Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The 30 Day Mom Challenge

I found this on fellow CMOTC mom Carrie H's site - My Favorite Finds (by the way, if you haven't checked her site out yet, you really need to!). It's a 30 Day Mom Challenge and I LOVE it! Each day for 30 days it gives you something to focus on, think about, do for your child, and so on.

Life is so crazy busy now and days, and I sometimes find myself too caught up in it and forget some of the things on this list. I have found that reading these each day has helped me to remember these important things. Knowing I am probably not alone, I thought I would share with all of you as well. Thank you Carrie for finding this gem!

You can download a copy of this challenge at IMOM.com.







Monday, April 18, 2011

Candy-Free Easter Basket Ideas


Here are some ideas for creating a candy-free Easter that your children will love!


Easter egg hunts are always a favorite activity for all children. The following are items that will fit into the large sized plastic eggs (and some will fit in the small eggs too) and are sure to be a huge hit:



  • Sticker sheets (cut in half or thirds so you don't have to fold them too much)

  • Small raisin boxes

  • Bouncy balls

  • Favor sized play dough containers

  • Matchbox or Hot Wheel cars (most will fit)

  • Bows or pretty barrettes

  • Cool socks (some will fit in the eggs)

  • Jewelry

  • Lip gloss

  • Coupons (like: special day out with mom, stay up late pass, etc.)

  • Small plastic animals

  • Stretchy anything (like frogs, lizards, etc. - kids love these)

  • Money (coins and/or dollar bills)

  • Small figures (like the small action figures that are out now, or Polly Pockets, etc.)

  • Packets of seeds (flowers or vegetables) which you can plant and grow together

  • Packets of Annie's Homegrown treats (crackers and fruit snacks) - they're all natural and shaped like bunnies! (you can find them at Kroger and Giant Eagle - in natural food area - as well as Whole Foods)

Other items to fill the perfect Easter basket:



  • Books

  • Art supplies (crayons, markers, paint, paper, Color Wonder products, sketch books, pencils, etc)

  • Sidewalk chalk

  • Bubble wands or blowers

  • Kites

  • Puzzles

  • Sand toys

  • Balls

  • Craft kits

  • Cool photo frames

  • Puppets

  • Small Lego sets

  • Doll outfits

  • Jump rope

  • Card games

  • Bunny Pillow Pet

Here are a few other fun ideas to do:



  • Put an entire puzzle, piece by piece, into a bunch of plastic eggs. Once your children find all the eggs, you can put it together as a family.

  • Put clues/riddles in the plastic eggs that will lead your children to their Easter basket.
How about you CMOTC moms? What candy-free items do you use to fill plastic eggs or Easter baskets? What Easter egg hunt and/or basket traditions do you have? Or what fun activities surrounding these do you do? Please share with us!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

NHTSA Announces New Car Seat Recommendations

In case you hadn't heard, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has changed their guidelines for car seat restraints for children. We have been hearing much of this information for some time from AAP, so it's no surprise, and it's still worth sharing. Below is a post from the SafeMama website that details the changed NHTSA guidelines very well.

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Repost from SafeMama website.

I’m not sure why this hasn’t happened sooner, especially since it’s been the ongoing recommendation of many car seat manufacturers. But today the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration changed its guidelines for car seat restraints for children. In the new guidelines, NHTSA is advising parents and caregivers to keep children in their appropriate seat restraint for as long as possible before moving up to the next style seat. This includes rear-facing, forward-facing and booster seats.

In “keeping pace” with the latest scientific and medical research, NHTSA is following the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommends parents keep children in “rear-facing restraints until two years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer.” The AAP indicates that there should be no rush to move kids up to the next level of seat restraint if not absolutely possible.

NHTSA’s new recommendations aim to help parents in choosing the right seat for their child by selecting seats based on the child's height, weight AND age:

Birth to 1: Children under the age of 1 should always ride on a REAR-FACING car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in 1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.

Age 1 – 3: Keep your 1 to 3 year old children in a REAR-FACING car seat for as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep them safe. They should remain in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once outgrown the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a FORWARD-FACING car seat with a harness.

Age 4 – 7: Keep your 4 to 7 year old children in their FORWARD-FACING car seat with a harness until they reach the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once they outgrow their forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel on a BOOSTER SEAT … but still in the rear seat.

Age 8 – 12: Keep your 8 to 12 year old children on their BOOSTER SEAT until they are big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. Seat Belts – For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.

Please visit the NHTSA website for more information about the new recommendations and to find a Certified Car Seat Inspection location near you.

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By the way, SafeMama is a great website! They call themselves "the original one-stop child safety, product recall, healthy, well-being, non-toxic, eco-conscious resource, for parents" and I have to agree with that (been a follower for three years). You can sign up for emails so you don't miss any posts, or if you follow other sites, you can sign up through google friend connect, networked blogs and also RSS feeds. Or, you can like them on facebook where they also feed their posts.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Creating a "Guide to my Hometown" book with your children

CMOTC mom Kathleen P. offers a great idea to make spring break (or any time) right here in Columbus a lot of fun! She suggests having your children create a "Guide to my Hometown" book full of the fun things you do that week. Thank you for this great idea Kathleen!

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As spring break draws near, it reminds me of how Columbus has so much to offer families. The March issue of Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine lists all the one-of-a-kind attractions our great city offers.

Yet for kids to understand how wonderful their city is it will take some reflection. Asking them to create a “Guide to my Hometown” is a great avenue for them to express their point of view of their corner of the world. The book can include what they love – their local parks, restaurants, museums and stores. This book can be part travel guide, scrapbook, or diary formats – including all three. Also listing what other places they would like to visit and why.

To Get Started:
  • Make a list of all the places you would like to visit or things you would like to experience.

  • Get a binder (3 ring) with clear plastic sheet protectors and tabs if they would like divide up the areas of interest.

  • Gather some basic scrapbook supplies (i.e. markers, glue stick, tape, stickers, and paper for the binder/scrapbook).

  • Ideas for some great items to collect are brochures and pictures of families/friends at the location.

Putting It All Together

At the end of the week (or throughout the week) set up a work space to organize their experiences. When making the book, add as much detail as they would like…dates, times, addresses. Make sure you let each page dry completely before putting your book together.

Ideas for the books:

  • As a special feature, have them look into the history of one of the locations they visit.

  • Try new restaurants, and add to the fun by having each family member “rate” the local establishment and tell what their favorite meal was. (For a dinner idea, try to duplicate the menu items.)

A few great places to visit:

  • Parks and playgrounds offer a day of sun and fresh air (and are great for fun nature activities, like scavenger hunts - see some ideas here).
  • Culture and Arts, this is where your budding artist can express themselves. Possibly copying their interpretation of classics at the art museum or being the author of their own storybook as a reflection of the Thurber House.
  • Go on an African Safari or to the Outback at the zoo. Children can have fun pretending to be explorers, capturing photos and learning facts about the animals.
  • Visit the North Market for a flavor of some fun cultural treats and support of local merchants.
  • Go back in time, through the Progress exhibit, or schedule to build something cool as a family at the Gadgets Cafe at COSI.


Ideas for other books:

  • Have them create books about their sporting events, or what is going on in their favorite sports during the summer or throughout the year.

  • Create a favorite holiday tradition book, this one looks at the whole year and what children love most about family time together.

This can be the start of a great tradition of collecting memories of family trips that they will always cherish, as well as the time together with you.

Also, Groupon's special (until Thursday 3/17) is an 8" X 8" photobook from Shutterfly for only $10. These are great for spring break photos!

Enjoy!
Kathleen

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Fun St. Patrick's Day Healthy Snack

This is a repost from last March that we thought you would like to see again.

Here's a really neat idea for a St. Patrick's Day (or any day) rainbow fruit platter that is not only fun to make, but also healthy!

From the March 2010 issue of Family Fun Magazine:
Anyone else have great snack ideas for all of the preschool/elementary classroom parties?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Random Recipes - Cherry-Almond Breakfast Bake

Here's a great recipe for an oatmeal bake that is not only delicious and good for you, but it will also keep your kids (and you) fueled all morning. An added bonus: you can cut the leftovers in squares and freeze for other breakfasts!

Cherry-Almond Breakfast Bake
(Recipe from August/September 2010 Kiwi Magazine)



Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats (I use multi grain cereal sometimes)
  • 4 cups 1% milk
  • 1 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup dried cherries (I've used many different types of dried fruit, it's all good)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (I've used vanilla extract when I was out of almond)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 9 X 13 baking dish.

  2. In a blender, combine the ground flaxseeds with water. Blend on high for 1 minute, until the mixture is frothy. Set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, combine the oats, milk, almonds, cherries, maple syrup, cinnamon, almond extract, and salt. Stir in the flaxseed mixture.

  4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 45 minutes.


Serve with additional milk and maple syrup, if desired.


The oatmeal bake will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can microwave individual servings for 1 to 2 minutes to reheat, or heat in the oven until desired temperature.

You can also cut the left over oatmeal bake into squares (or scoops) and freeze for a later date. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and heat up in the morning for a great quick breakfast.

Do you have a favorite recipe that you would like to share? Please send us an email.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Katie's Nutrition Nook: Dealing with the Picky Eater



Does one (or worse--both) of your children make meal time miserable by refusing to eat anything except for macaroni & cheese…OR pizza…OR worse? If so, here are some tips to help you teach them to try and like new foods--even the healthy ones!

Limit liquids.

  • Far too often children carry around sippy cups full of milk, juice & juice drinks. Remember that children (and adults) only need about 24 oz milk/day and 4-6 oz 100% fruit juice/day (no more than 8 oz for adults). Other beverages are just empty calories filling your child up with zero nutrition and loads of sugar, which makes them less likely to eat the food you offer them. Watch how much you’re giving your kids to drink and offer only water the hour before meals.

Try, try again.

  • Sometimes kids won’t eat a food the first time it’s offered, but don’t give up. It may take 10 or 20 times before your child finally decides to try that food, but they will eventually try it and they just might like it too!

Disguise if necessary.

  • If you’re worried about your child’s overall nutrition (especially when it comes to vegetables), it never hurts to hide healthy options in sauces or casseroles. Find a food processor-it might become your new best friend.

Offer with familiar food.

  • If you put a plate full of new foods in front of your kids, they are less likely to try all of it. If they’re stuck on macaroni cheese, pair the new food along with the old.

Let them help.

  • Whether shopping at the store or preparing dinner, if they help, they may be more interested in trying it.

Be a good role model.

  • As much as we wish it didn’t matter what we ate, it does. If they see you eating or NOT eating a certain food (or beverage) chances are the child will want to model their parent’s behavior. If you want your child to eat their peas, be sure you eat yours too!

Encourage, but don’t force.

  • Encourage your child to try the food, but don’t require them to eat the entire portion. One bite is better than none and the next time around, they may try more.

Limit TV time

  • Or any other distractions during mealtime. If the TV is on, so will be commercials for sugary cereals and other unhealthy foods that are targeted at children, making the vegetables on their dinner plate look much less appetizing.

So the next time your twins scream about wanting junk food or throw their vegetables across the room, take a deep breath and remember these tips. Hopefully they will ease some of your mealtime stress.

Feel free to comment below or email me with any questions you might have. Whether the questions are about weight loss, specific plans for you, general nutrition needs for you and/or your children, or whatever, I am here to help you!

As well, if you have suggestions for topics you would like me to discuss in Katie's Nutrition Nook, please let me know.

~ Katie
CMOTC MoM and Nutritionist

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Family Spotlight: Featured MoM's family - Sara W.

Today we are spotlighting CMOTC MoM Sara W. and her family. Sara, who describes herself as having a dry sense of humor and not your "typical mom", says being a working (outside the home) mom helps make her a better mom. Their family tradition is a big family vacation every year, and her sanity saving tip is taking that mommy moment when needed and repeating to herself "there is only one of me." Her biggest joys are watching her twins interact... and moving past another milestone. She also has some questions for you MoMs who have boy/girl twins! Enjoy getting to know Sara and her family.

Tell us a little about yourself


I’ll start by saying I have a pretty dry sense of humor and I’m very sarcastic . . . so take this all with a grain of salt {please}.

I am the girl who never wanted children. If you had told me 5 years ago I would be writing this blog post I would have died of laughter. And maybe cried a little bit, too. I’ve never been one of those people who goes gaga over a baby or who had this deep maternal urge to have a child. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children very much (and have grown to love children of friends too!) and I realize how amazingly fortunate I am to be blessed with two healthy, smart, beautiful children. Just know this wasn’t want I thought I wanted. I am not someone who will gush about how wonderful it is to be a mom and how magical everything is – I’m all about keeping it real and honestly, this “mom” gig is the freaken hardest thing I’ve ever done.

With that said, I’m not your “typical mom”. My just-turned-three year old twins have seen an episode (or five) of “Family Guy”. And they may or may not know all the words to a few Dave Matthews Band songs. I left them overnight when they were 5 weeks old and I’ve been away from them so many nights since then that I’ve totally lost count.

To get to what most people seem to want to know, twins run in my family. My mom is a fraternal twin and there are at least 4 other sets of fraternal twins on her side of the family. So while my pregnancy was a total shock, the fact that I had twins isn’t necessarily as much of one (though if you ask my college roommates, I used to joke that because I never wanted children I’d be the one in my family to end up with twins. That Karma has one sense of humor, eh?).
I grew up in Northeast Ohio and went to high school in Tennessee. I moved back to OH to attend the University of Dayton and then started a whirlwind of relocations thanks to mine & my husband’s career (I’ve lived in Nashville, Dallas, Columbus, Huntington Beach, CA , Chicago and back to Columbus, in that order in the span of 10 years). We made the decision to move back to Ohio almost 5 years ago and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise – although we weren’t planning to expand our family, having the grandparents so close to us has been a life saver more times than I care to admit.

I’ve worked in Human Resources my whole career. At the moment I’m an HR Business Partner for a technology company. Staying home with my children was never an option I considered for a nano-second – I like to say I’m a better mom because I work. Full-time. We’ve been lucky to have two wonderful nannies work for us in the 3 years we’ve had B&K and keeping them in our home has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Personally, I’m already starting to dread the day B&K start going full-time somewhere outside of our home . . . our current nanny Ashley is the glue that keeps me sane these days!

In my “free time” I like to craft (you can check out some of my crafty antics on a blog I co-author with fellow CMOTC member Jenn Murray here). My husband and I like to travel and last year we took B&K on their first trip out of the country (though technically they were still in the US – we went to St. Croix). This is where, again, I’m not your typical mom – my husband and I are very fortunate to have a great support system of family & friends who will watch B&K for us so that we can get away (and trust me – we do. Whenever and wherever we can!). I also like to entertain. Back in the “pre-B&K” days we used to throw frequent parties and honestly bought our house because it would be a good “party house” (and thankfully in hindsight it has turned into a good family home as well).


What are your children’s names and ages, as well as your spouse’s name?


My boy/girl twins are Bennett Michael & Kendyll Samantha. They turned 3 on 2/13. My husband is Tim and we’ve been married 6 ½ years.


Can you tell us a little about each of your children


My twins were born at 32w6d after nine very long, very stressful weeks of bedrest (you can read our story here) . . . oh and this was on top of a very hellish pregnancy (so to answer the other question people always like to ask me – YES WE ARE DONE! No more babies for me).

Bennett is smart, funny and quite an actor. He loves to climb, something I’m actually very proud of considering he didn’t walk until he was 22 mo old (I like to say he lived up to the “lazy white boy” persona from the NICU. After spending a year in denial that he would “catch up”, he started intense physical therapy at 16 months and eventually caught up). He is VERY attached to a blue crochet blanket a dear friend made him and he has inherited my love of all things Peanuts (like in “Charlie Brownie” Peanuts, as he would say). He is very caring and quick to laugh at himself. Plus I think he could be a Ralph Lauren model (I would seriously give my right pinkie for his perfectly straight and gorgeous smile).
Kendyll is quite a ham, though often times she can be shy (and she’ll even tell you this. “I’m shy”. Too cute). She has inherited my love of all things crafty and she deeply caring. She is the first to run and give a hug & a kiss when someone else is hurt (even throwing out an “I’m sorry”, though she may not have been the culprit). She is very strong and quick tempered {read: she can be QUITE the diva sometimes}. She also loves all things girlie, which I’m not sure where she picked up as I’m not a big girlie, girl. She has the most adorable giggle and is very opinionated when need be (“I no like dip-dip” or “I no like waterfalls in the bathtub” are two of her favorite sayings these days).



My other child is our golden retriever, Tabasco. Poor Baco (as B&K call him). He was set to be my only child and was royally spoiled. Even gracing our holiday cards each year. Thankfully, he has been wonderful with B&K. Although often times he is like having two more children in one {read: he is an attention whore}, but we love him nonetheless.


What has been the biggest challenge in having multiples

Where do I begin? When people ask me “is it getting any easier?” my reply is always “NO!!! Not easier, just different”. Whenever we seem to tackle one challenge – sleeping through the night, dropping bottles, separate rooms, “big kid” beds, potty training – it seems like it is replaced with something new to deal with . Right now it feels like a never ending cycle.
To go from thinking we didn’t really want children to getting the “2 for 1” special was also challenge. Not only did life and career plans take a major shift, but we were faced with a “challenge” that none of our friends had experienced. So from a personal level, it has meant letting go or losing touch with people who used to be “close friends” because, honestly, we just can’t relate to each other anymore. But on the flip side, the multiple mom friends I’ve made through CMOTC and other MoM groups have saved me – literally – so I’m thankful for that.

But probably the biggest challenge I’ve faced has been a more personal/unique one. Shortly before my twins were born my husband took a new job that required a lot of travel. Initially it was travel throughout the US and he would maybe be gone 3 – 5 days a week (home on the weekends). But for the past year he has been working more international assignments where he is away 2 – 3 weeks straight and only home for 1 – 2 weeks at a time. Not only has this been a challenge for me (as I work full-time and am barely surviving the toddler/preschool years), but it has also been very hard for B&K to understand why he is away so much. They love to say “Daddy is on an airplane up in the sky” when he is away – so much so, that at one point an acquaintance asked me if Tim was a pilot (which he is not – ha!). Explaining to a 3 yr old that daddy is in Turkey is a fun thing (they don’t get how he can be in something we eat for Thanksgiving. Ha!). But I like to think whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, right?


What has been your biggest joy in having multiples
I try to look at things from a positive perspective – unlike my friends who are now popping out their second child (and thus, having to start all over again from a beginning), once we are done with something we are D-O-N-E with it (because trust me – I am NEVER doing this again!! We are thankful for our blessings of two healthy, beautiful children and I have no desire to start over again!). Once we were done with bottles, they were all donated. Once we were done with diapers, there was no looking back. Cribs were dismantled and sold on Craigslist. My friends who are just now getting around to having baby number one are out of luck because all of my “baby” stuff is long gone.

Watching Bennett & Kendyll interact – whether it be tickling each other or bossing each other around – brings joy. And having them give each other a huge hug & kiss before bed is just plain adorable. And when one gets something – like a treat cupcake for example – they always make sure to get another for the other. Those are just a few things that brings a smile to my face.


Do you have any family traditions?

Tim & I like to go out to celebrate another year of survival on B&K’s birthday (adults only). As a family, we often pile onto the couch to watch a little TV after dinner / before bedtime. We’ve taken a big family vacation every year since B&K have been born – first to the Outer Banks, then Myrtle Beach and last year we flew to St. Croix – so we’re already in the planning stages for our trip this year.

Do you have any “sanity saving tips” that work for you in managing those particularly hectic days or moments of parenting and day-to-day life with kids?




Sometimes I just need to walk away. And that is okay. There were times when they were babies and I was home alone with them and they would both be screaming at the top of their lungs because it was bottle time. There wasn’t anything I could do – there is only one of me and I just kept repeating to myself they won’t be scarred for life if they scream for 3 minutes while I make two bottles. And they don’t seem scarred yet. Same for now – when the “toddler negotiations” fail and I have two screaming children tugging at me, I sometimes just have to walk away while muttering under my breath “there is only one of me”.


Do you have a family or personal blog or website that you would like to share with the group?

Yes: http://mommyoftwinsinwaiting.blogspot.com (it is in the CMOTC blog roll). I started it when I was on bedrest and never expected it to still be alive over 3 years later. But it has become a “baby book” of sorts for B&K (esp. since I have yet to write a single word in their actual baby books!).


If you could ask a question to our other CMOTC MoMs about raising multiples (at any age or stage), what would it be?

I feel like in a lot of ways we’ve recently tackled some of the major “milestones” I had been dreading since day one (potty-training & big kid beds are two that come to mind). And so now my focus is more on discipline and what to do when they go to school full time (same room or different classes?). And while I’ve been so blessed with a few very close friends who also have multiples the same age as B&K, my situation is a bit different in that they have same sex multiples where as I have boy/girl. When do I start having separate birthday parties? And should I freak out that my son likes to wear my daughter’s Snow White dress and my daughter likes to fix things with her brother’s tools?
~~~~~~~~~

If you have advice for Carrie's question, or any comments in general, please leave them below.
If you are interested in having your family featured, please email us!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Vacation Hot Spots for Families

The days of Daytona, Fort Lauderdale and Panama City Spring Breaks are over for most of us. These days we're all looking for putt-putt, a pool, a Chick-fila and a residence that provides portable cribs. My how times have changed, right? We still want to get away and build memories but where do you do that? We have a few ideas but we'd love to hear from you as well. With Spring Break and summer approaching, we'd love a few posts from all of you regarding your favorite vacation hot spots. Comment below or contact us with your faves. We'd love for you to guest post but if all you want to do is tell us about your vacay spot, leave it in the comment section. Thanks!

My family likes to make a run for Lake Erie at least once or twice a summer. Our favorite destination on Lake Erie is a gated community called Lakeside with putt-putt, restaurants, walking trails, ice cream shops, etc. Cedar Point and other great amenities are close by or you can spend the whole week at Lakeside and be completely entertained. There is a baby pool that little ones will love as well as the lake and beach. There are swimming lessons every day and even sailing lessons for kids. Cottages are very affordable (when compared to beaches on the East coast). Note that there is a daily gate fee that adds up so be sure to put that in the equation. They even have kids activities where you can sign your child in and then go do what you want to do. There is an age limit on the drop-off service so check on that. There is nightly entertainment, weekly Vacation Bible School (completely voluntary), and so many other activities to participate in or just relax and don't do any of it. It's completely up to you!

Have you been to Lakeside? How was your experience? We want to hear from you!



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kendra's Fitness Corner: How to Create a 15 Minute Workout at HOME!

Are you ready to start a workout program but don’t have the time or money to go to a gym?? You CAN do an awesome workout at home with minimal equipment in as little as 15 minutes per day!

Got Bands?
You don’t need a lot of equipment to have a great workout at home. In fact many exercises don’t require anything. But if you are going to buy 3 items for your home workout I suggest…
  1. Stability ball – 55cm size if you are under 5’6” and 65cm size if you are 5’6” or taller. These balls come with pumps but it’s definitely a workout to pump them up!

  2. Resistance Band – preferably the kind with handles, a light or medium resistance depending on your strength.

  3. A set of dumbbells – between 5# and 10# to start depending on your strength.

Here are some examples of beginner exercises you can use with the equipment above.

Seated Row

  • Sit on a stability ball, floor, or the edge of a chair, place band around a sturdy table leg or pole

  • Hold ends of band. With good posture, slowly pull band so your elbows go behind your body. Squeeze shoulder blades together.

  • Keep forearms parallel to the ground.



Lateral Raise (Can also be done with dumbbells like shown)
  • Stand with one or two feet on center of band (two feet=higher resistance).
  • Hold ends of band. With good posture, raise arms out to the sides. Do not go higher than your shoulder joint.
  • Lower down slowly, resisting gravity.



Bicep Curl (Also can be done with dumbbells as shown)
  • Stand with one or two feet on center of band (two feet=higher resistance)
  • Hold ends of band with palms facing out. With good posture, bend elbows and pull band up. Keep wrists straight.
  • Lower down slowly, resisting gravity.


Tricep Push-down
  • Stand with band anchored over a door or over a pull-up bar.
  • Hold ends of band with palms facing down. Keeping elbows next to your sides at all times, push down. Keep wrists straight.
  • Slowly let forearms come back to the starting point.




Stability Ball crunch
  • Sit on ball, walk forward and lean back until lower back is supported.
  • Hands behind head, elbows out. Keep spine in a straight line and abs tight.
  • Exhale while lifting upper back off the ball, not letting ball move. Inhale as you return to starting position.

Squats, walking lunges and static lunges are lower body exercises that can also be done without any weights or by holding dumbbells.

Squats
  • Stand with feet hip-width a part 1 foot in front of chair.
  • Sitting back on heals, lower butt as if reaching for the chair. Keep back flat –NOT rounded.
  • Keep knees directly above ankles as you lower down. Try to touch the chair with your butt and stand right back up.


Walking lunges
  • Standing with feet hip-width apart, take a big step forward with right leg. Left heel is off the ground.
  • Keeping good posture, lower down so both knees are about 90 degrees bent. Do not let right knee be forward of the right ankle.
  • Bring left leg forward and stand up. Repeat the above with left leg leading.

Static lunges are the same as above except you are not traveling forward but are repeatedly lowering down with one leg forward / both knees bent.


Got Cardio?

So you don’t have a treadmill and the weather is questionable. Don’t worry! If you have a pair of tennis shoes and some flood space you are good to go. Here are some examples:
  1. Jumping Jacks or Modified jumping jacks –Modified move: From a standing position with legs hip width apart, do a “half” jack by moving right leg & arm out to the right (touching right toes on ground) then coming back to the center and switch to the left leg & arm moving out to the left side. Keep alternating sides.
  2. Shadow boxing – do a mix of punches, uppercuts, front & side kicks. Each movement counts as ½ a repetition. Ex: a punch with your left fist, then right fist equals 1 repetition. Kick at shin-level for beginners, then gradually aim for knee and thigh-level.
  3. Jump Rope or Modified jump rope – Modified move: Without a rope, move your arms in a circular jump rope motion while bouncing or hopping on the balls of your feet.
  4. Stair running or walking – go up and down a flight of stairs. Skip stairs on the way up for more intense workout.
  5. High knee marching or High knee running – in place, lift one knee up until thigh is parallel to the ground, alternate legs.

Got a Plan?
Now you can put all these exercises together into a workout. By combining strength and cardio you are maximizing your calorie burn!

15 min workout: Perform the following exercises in order. Repeat the whole sequence.

  1. High knee marching or running warm-up 30 sec
  2. Squats (hold dumbbells) 20x
  3. Push-ups (on toes or knees) 20x
  4. Jumping Jacks or Modified Jacks 30 sec
  5. Walking lunges or static lunges 10x each leg
  6. Seated Row (band) 20x
  7. Shadow boxing – punches 30 sec
  8. Stability Ball crunch 20x
  9. Squats (hold dumbbells) 20x
  10. Lateral Raise (band or dumbbells) 20x
  11. Shadow boxing – front or side kicks 30 sec
  12. Walking lunges or static lunges 10x each leg
  13. Bicep Curl (band or dumbbell) 20x
  14. Tricep pushdown (band) 20x
  15. Stability Ball crunch 20x
  16. Jump rope/modified jump rope OR Stair running/walking 30 sec

Be sure to have some water handy and take a 30 sec break before repeating the sequence for the second time.

This workout can be done every other day. Your goal: 3 days per week (ex: Mon/Wed/Fri). Perform 20-30 cardio on the off days for faster results and to feel amazing!!!

Good luck and please feel free to comment below or email me with any questions on the 15 minute workout or any other general questions, as well as any topics you would like me to write about!

~Kendra
CMOTC MoM and Personal Trainer

Monday, February 28, 2011

Celebrating books and Dr. Seuss!



Wednesday March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’s Birthday. Happy (early) birthday Dr. Seuss!

It's the perfect day to celebrate books and read to your children (or have them read to you)! Here is some great info that CMOTC mom Kathleen P. found to share with everyone. Included below is fun info on the second annual Read Across America event, info on celebrating Dr. Seuss (games, actives, books, etc) and also great suggestions on how to choose books for your kids, as well as some great titles.

Thank you Kathleen for sharing!
~~~~~~~~~

READ ACROSS AMERICA

"You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child."

What better way to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday than reading to a child? On the evening of March 2nd (Dr. Seuss's birthday), Random House and the National Education Association (NEA) urge you to participate in the second annual Read Across America and read to a child.

WHY CELEBRATE DR. SEUSS?
Dr. Seuss epitomizes a love of children and learning. Also, his use of rhyme makes his books an effective tool for teaching young children the basic skills they need to be successful. When we celebrate Dr. Seuss and reading, we send a clear message to America's children that reading is fun and important.

We've compiled some materials to help you celebrate the day.

Need help finding the right book? You can search our Seussville catalog for your favorite Dr. Seuss story, or browse through our entire library in our http://www.seussville.com/kids/f_ms_link2.html.

For more information on Read Across America, please visit the NEA's Web site at www.nea.org/readacross.

PBS will also be running a 2 hour marathon of their new series, The Cat in the Hat Knows a lot about that! You can also check out http://www.seussville.com/ - the site has information about the author, books, games and activities.


Choosing The Best Books For Children

I Love BOOKS! It can touch people in so many ways. Each night we either read to our children, they read to us (telling about the pictures on the page) or just like to look at the pictures quietly. Reading has so many benefits - vocabulary, imagination and the sharing of time together.
So what books are good for children of all ages?

0-3 month
What to look for:
  • Contrasting colors
  • Black-and-white illustrations
  • Books with one word on each page
Title Suggestions:
  • Little Quack Loves Color By Lauren Thompson
  • Baby, Boo! By Beth Hardwood

3-6 month
What to look for:
  • Photos of babies making different expressions
  • Textures
Title Suggestions:
  • My First Taggies Book
  • Pat the Bunny By Dorothy Kunhardt
6-9 month
What to look for:
  • Pictures of everyday objects and familiar objects
  • Lift the flap(though they may pull them off)
Title Suggestions:
  • Good Night Moon By Margaret Wise Brown
  • Author Sandra Boyton series
9-12 month

What to look for:
  • Buttons that make sound
  • Pictures of characters in motion
Title Suggestions :
  • Little People Books By Readers Digest
  • Tiny Fingers: I’m feeling …Teaching
  • Baby Sign Language By Lora Heller
1-2 Years
What to look for:
  • Sturdier books that can be handled and carried
  • Few words on page or simple rhymes
Title Suggestions :
  • Dr. Seuss Series (wide variety for age ranges)
  • Author Eric Carle series
2-3 Years
What to look for:
  • Silly or funny books
  • Subject books (i.e. food, friends, animals)
  • Simple word books

Title Suggestions:

  • Guess How Much I love You By Sam McBratney
  • Llama, Llama Mad at Mamma By Anna Dewdney
  • My Truck is Stuck By Kevin Lewis
3-4 Years
What to look for:
  • Books that tell simple stories with a beginning and an end
  • Stories that relate to real life
  • Information about children’s interests
Title Suggestions:
  • The Napping House By Audrey Wood
  • You give a mouse a Cookie By Laura Joffe Numeroff

5-6 Years
What to look for:
  • Stories and information that encourages children’s imagination and interests
  • Stories about time, feelings, uses their Kindergarten skills
Title Suggestions:
  • I spy series
  • The “I Can Read” series

Give your children the key to adventure; stop by your local library to get them signed up for their own library card and check out story time! Barnes and Noble also offers story time, check with your local store for times and dates.

Half Price Books is another great store to look for classic books at a great price. They also offer a balloon to children and look in their clearance area as books can be priced as low as a $1.00.

Happy Reading!
~Kathleen P.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Carrie's Favorite Finds - Parenting from a Teacher's Perspective

We are very excited to add another great monthly column to the blog - Carrie's Favorite Finds. Carrie H., a CMOTC mom (and also our first CMOTC featured family!!), has recently created a blog, My Favorite Finds, in which she shares with readers her favorite finds that she has found over the years from other websites, blogs and various other resources, as well as just some of her own life lessons. Her favorite finds include recipes and meal planning tools, frugal living and money saving ideas/tips, gift ideas, her own insights and many, many other things. It's a great resource for many useful ideas, which she will also be sharing with us in her new monthly CMOTC blog column.

In her first column post on our blog, she is sharing with us her unique perspective on parenting school age kids from a teacher's perspective.

Thank you Carrie and welcome aboard!

~~~~~~~~~
I am working on my ninth year of being in education. For seven years, I taught middle school Language Arts, and for the last two years I've been working as an Instructional Aide. Early on in my career, I learned what kind of parent I wanted to be, and what behaviors I wanted to avoid when it came time for my own children to start school. As we are in the middle of the school year, it isn't too late to better your relationship with your child's teacher and become more supportive. Here are some thoughts:
  1. Be a cheerleader. When it comes to my children's teacher, I am her biggest fan. I make sure to use positive language when referring to her, and talk up the projects or assignments she wants my kids to do. I might not be excited about the project, or I might dread another week of spelling words. However, I don't complain about it in front of the boys.
  2. Your child's teacher spends more time with him or her during the day than you do. If your family is busy like we are, time with your children is precious. Did you ever think that your child is in school for about 7 hours a day? In our house, that means that they spend 7 hours with their teacher, and about 4 or 5 with us. Stark realization-or at least it was for me. That gives me more reasons to respect their teacher, and to support her decisions. I don't think she trumps us as parents, but by this time in the year, she has gotten to know them pretty well.
  3. Don't be afraid to communicate. When I was teaching, I detested it when parents would wait until Parent/Teacher Conferences in November to bring up an issue or a grade they disagreed with back in September. It's not fair to blindside the teacher. I also don't think that "No news is good news". Every two weeks or so, I send a simple email to the boys' teacher just to check up with how they are doing. Just like she wouldn't want to be blindsided by a conflict or issue at conferences, neither do I.
  4. Be polite. That seems so easy, doesn't it? Being polite covers a lot of areas. When you sign up for parent teacher conferences, make sure you're on time. If you can't make it, reschedule as soon as you can. Also, be diligent about signing your child's planner or other papers that are sent home. As soon as the boys get home from school, I go through their papers and weed out what needs to be sent back and I sign off on their planner for the day. Also, I try to not talk to their teacher right before school starts because she already has a million other things on her mind.
  5. Remember that the teacher is a person, too. Your child's teacher has a life outside of school. Isn't it funny how our children are surprised that their teachers actually ventures outside the walls of school to pick up a gallon of milk? Your child's teacher also has his or her own problems to handle with their family, marriage, and other relationships. I try to keep this in mind when talking to their teacher. That helps me to choose my words carefully.

I hope that these ideas will help you either build a better relationship with your child's teacher or make your relationship with him or her even better.

~Carrie

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Amanda's Saving Money the Homemade Way - Sugar, Sugar and more Sugar!

I bet that title caught your eye, didn't it? Now that I have your attention, I would like you to picture the following scene. It shouldn't be hard- most of us have been there.

Your children have a Valentine's Day/ Christmas/ Halloween/ Whatever Party at school tomorrow. You decide to bring out the supermom within and make your world famous sugar cookies for their classrooms. You spent a lot of time preparing the dough and rolling out and baking them. It is now 9 pm. You have no icing, but you planned on making your yummy home-made icing recipe. You reach for your powdered sugar and find you have about half of what you need. Oh No!! You go next door to your neighbors house hoping she will have some, but she does not. What do you do?? Go to the store to get icing or powdered sugar? Send them un-iced? That would be fine except you know you like them better iced and so will the kids. You really really don't want to go to the store.... what do you do?

Yes- that was my scenario the night before my kids Valentine's day parties. As I pondered the situation, I thought I remembered reading something about how to make your own powdered sugar. Curiosity got the best of me and I researched it and found that it would be quite easy!!!

Powdered Sugar:
Here is how you do it. You need:

1 cup white sugar
2 TBSP Cornstarch

Place in a blender and blend until smooth! It will look like this:
I tried it in a blender and small food processor. It worked better in the blender. The taste was exactly the same as store bought powdered sugar and was so so close to the exact texture. I think it might have been the same texture exactly if the blade in my blender was a little newer/sharper. Some of the reviews I read stated that they used a coffee grinder (which I don't have) and it turned out exactly the same as store bought. Even though mine wasn't totally smooth (thought it was very very close), it worked great in the recipe!!!

The recipe above made about 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar:

Will this save money? Is it cheaper then just buying powdered sugar- quite possibly. Either way though, it definitely will save the time and expense of going to the store late at night when you are in a bind!

Sugar Cookies

So, I thought while I was writing, I would include my recipe for Sugar Cookies. Though I will admit, it isn't "my" recipe- it was passed on to me by a friend. I can say this honestly though: Throw away all your other sugar cookie recipes- this is BY FAR the BEST sugar cookie I have ever tried and it is so easy and does not use too many ingredients.

1 LB. butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 TBSP vanilla
6 cups sifted flour**
1 tsp baking soda

**make sure to sift the flour before measuring- it keeps the dough light and soft- even after rolling and re-rolling! Also, I have used butter and stick margarine- butter is easier to roll out, but it does work with stick margarine too. Don't use tub margarine.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well. In a separate bowl, mix the sifted flour and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture one cup at a time. When mixed well, divide dough into two sections and wrap cookie dough in waxed paper. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or over night. Roll out and cut shapes and place on cookie sheet. (If really firm, you can set out at room temp for 20 min or so to make easier to roll out.) Bake at 350 for 10 min. Cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely. Ice as desired.

-note- this recipe can be halved- just use two eggs.

How about icing?? Here is a really yummy recipe perfect for these cookies:

Cream Cheese Icing:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick- NOT margarine)-softened
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese- softened
4 cups (or 1 LB) powdered sugar (store bought or homemade!)
1 TBSP milk
a few drops food coloring as desired

Beat together butter and cream cheese. Add powdered sugar. Add milk and beat to desired consistency. Beat in food coloring. Here is a pic:


My icing was a little softer than usual because I used light cream cheese instead of regular, but it still worked great and tasted great! So, if you want a softer icing, use light cream cheese, or for an icing that will stand up a little firmer, use regular.

ONE MORE THOUGHT:

Do you like to use those sugar sprinkles on your cookies? It is ridiculously expensive to buy those little bottles in the baking aisle. Make it yourself for virtually free! It literally takes just seconds! Simply put a little sugar in a sandwich bag, add a few drops of food coloring, close the bag and smush the sugar around with your fingers on the outside of the bag. In less then a minute, you will have this:


Sprinkle on your cookies and here is the finished product:

After finishing these, you can strap on that "Supermom" cape and wear it with pride! No one even needs to know that your kitchen is a disaster, you were up past midnight, your house is a mess, your husband feels neglected and that your hair sticking out all over your head makes you look a bit scary! All they need to know is you created something wonderful from the most basic cheep ingredients you had around the house and you came through for your kids who carry them proudly into school (hopefully not dropping them....) to share with their classmates.

~Amanda

Monday, February 21, 2011

Random Recipes - Oatmeal in the Crock Pot

With the temperatures taking a dive and the snow/ice falling again, it seems like a good time to post a recipe for a yummy, easy hot breakfast. I have made this many times over the last two months and the kids love it. The recipe I use is from the Weelicious website (though there are many other recipes out there).

~~~~~~~~~
Here is the basic recipe (but I have some additions below it):

Oatmeal in the Crock Pot (Serves 4-6)

1 Cup Steel Cut Oats* (you cannot use rolled oats for this)
2 Cups Water
2 1/2 Cups Milk
1 Tsp Cinnamon

Desired accompaniments: honey, maple syrup, walnuts and or raisins

  1. Place the first 4 ingredients in a crock pot and stir to combine.
  2. Cook the oatmeal on low heat for 6-9 hours (the amount of time can vary depending on your crock pot. Some crock pots that don’t have non stick surfaces can get hotter then others).
  3. Stir in desired accompaniments and serve.
On the Weelicious website, there is also a video "how to" on making it - Oatmeal in the Crock Pot Program

*There are many different brands of steel cut oats, which are basically cut oats that are not yet rolled. They are more dense and therefore take longer to cook. You can find these at the grocery store in the oatmeal section. As well, I have seen some brands, like Bob's Red Mill, in the baking section. BTW, Bob's Red Mill also makes a gluten free variety.

~~~~~~~~~

I alter the basic recipe a little by adding (or increasing):

1 Tbsp Cinnamon (I increase it to this - but we love cinnamon)
1 Tsp of vanilla
2 Tbsp of ground flax

The other additions I have added were apples and raisins. I peeled and chopped up two apples, which I mixed with about 1/2 cup of raisins. Before adding to the mixture, toss both in cinnamon (refer back to the "we love cinnamon") to coat. I have tried it both at the beginning of the cooking process and an hour or two before it is done. We like it better when the apples and raisins cook overnight. The apples are soft, the raisins are plump and the oatmeal takes on the apple and raisin taste. I also add nuts - chopped pecans, almonds or walnuts.

The best part (for the kids) is getting to pick their own mix-ins - which I do when I just make the basic recipe (and sometimes even with the cinnamon apple and raisin recipe). Along with a little milk, our favorite mix-ins are:

  • Frozen blueberries - these are not only plump from the heat and taste wonderful, but they also act as little ice cubes to cool off the oatmeal. Definitely a HUGE favorite at our house.
  • Other frozen fruit - chopped strawberries, mangos, peaches, raspberries, etc.
  • Nuts - chopped pecans, almonds, walnuts, etc.
  • Dried Fruit - raisins, cranberries, cherries, chopped figs, etc.
  • Honey
Sometimes we even top it with a little pure maple syrup.

YUM!

Cooking: Like noted in the recipe, cooking times will vary. I'll be honest, I have cooked it for many different times, just based on when I went to bed the night before and when we ate it in the morning (and it always turns out fine). I don't think it is an exact science. You can try it and see. If you have a crock pot that you can program to go to warm after a certain amount of time, you might want to try that too.

Clean up: No doubt, unless you have a non-stick crock pot (which we do not), there will be some reside on the sides of your crock pot. I have found that it really isn't that hard to get off. On the Weelicious site in the comments of each of the above posts (recipe and program), you can see various mentions of this and remedies. Some say baking soda and hot water, some say a little oil (or non stick spray) before adding your ingredients, etc. Once we empty ours, we just soak it in hot soapy water for 1/2 hour or so, scrub a little and it's clean.

It's easy, it's healthy and it will keep you and your children fueled throughout the morning.
~~~~~~~~~

Do you have a favorite recipe that you would like to share? Please send us an email.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Family Spotlight: Featured MoM's Family - Carrie H.

Today we are spotlighting CMOTC MoM Carrie H. and her family of five. Carrie, who finds planning to be her key sanity saver, says that her biggest joy of parenting is "all of it!" Their family enjoys a tradition of pizza/movie night every Friday and her favorite mom moment is a story from when her twins started first grade. Enjoy getting to know more about Carrie's family!


Please tell us about yourself:

I am married to my high school sweetheart. In my former life, I was a Middle School Language Arts teacher, and I taught for 6 years in that realm. I've also taught fourth grade, and I am currently in the position of an Instructional Aide in a junior high school. My favorite hobby is scrapbooking...but I don't get a lot of time to do that. I also LOVE to read, especially historical biographies about Princess Diana and Jackie O and JFK. My mommy time mostly consists of trips to the grocery store or to get a haircut.


What are your children’s names and ages, as well as your spouse’s name?

My children are Matthew and Lucas, who just turned 8, and Natalie who is 15 months. My husband's name is Derrick. We are a family in ministry. He is a pastor, and I try to be an encourager for him and keep things running smoothly at home.


Can you tell us a little about each of your children?

Matthew is our oldest twin. He is intense and particular about almost everything. He loves to be organized and to sort things :). I secretly love that about him. He is a momma's boy, too. He always has been. He is very good at karate, and is very smart in Math. He loves his LEGOS, and is always on the go-playing, creating things, using his imagination.

Lucas is our middle child. He is more laid back. He likes to relax and watch movies-a very stark contrast to his brother who won't sit down for a minute. He LOVES anything cinnamon/sugar. So cute. He is very snuggly-even at 8 years old does he like his snuggle time. He also has an awesome sense of humor and can be very funny.

Natalie...well, she's definitely her own person. She loves attention of any sort, and she thinks her brothers are the funniest people ever. Her new words are "baby, bye, mommy, daddy, nana (banana)". She is quite the toddle bot-moving very quickly from one place to the next. She's a daddy's girl, that's for sure.

Matthew, Lucus and Natalie


Tell us a little about your family:

As a family, we always have a pizza night on Fridays and watch a movie. We also like to play outside together and go swimming in the summer. Bike rides become part of our summer routine, too. If we miss one night of dinner together, that's very rare. We make it a priority to have dinner at home as a family almost every night.


What has been the biggest challenge with having multiples?

The biggest challenge with having multiples was all the attention we got at first-everywhere we went. As they've grown, it's been a challenge for us as parents to treat them as individuals, as well as maintain a sense of fairness. In the past year or so, their individual personalities have really come out, so it's gotten easier in some respects as far as discipline, punishments, rewards. Also, seeing them struggle and their coping mechanisms has been a challenge to observe, too.


What has been your biggest joy in having multiples?

The biggest joy-all of it. I love being a MoM! I love seeing them grow and change. I also love seeing their differences come out. There was a time when I wondered if our parenting was forcing them into sameness. Then when they started school and hit other milestones, I realized that nothing we do can change who God is making them into.

Matthew and Lucus

Do you have any family traditions?

I think our traditions are small, but hopefully significant for our kids. Every birthday they get a mylar balloon that goes along with the theme of their birthday. We are starting dinner out on their birthday-they'll be 8, and this is the first time we've done birthday dinner at a restaurant. Disney World is becoming our traditional vacation spot. Also, we do pizza and a movie at home every Friday.


What is your favorite funny family story or mom moment?

I think the mom moment that sticks out in my mind the most is from first grade and what happened that first week. I was beyond nervous sending the twins to school. But, when Matthew came home he told me about something his teacher had done. Their teacher read them a book called The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn. In it the raccoon, Chester, is nervous/sad about leaving his mom on the first day of school. So, she kisses the palm of his hand and he puts it to his cheek throughout the day to comfort him. Everyday for about a week, Matthew asked me to kiss his palm either before bed or before I left in the morning. One day I asked him if he wanted me to kiss his hand, and he said, "No, I still haven't used the one you gave me yesterday."


Do you have a favorite book(s) on children/parenting that you feel other CMOTC MoMs would find beneficial, interesting and/or humorous?

I love the books Parenting Isn't for Cowards, Bringing Up Boys, and Bringing Up Girls. They are all by Dr. James Dobson. Parenting Isn't for Cowards is a good one because he encourages us as parents to be the authority, and that sometimes you just have to get your kids through a stage. He helps identify strong willed children and their personalities, and how to parent them in ways that are productive. Bringing Up Girls and Bringing Up Boys, both address the genders and their development. He talks about the roles of the opposite sex parent in regards to their importance in the lives of the boys and girls we are raising. Also, why boys do what they do and why girls do what they do at different stages is a large part of his books.


Do you have any “sanity saving tips” that work for you in managing those particularly hectic days or moments of parenting and day-to-day life with kids?

Sometimes parenting is the 3 Bs-benadryl, bribery, and brainwashing...just kidding. I think to survive, I have become a planner. I think that being a teacher has given me the midset to always be one step ahead of my students, and I do that with my kids. I know that around 5 pm, the boys turn into maniacs...so I try to suggest an activity to them that they will be engaged in around 4:45 or so..I also plan our meals, set clothes out the night before, and stick with a routine.

Do you have a family or personal blog or website that you would like to share with the group?

I have two blogs and they are both on the CMOTC blog roll - The Hurst Family, and My Favorite Finds.


If you could ask a question to our other CMOTC MoMs about raising multiples (at any age or stage), what would it be?

I would like to know how other families handle discipline and sibling rivalry. I feel like competition between the boys is huge in our house.

~~~~~~~~

If you have advice for Carrie's question, or any comments in general, please leave them below.

If you are interested in having your family featured, please email us!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Announcing: CMOTC Family Spotlights!


We have some exciting news to share: we are launching a new regular blog post which will put the spotlight on our CMOTC families. In these family spotlights, we will learn more about our member MoMs and their families. Given the size of our club, this will be a great way to reach out and get to know each other better.*

The spotlights will include include fun tidbits about the families, such as a little about each person in the family, things they like to do and traditions they might have, as well as greatest joys and challenges of being a MoM. It could also include info that might be useful to all of us, such as their sanity saving tips and favorite parenting/children books.

We will launch our first spotlight very shortly, so stay tuned!

If you are interested in being a featured family in the CMOTC blog Family Spotlight please email us for more information. We are hoping to feature all our families throughout the coming year and beyond.

*Note: we will only use first name and last initials.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Nine Easy Ways to Say I Love You

This is a great article by Linda Wilson, which I found here, that talks about simple ways to say I love you not only to your significant other, but also to your children, family members and other loved ones. With Valentine's Day being tomorrow, it seemed even more appropriate to share.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Everyone needs love. From the newborn baby who thrives on being cuddled by his parents to the geriatric in a nursing home who watches the door for a visit from a loved one, and all us in between. We need love. The need for love is instilled in us by our creator and no matter how we may try to deny it, the need is always there. We may try to deny it, we may try to avoid it, but it is always with us and it always will be. From birth to the grave, we need to give and receive love.

The importance of love is even scientific. Scientists know and openly state that being loved and giving love are beneficial to our health. So don't fight it. Accept the love that others offer to you and don't be stingy about giving love. February is known as the month of love; what better time than now to put the practices of giving and receiving love into action?

We live in such a busy society today. Often both spouses work and have little time for each other or their children. Children are being raised in day-care centers, by nannies, etc and have little time with their parents. Children move away to better jobs and hardly see their elderly parents. But that does not mean we can't still let them know how much we love them. Following are some simple ways to stay connected and to let our loved ones know how much we love them. Give some of these suggestions a try. You'll be amazed at how much satisfaction you'll get.
  1. When a loved one leaves the house, give them a kiss or a hug and make it a point to tell them you love them.
  2. Give a simple bouquet of flowers. They don't have to be elaborate to say I love you.
  3. When packing lunches for a spouse or child, put in a one or two line note reminding them of your love. (see links for free lunchbox notes printables below)
  4. Before going to bed, post a note on the bathroom mirror, refrigerator door or other spot where your loved one will find it shortly after they get up the next morning.
  5. Pick up the phone and make a call to that loved one who is away. There's nothing like hearing the voice of loved one. Email and letters are nice but sometimes one just longs to hear a loved one's voice.
  6. Make time for those you love. You may have to schedule it just like a business appointment. Do what ever it takes. Go to a favorite restaurant, the park, settle the family down and watch a movie together, play a game or work a puzzle. Your children just want to spend time with you. They aren't picky about how that time together is spent.
  7. Let your children know they are important to you. Don't get so busy you miss their school programs, sporting events, music recitals or whatever they are involved in. Sometimes actions speak louder than words!
  8. When you are doing something special with your loved ones, keep them the center of your focus. Don't take them to the beach then sit in the shade working on your laptop. They want you to swim with them, build sandcastles and be a part of what they are doing.
  9. Kisses, hugs, longing glances, a wink are all ways a very busy person can silently communicate their love. When you get right down to it, it really is the little things that count.

I saw this little poem once and it has stuck with me. I have no idea who the author is but I feel it is worth sharing:

Hold your loved ones close today, Whisper in their ear. Tell them that you love them And you'll always hold them dear.

For tomorrow is promised to no one, Young and old alike. Today may be your last chance To hold your loved ones tight.

That is good advice. Don't be afraid to let those you love know it. You'll be a happier, healthier person for it and so will they.

Remember the old saying, "Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today."

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You can find free printable lunch box notes for your children's lunch boxes at the following sites:

Alenkas Printables

Disney

Family Fun (lunch box jokes)

Kid Printables

The Youth On-line Club

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