrassed but not bored! 

This blog is supposed to be about moms not easily offended by the realities of life so I decided to be real. No fluffy stuff. If you can't handle that right now then you are welcome to bail and go read Moms Who Drink and Swear (my favorite). 

I am going to write about experiences and decisions I have made, but only since becoming a mother. So as to keep it brief, and not bore the shit out of everyone. Below will be a list of the topics:

Having kids
Getting pregnant on my honeymoon
Not breastfeeding beyond 6 months
Getting a nanny even though I am a stay-at-home-mom
Abortion/Autism/The big V
Buying this house
Starting my blog
Quitting the Mom's Club before getting kicked out of it
Mike's diagnosis
Re-joining the Mom's Club
Almost losing my colon
Right now

If you are starting to get bored already I will just tell that the question is do I regret any of these and the answer is no. But if you want to know why then read on.

Having kids: For those who have known me pre marriage I used to say that I didn't want to have kids at all.  And I meant it. But that's because I never met a man who I thought was capable of being a good father.  Then I found Erik. Problem solved, he is a kick ass dad, husband and my best friend. 

Getting pregnant on my honeymoon: I don't regret that though it was surprising and a tad inconvenient.  I was wearing maternity clothes and still sending out thank you cards for wedding gifts. 

Not breastfeeding beyond 6 months: I only lasted this long with Mike because he was a bad sucker and I mostly pumped and fed him breast milk from a bottle anyways. And I wouldn't have gotten pregnant with Bekah if I had continued to breastfeed him.  I only lasted 6 months with Bekah because I needed to go on an antibiotic for  2 weeks so I just quit. I lasted 10 months with Jake because he was a good sucker and by then I could nurse and walk around and yell at the other two.

Getting a nanny: LOSER! You are a stay-at-home-mom and you have a nanny how fucking lazy are you?! This is what I used to think about women with nannies. Then when Bekah was 5 weeks old I was nursing her and Mike got mad because Sesame Street ended so he launched himself off the couch, did a flip, landed on his head, held his breath and passed out. I thought he was going to be a paraplegic.  I put Bekah on the floor and dialed 9-1-1.  Mike was of course fine and showed the super cute firemen his firetruck.  I was still in my jammies with milk leaking from my breasts and generally looked like shit. The next day I started the search for a nanny and I never looked back. When you find the right person to care for your kids you realize that there is nothing wrong with another person loving your children. 

Abortion/Autism/The big V: Life was perfect! I had a boy, I had a girl, my husband's practice was going great, our house had gone up in value and then blam I got pregnant again!  The birth control pill failed me for the first time in my life. I was NOT going to have 3 kids all under the age of 3 years old and all in diapers, oh hell no!!!!! But my husband talked me out of it, he said,"Families who can afford to feed their kids don't have abortions.". And I am glad I listened. He did schedule a vasectomy that day to be done in the future.

Some of you may be thinking that, "Wow she chose to have her son and then he ended up having Autism. I wonder if she regrets that.". No. He's the cutest one.  I don't regret, I don't resent. His dimples, big brown eyes and blonde curls are those of an angel. And that's what he is. A mystery, a challenge, an angel. Every day I am a better person because of him. That doesn't mean I don't yell at him like I do to my other two but sometimes when nobody is looking I give him extra candy. He's my baby. He's my heart walking outside of my body that I will never be able to fully protect.  

Please watch this video while I go dab my eyes. It never fails to make me laugh.

 Buying this house: I miss my old  house. It had a giant grassy yard with tons of trees. But it was too small for our growing family. So we put it up for sale, and selling that house and moving into this house, which tanked in value almost did me in.  I started to bite my fingernails for the first time in my life.  Keeping a house clean enough to sell with 3 kids under the age of 3 was brutal and then moving and unpacking......actually I never finished unpacking and we have been here for 4 years. But we have a bigger house and someday the value will be regained. And our old house was perfect for the family that moved into it. 

Anti-depressants: Shortly after we moved into this house I started to wean Jake. I had gotten pregnant so quickly after having Bekah and Mike that I never experienced any post-partum "feelings".  I really thought I had escaped it, and I was so happy because that sure didn't look fun. And then I weaned Jake and my body was not nursing and not pregnant for the first time in 3 years. I won't share the gory details, if you have been there yourself you don't want to hear it anyways. I used to think anti-depressants were for weak people. IDIOT!!!! I will never go off of them, ever. If momma ain't happy then ain't nobody happy.

Starting my blog:  I had another blog before this, "You Sure Do Have Your Hands Full." Erik suggested I write to help me get stuff off my chest.  Marrying him was the best choice I ever made even though he created a monster with the whole blog thing. It was a great idea but it got me in trouble and that blog is private now. Read below.

Quitting the Mom's Club before getting kicked out: I promise not to rehash this embarrassing episode of my life.  You can read about it here. I don't regret that because I wouldn't have started this blog. 

Mike's Diagnosis: March 2 years ago my oldest son was diagnosed with ADHD and Sensory Processing disorder and my youngest was diagnosed with Autism. Not a good month. I went through all the stages of denial etc. etc. and now I look at Mike's diagnosis as a gift and Jake's as a challenge. All my children are gifts I don't deserve.

Re-joining the Mom's Club: Yep after all that drama I asked to return. I still had a young one at home and he needed socialization.  I am totally glad I did even if I had to swallow my pride.

Almost losing my colon: The last year and a 1/2 were the worst for my health.  I have Ulcerative Colitis and almost lost my colon. Last ditch switch to a new medication and I am totally happy and healthy again. 

Right now: I am good! I am healthy, so are my kids.  All of them are excelling in school and we are taking Jake to a developmental pediatrician to get a more detailed treatment plan. My husband is moving into a brand new office and even though he is a grouchy ass nervous wreck right now, it's going to be wonderful.  I have an awesome support system of friends and family and I am so grateful for everything in my life. 

I don't regret anything. Here is a song to express my feelings. 

Wait for it.......right after the minute mark and it's worth it. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Stupid Assholes

Do you ever get really frustrated with your atypical child?  Most of the time you are patient, but sometimes you wish for a kid who doesn't think outside of the box.  Can't they just be a jock/cheerleader kid and not a blue-spiky-haired kid?

You draw a deep breath and look away only to see another parent look at your child with a disdainful look.  WTF?  Whoa Nellie!  I can be irritated with my child but you need to be grateful to be breathing the same oxygen as my kid!!

And 20 years from now when your kid turns over their paycheck to you for rent money you will see my kids signature on the bottom. 

That is all.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Week of Weight Watcher's Menus #2

Monday of this week I had a laproscopy to get rid of some endometriosis.  It was outpatient and minor, but I still had to rest and I can't lift anything heavy, like children or a basket full of laundry. The best part of this week was getting rid of the endometriosis and the 2nd best part of this week was getting a meal delivered every night! I have a wonderful and supportive group of friends and they have been feeding my family all week. Everything has been sinfully delicious. But of course no exercise and large portions of comfort food is not good for the waistline. 

I won't be ready for the gym by next week but I have to start being strict with my diet, or else I could pass for Santa by the time December rolls around.  So below is a re-post of a week of Weight Watchers inspired meals.  Wish me luck.

Monday, Monday

Breakfast=1 cup plain instant oatmeal with 3/4 cup blueberries=3 pts. Coffee with FF vanilla creamer=1pt.

Lunch= can of low-fat lentil soup and bag of pre-shredded carrots, simmer until carrots are tender, top with FF sour cream 2 Tbs.=5 pts. 1 small orange=0 pt.

Snack choices= All of these are zero points: 10 baby carrots, 1 side salad with FF Italian dressing, 1 small orange or peach. 1 points each: 1 slice canadian bacon, 5 cups over 90% FF popcorn, 1 slice FF cheese, 1 small whole wheat pita, 2 squares graham crackers, 1/2 cup cooked shrimp,1/2 cup cooked oatmeal,1/2 cup light yogurt,1 4inch pancake made from a mix, 1 medium apple, orange or pear.

Dinner= French Dip Roast Beef Sandwich 7 pts.

Recipe= 1 8oz. loaf French bread, cut in 1/2 horizontally, then vertically into 4 equal slices to make 8 pieces total

12 oz. cooked lean roast beef deli meat thinly sliced

2 cups low fat beef broth

Heat 2 cup Pyrex cup of beef broth in microwave, make 4 sandwiches with 1.5 oz beef each sandwich. Pour 1/4 cup of warm broth into 4 ramekins (little bowls) and dip your sandwich in broth and chow down. Horseradish is 0 points if you want to spread some on your sandwich.

Steam 1.5 cups of carrots and 1/2 cup broccoli florets=1 pt.

1 cup green grapes= 1 pt.

Taco Tuesday

Breakfast=2 toasted low-fat frozen waffles topped with 2 TBs low calorie syrup= 4pts.

Lunch= 2oz lean ham, 1 slice low-fat Swiss cheese on reduced calorie rye bread (2 slices) lettuce, tomato, and mustard=5 pts. 1 medium sliced apple=1pt.

Snack choices= 12 almonds= 2 pts., 1/2 cup FF frozen yogurt 2 pts.

Dinner=Turkey Taco Salad

Recipe: 1 lb. lean ground turkey
15 oz can of black beans
low sodium Taco seasoning packet
1 heaping Tbs. FF sour cream, per person
1/4 cup shredded cheese (or less, per person)
small handful crushed tortilla chips, per person
red or green FF salsa to taste

Follow instructions on back of Taco seasoning packet. Before simmering add 1 can drained black beans. Pile as much lettuce as you want on your plate load up a 1/2 cup of turkey mixture onto plate,add salsa to taste, crush the chips, sprinkle the cheese and top with sour cream. 9.5 points per person

Corona Lite with lime= 2 points

Husband Home Late Wednesday

Breakfast= 3/4 cup Honey Nut Cheerios and 1/2 cup skim milk with small sliced banana= 4 pts.

Lunch=Leftover Turkey Taco Salad

Snack = 0 pts. veggie soup with one slice 2% milk swiss cheese melted on top=2pts

Dinner= Any frozen WW entree, or Eating Right, or Lean Cuisine (most of them have WW points listed right on the box) 7 pts. Very large glass of wine = 3 pts.

Thirsty Thursday

Breakfast= Pina Colada Smoothie (from WW website)
I broke my blender but this smoothie sounds worth buying another. Do not add rum until kids are in school.

16 oz canned pineapple, packed in juice, chunks, undrained
6 oz frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup(s) light coconut milk

1 cup(s) ice cube(s)
Combine ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth, adding more ice cubes if necessary to create a thick purée. Pour into 4 tall glasses and serve. Yields about 1 cup per serving. 3 pts. per serving.

Lunch=0 points veggie soup with melted 2% milk swiss cheese, large salad with 4 slices of 97% FF smoked deli ham chopped and 2 Tbs. light Ranch dressing=5 pts.

Snack=1 oz bag of Sun Chips Harvest Cheddar flavor= 3pts.

Dinner= Trader Joe's Mandarin Orange Chicken= 5 pts. per 1 cup serving

Hot and Sour Soup (off of WW website)
POINTS® Value: 1Servings: 6Preparation Time: 15 minCooking Time: 10 minLevel of Difficulty: Easy


4 cup(s) fat-free chicken broth
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp Asian hot sauce, or chili paste, or to taste (or Tabasco and Asian fish sauce mixed together)

2 cup(s) shiitake mushroom(s), sliced (or pre-sliced white mushrooms)

1/3 cup(s) bamboo shoots, sliced (optional)

9 oz firm tofu, about 1 cup, diced
1 Tbsp cornstarch, mixed with 2 tbsp water
1 Tbsp soy sauce

2 green onions , sliced
In a soup pot, stir together broth, vinegar, hot sauce, soy sauce, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and tofu. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in cornstarch and simmer 2 minutes more.
Serve, sprinkling each bowl with sliced scallions. Yields about 1 cup per serving. 1 pt. per serving.

Drive-Thru Friday*

I do not condone hitting the drive-thru 3 times in one day, but just in case you are having one of those days I have listed the most common foods to help you make reasonable choices. Or not. With WW you do have that extra 35 points a week option, which leaves a window open for mistakes/parties/PMS.

Breakfast= McDonald's= Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait w/low-fat yogurt without granola= 3pts.
Egg McMuffin=6 pts.
Sausage McMuffin= 9 pts.
Bacon,Egg and cheese biscuit= 11 pts.

Starbucks= all brewed coffee, any size= 0 points
Grande Non-fat Mocha without whip= 5 pts. my fave until I found out the points
Grande Cappucino w/non-fat milk=2 pts.
Grande Latte w/non-fat milk=3 pts.

Lunch= Burger Kind= Orig. Whopper w/mayo=9 pts.
Orig. Whopper w/out mayo= 7 pts.
Orig. Whopper w/cheese but w/out mayo= 15 pts.
Med. fries=8 pts.
Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich w/honey mustard or bbq sauce= 9 pts.

Taco Bell= Fresco Burrito Supreme chicken or beef= 7 pts.
beef burrito supreme= 10 pts.
Chalupa Baja beef= 10 pts.
Cheese Quesadilla=12 pts.

Snack choice= Heaven is paved with McDonald's french fries. When I was pregnant with Michael I hit the drive-thru so often the guy began to recognize me so I changed McDonald's.
Small fries= 5 pts.
Medium fries= 8 pts.
Large fries = 12 pts.

Dinner= In-N-Out Burger= Hamburger with onion=9 pts.
Cheeseburger with onion= 11 pts.
Double-Double with onion= 16 pts.
Fries= 9 pts.
All flavors of shakes= 17 pts.

Scrounging Saturday

Breakfast=choices from week above.

Lunch= finish off all of those leftovers.

Snack choices= check the week above.

Dinner= Same as lunch.

Comfort Food Sunday

Breakfast=scrambled egg, 1 slice Canadian style bacon, 1 cup grapes= 4 pts.

Lunch= WW Mac and Cheese= 5 pts.

Snack choices= 8 celery stalks with 1/2 cup of salsa has 90 calories, 1 gram of fat and 7 grams of fiber for a POINTS value of 1., 15 baked lays= 2 pts.

Dinner=Meatloaf Muffins Servings…12 servings(From WW website)

1 lb. ground turkey or ground beef
1 package Stove Top Stuffing
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper chopped fine
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 egg whites or ¼ c. egg beaters
1 c. hot water
1 pkg onion soup mix
1/4 cup of ketchup

Mix stove top and water in a large bowl, stir with fork until moistened. In another bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. Add stuffing to mixture. Fill sprayed muffin tins almost to the top with mixture. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. 2.5 points per muffin.

Parmesan Mashed Potatoes


10 medium potato(es), red (about 2 1/2 lbs)
1/2 cup(s) buttermilk, warmed (if you don't have buttermilk just add a tsp. of lemon juice)
3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, strong-flavored, grated

1/4 cup(s) chives, chopped
1 tsp table salt
1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with an inch of water; bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer and cook until fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and return potatoes to pot.
Mash potatoes with a potato masher. Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well to combine. Yields about 2/3 cup per serving. 2 pts. per serving 8 servings

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What It's Like

Below is a picture of my 3 monkeys.  My four year old on the far right is named Jacob and he has Autism.  He's beautiful. 

I get a lot of emails and Facebook postings in regards to Autism in an attempt to educate myself about my son's condition.  I don't read all of them and I rarely watch a video. Today I did, and I am so glad. It's hard to explain how it feels to have a child with Autism and not everyone has the same experience. I find it hard to put my feelings about my son into words. I don't want to get emotional or sound flippant, I don't want pity and I don't want to make others feel uncomfortable. Questions are welcome, parenting advice is not. 

The video I watched today.......nailed it. At least for me. This father, without using spoken words, said exactly what I feel. And when he held up the notecard that says, "They came to our house.", my tears started flowing. Ugh, I hate crying sooo much! But that day those people came to my house to assess Jacob was, excuse my language, absolutely shitty!

In fact the experience inspired me to write a poem, not something you will usually get from me unless it's more like a dirty limerick. I copied my poem below this video. Will you watch it for me?  Will you read my poem? I appreciate you.

A deep, searing breath
a retching cough
rub my eyes
tuck a curl behind my ear
wipe the hot tears off my cheeks
3 faces swimming in my living room
telling me my youngest needs further assesment forAutism
I scoop up my son
I offer them coffee and fudge
he sings Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star into my ear
I squeeze him and rock him
I glance at the clock
one face asks me if I need to leave to pick up my other kids
I say no we have 30 minutes
He laughs, looks at his colleagues and says, "We rocked this.".
Another face grimaces and asks me if I have questions.
Can you be wrong?
Can somebody else with more letters behind their surname
deliver better news?
And once my child suceeds beyond all expectations
can his records be sealed so nobody can ever label him?
I need to go to bed,
I need to drive,
I need to drink,
I need to go to the beach and feel the sand beneath my toes,
I need the sound of the surf in my ears,
I need the cold wind to bring fresh tears to my eyes.
I need to yell,
I need to kick,
I need to hit,
And I can't.
I am a mother
and I have to maintain.
I have to smile.
I have to love.
Jump through hoops.
I need help.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vote for me, me, me!! Please.

If ever I have made you laugh, cry in a good way, made you spit some liquid out, say, "No shit.", "Amen Sister." No way fuck that!" outloud, made you mad, offended you, or just made you smirk appreciatively please go vote for me. 

Push the big button or the small link above to take you to the very easy voting page.
Grassy Ass
N.E.O. Mom

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Farrah, My Hair Icon, R.I.P.

Can you believe it's been 2 years since she died?! This is something I wrote on my old blog "You Sure Do Have Your Hands Full". 

With all the events going on in the world right now writing about the passing of Farrah Fawcett may seem shallow. But I loved her! I was born in 1970 and any girl born of that era wanted Farrah Fawcett hair. So feathery and full. See photo of me below for why this was an unattainable dream.

It was so unfair. My mom has a perm in this picture, her hair is straight, couldn't I have straight hair? Just so that I could curl it with a curling iron like all my girlfriends. Kellie, Linda, my cousin Crissy's hair was to die for. Look at my brothers! Blonde and blue-eyed! A complete injustice!!

I loved you so much Farrah! You were on Charlie's Angels for only one season and that is the only season I ever watched.

I tried to straighten my hair with perms, a blow dryer, and once horrible chemicals that made my hair fall out in chunks. But I still held on desperately to the straight pieces of hair that didn't fall out, and combed them over the bald spots. I did this against everyone's advice until a mean 8th grade boy asked me if I had been in a fire. I finally got a haircut.

At least in my high school years the spiral perm started to take off and I was such an angry teen that I started to care less about looking like everyone else.

But I was never angry at Farrah.

I finally waved the white flag of surrender, and my hair called a truce.

And now that I am older there are actually hair products for my hair. So we are good.

Farrah 62 years is too young to die. And to suffer from such an "unglamorous" cancer. I am so sorry, you deserved to die painlessly. But you were still so beautiful. Now I can only wish to be as gorgeous as you when I am 62. Rest In Peace, now you really are an angel.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My Son Will Never Be a Mountain Climber

Well we attempted a weekend vacation in beautiful Truckee, CA but my oldest puked his guts out.  

It started Saturday morning when he got up at 5am, ugh.  He usually gets up at 7a, and an inability to sleep is a symptom of altitude sickness.  But I didn't know that, I just thought he was being a pain in the ass. 

Then Auntie M. bought them a big box of Captain Crunch which my kids have never eaten and Mike could barely gag it down! That caused me a little concern because he loves sugar. 

The clincher was right before we were to leave for a day at Lake Tahoe he puked.  So everyone left and I stayed with Mike who was crying and begging to go to the beach.  I told him if he could keep some applesauce down we would go to the beach. He ate some applesauce and I set the timer and watched him.  He said he was great so we headed for the beach. 

25 minutes into our drive we passed the sign stating that we just passed 7,000 ft. elevation.  I looked in my rearview mirror and Mike was green. "Buddy do you need to throw up?" , "Yes mommy.".  Oh shit I am on a two-lane semi-rural highway looking for a place to pull over. I found it too late! Poor Mike spewed applesauce all over the inside of our van.  He got each row and the side of van as well once he made it out. And all over himself. All I had to clean him up was a few flimsy wipes and some socks. Gross!!

We turned around and went  back to the cabin.  Where he bathed and I scrubbed the van. Thankfully Bekah and Jake went ahead to the beach with Auntie M. so while Mike watched t.v. and barfed again all over the master bathroom, I packed up. I had no desire to do this all weekend. 

 Great Uncle Les was traveling with us and is a doctor so he called in some anti-nausea pills for Mike. And they brought those back with them to the cabin.  Mike immediately swallowed one and then all 3 kids started to cry about having to leave. Heartbreaking. 

Auntie M. volunteered to keep Bekah for the weekend and I loaded up my tearful boys.  Mike was able to eat some mini-pretzels on the way home and kept them down.  I made it home from Truckee in 2.5 hours, I flew! Now Sunday he is eating everything in sight and bouncing off the walls. Since nobody else is vomiting it's obvious that it was indeed altitude sickness and not a stomach bug or food poisoning. And the link below supports my uneducated diagnosis. 

Beach vacations only from here on out!!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pacifier Vs. Dirty Sock

Before you have kids most people know that you are going to be dealing with a lot of poop. Then you become a parent and realize you had no idea just exactly how many different bodily fluids you have to deal with on a daily basis. Then you become a seasoned parent and build up an immunity to grossness. Nothing seems to make you squeamish anymore. Yesterday I found something that made me very squeamish.

We went to the usual weekend little kid's birthday gathering with mandatory jumpy house in the backyard. Jake's shoes were off due to the jumpy house and he managed to make a few runs of the backyard in his socks so they got very dirty. He was very tired after the party and on his way home instead of popping a binkie (pacifier) into his mouth he peeled off one of his filthy socks and stuck it in his mouth! Retch!

Jake is 3 rows back in the mini-van so I couldn't reach him to tear the offending sock out of his mouth and I was driving so I couldn't climb back there. Erik can't turn around in a moving vehicle because he gets car sick. I was forced to look at the below image everytime I looked in my rearview mirror. Gag!

As soon as I got home I snuck that hideous thing out of his mouth. And took a picture of it. The toes of the sock were in his mouth and he was actually sucking on it like a pacifier. This nice family owns a large dog so you can just imagine the things that sock picked up. Heave!

I guess it's nice to know that I have not become as jaded as I thought I had. Maybe having a 4th child will finally make me immune to all things disgusting. Hurl!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I Should Be Cleaning The Kitchen

The pic above are my 3 monkeys right before my oldest turned 7 years old. Every spring their birthdays line up.  The first year this happened, 1,2,3 years old, I took a picture of them holding up their ages and now I am committed to doing that every spring as long as they will let me. 

We hit a recent milestone.  With his goofy 3 missing teeth smile my oldest refused to kiss me good-bye in public this morning. I didn't cry but when I pick him up from camp this afternoon I am going to grab him and give him a big smooch. Payback for all the times he has farted, burped and yelled inappropriate words in public.

My youngest son just stuck a handful of coins in the oven. I don't know why he does that. Thankfully he only does it when the oven is off.

My daughter brought a Christmas stocking full of doll clothes to school this morning. We are Jewish and it's July. I like to choose my battles wisely. Otherwise known as too tired to fight about it. 

My husband and I like to add our own dialogue to The Bacherlorette reality show. It's R-rated and funny as hell. To the two of us.

OK I feel better.  The garbage disposal is dead after much abuse, so I guess I gotta take care of that. And clean the damn kitchen.  The floor is sticky like a movie theater.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The 10 Rules For Being a N.E.O. Mom

1. NEO Moms promote a positive body image to their children.

2. NEO Moms get along with their parenting partner most of the time.

3. NEO Moms support a person's right to choose.

4. NEO Moms are patriotic.

5. NEO Moms like to party, laugh and just generally have a good time.

6. NEO Moms support, protect, and nurture their children.

7. NEO Moms expect their children to behave most of the time, especially in public.

8. NEO Moms take care of themselves.

9. NEO Moms have common sense priorities.

10. NEO Moms don't always follow the rules.

Ok so now I need to add some explanation to these rules.

1. Don't worry I don't expect you to feed your kids tofu and sprouts and make them do Yoga. What I mean by promoting a positive body image is don't be anorexic or obese. That's all. And I feel that I can speak with some authority on this issue because I have been both a size 16 and now I am somewhere between a 4 and a 6. But we all know women's clothing sizes are a scam so in reality I probably used to be a size 20 and now I am a size 8.

So what I am saying is that you just have to be as healthy as you can be for your kid's sake. Because if I didn't have kids I would be eating whatever I wanted and swilling alcohol and who knows what else. But now that I have 3 dependents I have to eat stuff like salad and get all gross and sweaty exercising. It's very important that I watch all 3 of them graduate college and of course my daughter will need me to take over all of her wedding planning.

2. I chose the term parenting partner because not all of us have a legal spouse. You may have a boyfriend or a lesbian lover or be single. I really don't care but my point was that you need to get along with them most of the time especially in front of your children. Domestic abuse is not cool.

3. Choice is important to me and to pretty much any mother who doesn't get offended easily. And I have a wide definition for rule #3. So I may lose some women with this, but I am including a woman's right to choose to terminate a pregnancy as a valid and respected choice.

I won't stop there though, a NEO Mom also respects a woman's right to breast-feed or not, to work or stay-at-home with the kids, to pierce their daughter's earrings or to circumcise their sons. It's really none of your damn business what other moms do if it is not hurting their child or your's. And real moms know this. A not easily offended mother knows that with every decision a mother makes, there are wakeful nights, and long discussions, and reading through baby books. It's never easy.

4. Ok so some of my friends are like WTF?! Yes that's right I am unapologetically patriotic and I think this is a very good rule. I get goose bumps and teary-eyed every time I hear the National Anthem. I love this country and it's people and it's founding prinicples. A lot of people think America sucks right now but it's our govt. that sucks not our people. So does patriotic mean you have to fly the flag in front of your house to be a NEO Mom? No, look at rule #3. Does this mean you can't burn the flag if you get pissed off? No, look at rule #3. Actually I think to deny somebody the right to burn the flag is very Un-American. But if you burn my flag I think you are an asshole. Of course I will fight for your right to be an asshole because that is the American Way.

5. So don't worry that you can't be a NEO Mom if you are in recovery. If I said you had to drink booze to be a cool mom then I would be like that jock in high school trying to get into your panties. No you don't have to drink, or whatever, but you do need to like at least cake or ice cream or chocolate and ,you realize life is way too short to not be able to laugh at least once a day.

6. This is kind of a no-brainer isn't it? Does this mean you can never yell at your kids or make mistakes? Shit I hope not! You just have to take a deep breath once in awhile and realize that you are all they have. You are mommy, the all powerful, and it is your job to protect, defend and nurture their little souls.

7. An adult woman is not afraid of a child. Even if that child is a criminally insane 3 year old. A competent mother expects their child to behave especially in public. But a NEO Mom expects only age appropriate behavior from their children. What I mean is that you can't take a 2 year old to a fancy restaurant and expect them to maintain, it's just not fair to all involved. Now if you are at a family pizza parlor, they are most likely going to be loud and squirmy but they still have to sit and eat some of their food and not throw most of it on the floor. I think that is reasonable.

I was at such an establishment recently and my 20 month old was boisterous and it was fine with me, he was eating his food and sitting for along time. This place has an arcade and a bar and is very loud and this one old man was actually giving my son dirty looks! Are you insane? This was not the place you take a date! So he was not a NEO Mom, he had no clue as to what a child's limits are. My 4 year old on the other hand was forced to sit and eat before he could play any arcade games, and he was ready to go out of his mind until I gave him the stink eye and that was it.

8. Sleep deprivation, stress, hormones, hunger. Those are 4 letter words when you are a mom. I know it's not always possible to take a nap but you have to eat, you have to breathe or you will lose it. I love those magazines that tell you to get a sitter and go get a massage.............well duh if we could we would right? How about locking yourself in the bathroom with a book and a glass of wine/beer? If you have toddlers like I do you know they are not going to get hurt because they will be on the other side of the door trying to get in. I just sit on the toilet and stare at their fingers as they slip them under the door and cry mommy. But for the safety of all I need a few minutes before I can open that door again.

9. This is another no-brainer. If you want a new pair of shoes and your kid is hungry..........the shoes can wait. Here is another analogy, what is more important dirty dishes or getting a 30 minute nap while you can? The nap wins everytime. You don't want to be yelling at your kids all of the time and seriously you will have tons of time to do dishes when they are in college. I live in a part of the country that has ants. This is what I do if I need sleep and I have dirty dishes. Pile them in the sink and then take dish soap and squirt it all the way around your sink, the ants will get lodged in the soap and die while you nap and then you can just wipe them up. Don't act all stuck-up and think I am gross, you know you are going to do it.

10. It's true, rules are for shitheads. These are more like guidelines or something amusing to read during the kids' naps.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Vow Deconstructed

in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish;
from this day forward,
until death do us part. 

On our wedding day, as we stand in our finest before our friends and family we repeat these vows and largely take them for granted. 

 Well of course I will bring you a blankie and the remote while you are laid up on the couch, I can make chicken noodle soup and rub your feet and I can run to the pharmacy.  If I must, I can clean up after you and I can definitely pick up the phone and call your mom to come save your ass.  

It's really when you have a few years of marriage under your belt and something arises that let's you really know what those vows mean. Maybe your husband falls off a bike and breaks a leg. All of a sudden your independent man needs your help and sometimes he's cranky about it. Or in my case I started a new medication this evening that is supposed to help with my ulcerative colitis.  

I read all the instructions and I even used the practice "pen" they gave me but lucky for me my husband is a family practice doctor and I asked him to do it for me. I laid on my back on the couch and he swabbed me with alcohol and gave me 4 different injections in my stomach. It hurt but I just pretended I was getting a tattoo. 

We cleaned up and I changed into some sweat pants since my tummy was sore and I asked him to please do bedtime and I would make him dinner.  After the kids were in bed I thanked him for giving me those injections and not being grossed out.  He said it was his pleasure and that he just wants me to feel better. 

To love and to cherish, he makes that very easy to do.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Passover For Those Afraid to Ask

Before I got married I converted to Judaism. My friends and family were supportive of my decision but I could tell they felt awkward when it came to asking questions.
The questions I would get were:"So do you go to church every Friday night?"
"How long is Hanukkah, 12 days?"
"What is the holiday where you eat that gross fish in a jar?"

When I was going through my conversion process I found that reading Jewish children's websites was the most helpful way to get the basics of everything Judaism.  When I had more complex questions, and wanted to delve into deeper issues, I would read the Jewish adult websites. 

Tonight at sundown Jewish people across America will be sitting down to a Seder for the holiday of Passover. It's a long dinner but it's not boring. Think Catholic wedding except with food and more wine. Lots of ritual and joyous. This is the bible story that covers the burning bush, parting of the red sea and the freedom of slaves.  Good stuff.

. . And yes, gross fish in a jar. It's called Gefilte Fish and this will offend some people, but I totally agree that it is gross! But there are other Passover delicacies that make up for the gross fish in a jar: 

Matzo Ball Soup

Flourless Chocolate Torte. 

So now you know just enough about Passover to get you through the week if you are not Jewish.  And here is another tidbit you can impress your friends with, Sammy Davis Jr. also converted to Judaism.  I am not going to pretend I am as cool as Sammy Davis Jr. but it is nice to be in such groovy company. And speaking of groovy you have to watch this video below. It's appropriate for Passover because A) Sammy is Jewish and B) Aretha briefly sings her song "Think" which has those great lyrics about freedom.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Not Abusing Your Kids is Good

Last weekend was super fabulous! A weekend alone with a few of my peers and lots of beers. I came home ready to be a super mom and spouse. Emotionally engaged with all 3 of my kids, and darling husband, planning plenty of activities, loads of patience, no yelling, and no excessive t.v. watching.

My plans were foiled by my sick boys. We can't leave the house. Fevers, and a cough that leaves them gasping for breath. I thought Mike was feeling better yesterday and had my sitter, Sarah, take them to the park. But then Mike came home and went to bed at 6:30pm! And slept straight through the night for 13 hours! This is unheard of behavior from my active guy. And he is even taking a nap, willingly, at 12:30pm in the afternoon!! Me and Bekah are bored silly and she is driving me nuts.

I completely lost my patience with her this morning. And then was stricken with guilt. Bekah is 3 and therefore in the throes of the Criminally Insane Threes which make the Terrible Twos look like a walk in the park. She loves to tease and torture me and her brothers. She loves to ask me all day long for things we either don't have or she knows she can't have. Today she has asked for french fries, oranges, and chips. We don't have french fries at all, we do have plums, strawberries, apples, nectarines, watermelon, grapes, bananas and cantaloupe. I gave her some Sun Chips and she threw them on the ground said, "These aren't potato chips.". She got a time-out for that rudeness and we temporarily extinguished that behavior.

So then she moves onto torturing Jake. Who is just generally fussy and cranky and it's just a lot more pleasant around here if we can keep Jake happy. I blew up a beach ball for him to play with and he was thrilled. He runs around the corner and Bekah steals it from him and he starts to shriek. Everyone covers their ears and wine glasses start breaking. And Bekah is laughing. That was the final straw. I told Bekah she is going on another time out and she said, "No!". I really hate it when my kids tell me no. So I walk up to her to escort her to the time-out room. She starts running all over the house and I tell her if she continues to run her time-out gets longer and longer. So finally I have to chase her and once I get her, all my patience has completely dissappeared.

I squeezed her arm way too hard, I yelled way too loud and then said, "You better pull your shit together or this is going to be a long ass day!!!". And then I slammed the door. And I immediately felt like an asshole.

 Ugh, she is only 3 years old and I am yelling and swearing at her, this is not the best summer in the universe that I had envisioned.

I put her on a 5 minute time-out so I could pull my shit together. We then hugged and kissed and I apologized. I then told her what I expected from her for the rest of the day:

-No asking for things we don't have in the house. We have fruit in a fruit bowl on the kitchen table and that is for snacks.
-No teasing her brothers by taking their toys or sticking her hands and feet in their faces.
-I also told her she couldn't have any snack or her chewable vitamin until she gets dressed.

We then danced to a kid's c.d. that doesn't make me crazy. And completed our Father's Day Craft. Those are the pictures listed below. I made cloth books and put velcro on the pages so that my kids could take felt shapes of their father's favorite activities and stick them on the pages.

We played with some Legos, Hotwheels, the water table outside and then ate lunch. Now Jake and maybe Mike are both napping. Bekah is doing quiet time in our rec room watching Dora and eating grapes. And as I sat down to do some blogging I realized my mistake. I made a great plan for summer that involved us LEAVING the house. I had forgotten to make up plans for days where for whatever reason we are stuck inside. I should have known better because last summer there were so many wildfires we were stuck inside for a few days at a time, so I need to plan for that.

So the rest of this post is going to be links for indoor activities for kids and ways for moms to not lose their shit (minds). Print this and put it on the fridge, I am.

-My first link is to the Child Abuse Prevention Council. Don't think you are above that, it can happen. The site is full of resources but the page I sent you to reccommends to just Take A Minute. This morning I took 5 minutes locked in the bathroom taking deep breaths.

-Next is not a link but an email that my friend Danica sent to my N.E.O. Mom's Club. She needed to peel her son away from the t.v. and came across this list of activities. I quickly went scrambling for it this afternoon to share with all of you:

1. Button Sorting ? Buy a bag of buttons at your local craft store andhave your child sort them however s/he wants to, by color, size,number of threading holes, etc. An older child can count the sorted piles. I use little plastic cups from the party store that I think are for condiments or something. But they are shallow and non breakable.

2. Placemat per Night ? Buy a stack of blank paper placemats from theparty supply store. Have your preschooler color a new placemat to eat off of for the evening. S/he can make a new one each night as make on for other family members. Great during dinner prep.

3. Wash Day ? This sounds silly, but kids adore it. Fill a large bucket with some mild soap, like Ivory. Allow your child to wash washcloths or dish towels. Provide another bucket (or rinse the firstout) to rinse, and then hang them with clothes pins and a string inthe bathroom. This helps the child learn that clothes get clean via aprocess, not just "magic" Or have them wash their play dishes, tea party set etc.

.4. Shaving Cream Cars ? Put a mild, unscented shaving cream on a cookie sheet with a lip (sometimes called a brownie sheet or jelly-roll pan). Allow your child to drive cars and trains through the"snow". Those learning to write letters can attempt their letters with an index finger and erase to try again easily.

5. Painting the driveway or deck ? On a sunny day, give your child a container of water and a real painter's brush (wide with a thick handle) and allow h/her to paint away. The sun evaporates the water quickly, and the kids love to see the cause and effect of painting.

6. Big Paper Bag Hats ? Using a large, shopping-sized paper bag, cut alarge shape and staple it closed except for the bottom portion. Invite
your child to decorate however h/she wants, then the child can try iton and you can adjust with staples accordingly.

7. Aromatherapy Play-Dough -- Homemade play-dough is easy to make andwhen you add a couple of tsps. Lavender oil (or eucalyptus if the child has a stuffy nose), children get the benefits of calming scents while they knead and create. A very "downtime" activity. Play Dough Recipe 1 cup flour
cup salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil (of your choosing)
1/8 cup cream of tartar
Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook and stir over low/medium heat until play dough is completely formed and no longer sticky. Allow to cool slightly before storing in an air tight container or zip lock bag

8. Matching Pasta ? sorting and matching are pre-math activities. Glue a different type of pasta (shape, color, whatever) to the bottomof a plastic cup ? clear works well; then provide the child a bag or cup full of a mixture of all kinds of the pastas to sort. Counting can be added when the child is ready.

9. Cutting Lines ? Preschoolers and scissors = hours of entertainment.To teach fine motor skills, draw lines (all kinds ? dotted, swirly,straight) lengthwise on a piece of plain paper. Ask your child tofollow the line you've drawn with scissors. You can even put a sticker at the end as a goal target. Start easy, build gradually.

10. Collage Mania ? This also makes a great homemade gift for afriend. Get a small tackle box and fill each compartment with adifferent glue-able item (pom-poms, rickrack, magazine cut outs,pieces, feathers, beans, buttons, pasta, etc.) add a glue bottle or stick and you have the makings of a collage activity at a moment's notice. You can even bring this to a restaurant to ease theboredom/restlessnes s factor there.

11. Lacing ? Lacing cards are easily made. Take some cardboard and cuta shape or animal that your child likes or needs to learn. Punch holesaround the perimeter (less for younger children, more for older), thentie a shoestring to one end and show the child how to lace. Great forsmall motor skills, great for a restaurant.

12. Tweezers ? Give your child a set of blunt tweezers. Fill a smallbowl with items like a tissue, a cotton ball, feathers, pipe cleaners? get creative. Invite your child move the items from one bowl toanother bowl using only the tweezers. Super small motor strengtheningactivity.

13. Musical Drawing ? Invite your child to draw to match the mood ofmusic that you put on ? marching music, classical, rock ? whatever. This can be done with watercolors too.

14. Choose the Mood ? Draw a plain head with no facial features. Makemany copies. Allow your child to draw the face with different moods:happy, sad, disappointed, hurt, etc.; another good restaurantactivity. For kids who have a hard time articulating their feelings,this can be a tool to let them show how they feel.

15. Animal Doctor ? The word veterinarian is a hard one for preschoolers. But Animals doctor works just fine. Provide a small Tupperware container of bandages and other first aid items obtainedfrom the drugstore (or even the dollar store). If your child needs something to do or you need a moment to breath, bring out the box and say something along the lines of "I think I just heard Brown Bear cry,I hope he's okay. Will you check?" This is good for teaching empathyas well as just plain fun, my kids always love trying on the role of sole caregiver

.16. Easy tambourine ? this is an oldie but a goody. Have your childcolor or paint on the underside of 2 paper plates. Staple the sidestogether leaving a small opening. Using a funnel, allow your child topour about ? cup of beans or rice into the pocket, then staple thehole up. Instant fun ? add some music and your child will be loving life.

17. Ladle Fishing ? Using a large bin or wash basin (dollar store isgreat for these) ? drop toys or household items into the bin andinvite your child to "fish" for specific items. Can you get the yellow block? Oops, looks like you got the blue alligator, try again!Helps to teach shapes and colors without the child even knowing it!

18. Tupperware Galore ? Tupperware is of endless fun to this group. Keep you family's supply in a low cabinet that the child can easily access. Ask for your child's help in finding a matching lid to a specific container ? even if you don't really need it. This not only teaches matching and provides tactile stimulation, but lets the childf eel the pride of being helpful.

19. Pace It Out ? How many steps is it from your bedroom to the stairs? How about from the kitchen to the laundry area? How about when I pace it or Daddy does? This is a good one for line-waiting boredom.I wonder how many steps it is over to that water fountain. One of mykids even made a little journal listing the paces to and from various places.

20. Nature Bracelet ? Using very sticky tape like packing tape or ducttape, make a "bracelet" by reversing the tape so the adhesive side is out. Go on a walk and let your child create a bracelet with what h/shefinds along the way. This can also be done at home with feathers

.21. What's in the Bag? Using any bag that isn't transparent, put 5 ors o items in the bag such as a spoon, a cup, whatever you find. Haveyour child close his/her eyes and feel in the bag to guess what is inside. This is a good family activity too as the child can add things to the bag to stump mom or dad.

22. Spin the Bottle ? Not the traditional kind! Spin the bottle, and whomever it lands on has to pay the spinner a compliment, even if the bottle lands back on the spinner! Kids love this and it teaches themt o notice good traits in others, as well as feel good about themselve swhen others compliment them!

23. Hide and Go Find ? Place objects around the house in a fairly obvious way. Then ask your child to go find something red in theliving room, etc. This is fun and can be played with any number of kids.

24. Shoebox Wagon ? The next time you have an empty shoebox, punch a hole in the side, tie a yarn or ribbon line to it and set a teddy bear or stuffed animal in it. Let your child discover it in your home andh/she will adore pulling it around and making up scenarios with it andstuffed animals.

25. Large Craft Stick People ? Using a handful of large craft sticks,draw faces on each one (perhaps representing family members) and wrapthem up in a pretty bag for your child. Allow him/her to add detailswith crayons and even provide extra sticks for older ones to makehis/her own nation of stick buddies. Another good one for restaurants.

26. What Sifts Through? A messy but fun one, perhaps for outdoortime. Using a colander and a basin, give your child a variety of cupsfilled with various things ? rice, sand, blocks, beans, etc. Invite him/her to explore what can fir through the colander's holes. This is great for pre-math and visual spatial relationships.

27. What floats? Using a basin of water, give your child a cup o rcontainer of items to see which ones float. You can discuss heavy andlight and how size doesn't always indicate weight.

28. Paper Bag Puppets -- Using brown paper bags (an inexpensive necessity!), draw faces of a dog, a cat, etc. and invite your child to do the same, on the bottom of the bag. You can even glue items likeyard and feathers to make fun and funny puppets. These puppets have taught lessons in our house, as I have put on little plays with themto teach the importance of being kind, or manners, or cleaning upafter oneself.

29. Produce Printing ? Using washable tempura paint, fill a paperplate with paint and cut a number of produce items in half in front ofyour child. You take one half and give your child the other. Dip inpaint and print on paper. This makes nice gift wrap!

30. Large Paper Tabletop ? Buy a roll of shipping/packaging recycledpaper. Roll it out onto a table or breakfast bar for the day or week,securing it with tape or clothespins. Provide a cup of crayons, asmall basket of stickers, washable stamps, etc. An instant, easy activity that is great when a buddy is over as well.

31. My Journal ? Buy a journal at the dollar store and a beautifulwriting pencil or interesting crayon and give it to your child todoodle, write, or simply scribble. Let him/her know that it is forhim/her only and that it doesn't need to be shared or shown to anyone.This makes the child feel so grown up.

32. Pasta Necklace ? Another oldie but goody. Using strong string(not yarn) and tube shaped pasta, let the beading begin. Be prepared to be asked to wear these creations, and do so!33. Straws and Cotton Balls ? keep these in a bag together and inviteyour child to make the cotton ball "run" using only his/her breaththrough the straw. H/she can use different colored straws to see ifone makes the cotton ball go further than another color.

34. Volcano World ? This is a production, but whenever I did it, the kids played with it all day long exclusively. In a small jar (babyfood sized is ideal) put in enough baking soda to fill the jarhalfway, add a few drops of red or orange food coloring if desired,build a "mountain" around the jar, leaving an opening to pour vinegari nto the jar later. Using plastic animals or dinosaurs let your childplay with them on the mountain and then, with great drama, add the vinegar. A containable and safe "explosion" will occur. SO fun!

35. Paper Chain ? Using strips of construction paper, let your child make a loop garland using tape or a stapler. Make sure you are near ifa stapler is being used. Older kids can write on the strips ? my kids write what their favorite things are, or colors, etc. And the chain becomes a monument to that list, "My favorite foods chain", etc. ? tohang in a bedroom or playroom.

36. Magnets Galore ? At the craft supply store, purchase a dozen or so painted wooden figures. These are very cheap - .25 cents each, I believe. Super glue a small magnet to each one and purchase a small cookie sheet for magnet play. When you are cooking, you can bring this out to occupy a little "helper". Store this on top of the refrigerator and only pull it out occasionally to keep it fresh. You can add magnets as your child develops new interest. This also makes a lovely homemade gift.

37. Lunch a New Way For a casual lunch, use a 6 count muffin tin and put a different food in each spot. You can use one of the spotsfor the child's drink. This is great on rainy or indoor days whensome excitement is needed.(Hey this chick stole my idea!)

38. Bread and Dough Sculptures ? making a simple pretzel or pizza dough is easy and when kids can make shapes or animals out of itbefore it bakes, all the better. Here's a recipe I use: Pretzel Dough:1 tablespoons quick-acting yeast1 cup water1 teaspoon sugar1 teaspoon salt2 cups flour1 tablespoon oilPreheat over to 400 degrees. Measure the water, sugar and yeast into abowl and mix. Wait two or three minutes for the yeast to soften. Stirin one cup of flour, then add oil, salt and remaining cup of flour.Sprinkle flour onto a wooden breadboard and place the dough on it.Knead dough for about five minutes. Place dough in a bowl and coverit, letting it rise for about 45 minutes in a warm place away from drafts, open windows, etc. Punch the dough down and work it into aball. Next, separate the dough into smaller portions and let thechildren use their hands to roll the dough into ropes or snakes tomold dough into different shapes. After combining ingredients, showchildren how to knead the dough and let them try. There's no need towait for it to rise.Let them brush their pretzel with a beaten egg, sprinkle with sesameseed, and bake at 400 for about 10 minutes, until light brown.

39) Frozen Ants -- Ask your preschool child to peel a banana and cut into two or three small pieces with a plastic knife. Spread peanutbutter on each piece then roll each piece in raisins. Wrap loosely inwaxed paper and freeze. Your young child may want to eat right away so have more than one banana available.

40) Teddy Bear Fort ? Kids always make forts for themselves, but whatabout their favorite doll or stuffed animal? Help your child getstarted and h/she will take it from there.

41) Can You Find It? Hide a variety of small objects in a basin ofrice or sand and ask him/her to find specific objects by feeling alone.

42) Which is longer? Cut strips of construction paper to different lengths. Ask your child to find the longest green strip, the shortest red one, etc. Categorizing options are many here and easy for thechild to do without frustration.

43) Pajama Day ? Let your child stay in his/her jammies all day andeat breakfast foods all day. Gather up all of your lullaby music andnighttime books. Let your child use a flashlight all day and make ateddy bear bed out of a shoebox.

44) Animal Search & Find ? Give your child a stack of a few magazines and ask him/her to find as many animals as possible. H/she may chooseto cut them out with safety scissors.

45) Cup Tower -- Have your child stack paper or plastic cups into atower and then knock them down. Watching them all fall around is halfthe fun!

46) Make a rainbow streamer. Take a paper plate, punch 5-6 holes next to one another along one side of the paper plate, cut out the middle,and tie ribbons to each hole. Encourage your child to run and dancewhile trailing his/her creation.

47) Tea and a Tea Tree ? Buy a very fancy tea cup and saucer for yourchild ? Ross or Marshall's works well for this. Buy a collection ofherbal teas and perhaps some stevia, honey or agave nectar to sweeten.Let your child choose from a variety of teas. After you have your hightea together, hang the used tea bag on a tree outside. When it rains,it will "rain" tea!

48) Giving Back ? Every once and awhile, make cookies for the mailcarrier or garbage truck workers. If it's hot, hand them a Gatoradebox or popsicle. When you do this, be sure to talk about how hardthese people are working and how thankful we are that they do whatthey do. This remains one of my kids' favorite activities and memories, and the mail carrier thinks it's pretty great too!

49) Tissue Box Mailbox. When you have an empty tissue box, gather up some junk mail, write your child's name on the side and allow him/herto play with opening mail, putting it through the slot and feelinglike a grown up. H/she can decorate it as well.

50) Weather Chart Make a circular pie chart Party supply stores have cake making supplies that work well for this), punch a hole in the middle and use a brad to secure a sturdy cardboard. Making as manysections as you wish, draw simple weather shapes. Encourage your child to notice the weather and change the chart whenever h/she notices thechanges. How many different types of weather can happen in one day? Hang this low or on the refrigerator so h/she can access.

A Last Couple of Notes:Messiness It is hard to watch your home become a chaotic mess from preschool activities. Try to let that go. These are the years that they need to learn with all of their senses and curtailing that only means stunting learning opportunities. Mess=smart kids.

I think those are great activities for kids but now I am on a quest for stuff for moms to do to take a break without abandoning the kids:

-I am computer oriented and I guess you are too which is why you are reading my blog. How about taking a Facebook break? Re-connect with family and friends and play a stupid game just to take the load off.

-I need to look at funny pictures or read funny stuff to make me happy and relaxed.

-How about prayer? Can't hurt right?

-Stress relievers you can do with your kids.

-Stay Sane.

-Wow this article covers it all!

Hang in there everybody!!