Posts Tagged ‘mom’

101 Things to Do in the Summer with Your Kids

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Summer is a time for slowing down, released from after school activities and homework.  We all hold our childhood summer memories dearly, close to our hearts.  Here are just a few ways to make more summer memories with your kids:

  1. Go to the beach!
  2. Make homemade popsicles
  3. Run barefoot in the grass
  4. Have a movie marathon
  5. Jump rope
  6. Try yoga
  7. Go to the park (one with sprinklers is even better)
  8. Have a picnic dinner or lunch
  9. Kick around a soccer ball
  10. Chalk + sidewalk = inner artist
  11. Play video games together on a rainy day
  12. Play dress-up
  13. Go to a museum
  14. Go swimming
  15. Visit a local botanical garden or community garden
  16. Dance around the living room with abandon
  17. Visit the library
  18. Look up free concerts, movies, etc. in your area
  19. Go camping
  20. Eat watermelon
  21. Go strawberry or blueberry picking
  22. Taco Tuesday
  23. Have a spa day at home
  24. Host a sleepover
  25. Bubbles
  26. Play kick the can
  27. Make your own summer salad buffet
  28. Roast marshmallows
  29. Ride your bike
  30. Go on a hike
  31. Visit a flea market
  32. Make pet rocks
  33. Have a lemonade stand
  34. Go to an amusement park
  35. Plant flowers
  36. Watch fireworks
  37. Make homemade waffles
  38. Go fishing
  39. Write a letter to someone and actually mail it
  40. Catch fireflies
  41. Visit the zoo
  42. Ice cream sundaes
  43. Have a family basketball tournament
  44. Create theme weeks, like animals, space, or whatever your kid loves most.
  45. Make a blanket and pillow fort
  46. Go horseback riding
  47. Visit a farmers market
  48. Sno cones
  49. Play cat’s cradle:’s-Cradle-Game
  50. Go to a street fair
  51. Eat a pickle on a stick
  52. Go to a baseball game
  53. Fly a kite
  54. Go roller skating or skateboarding
  55. Family game night!
  56. Make a summer tote bag
  57. Write a song
  58. Wiggle your toes
  59. Make a fruit salad
  60. Learn how to hula hoop
  61. Play mingolf
  62. Have a scavenger hunt
  63. Dance contest
  64. S’mores
  65. Go bowling
  66. Play tennis
  67. Make a watercolor painting
  68. Have a science day
  69. Breakfast for dinner
  70. Learn origami:
  71. Frisbee
  72. Obstacle course
  73. Make a sandcastle
  74. Give the dog a bath
  75. Make shirts
  76. Visit a farm
  77. Hopscotch
  78. Make homemade pizza
  79. Visit a planetarium
  80. Make a bird feeder
  81. Go on a boat ride
  82. Make a nature collage
  83. Bake cupcakes
  84. Visit a thrift store
  85. Go to a carnival
  86. Make suncatchers
  87. Go for a walk at twilight
  88. See a play
  89. Slip’n’slide
  90. Play stick ball
  91. Science experiment
  92. Playdoh
  93. BBQ
  94. Make a summer photo album
  95. Finger puppets
  96. Star gaze
  97. Volunteer
  98. Have a sidewalk or garage sale
  99. Enjoy the sunshine
  100. Learn something new
  101. Make a list of activities you want to do this summer and hang them on the wall so the kids can check them off.

Mom’s Apple Pie

Friday, October 26th, 2012

When I was little my Mom would make her delicious apple pie around this time of the year.

The crust was flaky, buttery, and moist on the bottom.  The apples were coated in sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice, the aroma made my siblings and I beg for the them before they ever got into the pie. Mom would always swat us away, like the apple grubbing flies we were.  She would then make the crust by hand and roll it out unto the table in a perfect circle.

I always loved the way the delicate dough would be gently wound around her rolling pin and then placed above the pan.  After she filled the pie pan with a mound of luscious apples, she would cover it with another perfect circle of dough.  We would circle around her as she worked her magic with an ordinary fork, first sealing the pie with fork grooves all the way around in a quick movement as she spun the pie pan with her other hand.  This is when she would let one of us poke holes in the top, of course my over-protective mother not wanting her masterpiece to be ruined guided our hands in the process.  We didn’t care, we were a competitive bunch and the lucky fork holder was just excited to be chosen this time around.

The worst part was the waiting, it was boring.  The house filled with wonderful warm smells and my mother would suggest a card game to keep us busy while her pies steamed and baked.  When they were ready to come out we jumped up and down in delicious anticipation.  It was not be, Mom told us we had to wait a bit more, the pies were too hot.  Sulky and sad faces went back to the card game, a few minutes ago terribly exciting, but now with pies in our future just a boring distraction.

Finally, oh wondrously, the moment of apple pie was upon us.  My sister and I would set the table in a flash, folding napkins in their triangle position as we were taught. We placed forks we would all get a turn to use on the napkin and filled glasses with cold creamy milk.  We sat around the table, on our best behavior, squabbling, pushing, and running around now set aside.  Mom would carefully cut the pie into the equal pieces she knew we would demand, avoiding the soon to come. “It’s not fair, they got bigger pieces!”  Mom was a pro with four little ones, five if you count my cousin, John who came by often.

We would sink those forks into our warm apple pie, the cinnamon filling our insides with a goodness that can only be felt in autumn. This now became the best thing that could ever be felt, better than the crinkly sound the fall leaves made when we stomped on them, better than the crisp back to school blue jeans we were so excited about a month before, and certainly better than those brussels sprouts my mother insisted we eat for dinner the night before.

Gooey apple pie juice rushed through our mouths like a gush of liquid candy, crust flaked alongside it in a combination of best friendship that would never flat leave the other.  When I look back at our apple pie moments they were happy and carefree.  We were together as a family and my Mom was happy with her pies.  Soon we forgot the moment of relish and spooned the pie into our mouths, talking and laughing about who knows what.

Clothing Wars

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

I remember a time, not too long ago, when I enjoyed shopping for clothes with my daughter, Elisabeth.  My son, Alex, was eight years old when she was born.  Which meant that I was quarantined to the tiny boy’s section for eight whole years; drowning in khaki shorts and rugged blue polo shirts.

I could pick out Elisabeth’s clothes, cute little funky dresses, fun little striped tights, green and purple shoes, adorable hair accessories.  The world was my oyster and I didn’t do too bad for someone on a very tight budget (most of her clothes came from second-hand stores and Children’s Place Monster Sale).  She happily donned whatever I gave her and never complained about a stitch of clothing, not once.

Forward to real-time, ten years later, approximately one hundred Disney pre-teen episodes in, and a true calling to craving “stylish” and God forbid “cute”- Elisabeth has become a full-fledge individual.  I have encouraged this individuality is so many ways, wanting her to have the strong female self-confidence that was denied me growing up.

So why is it that now when I take her shopping, if I so much as graze my hand over something it is then tainted with “Mom-ness” and is forever to be shunned by her?  When did this happen?  When did she get so picky?  For now dresses will only be tolerated if forced for special occasions.  Skirts and skorts are no longer cool.  She prefers to simply wrap her hair in a plain ponytail with a plain headband each and every day.  All I can think is why won’t she let me pick out her clothes?  Of course, I still have final say on all choices.  I have only lost my ability to say yes, my no is still intact and will remain so for awhile to come.  I can still say yes, pick something out, go home with it, but it will lie in her drawer probably praying to see sunlight just once.

In retrospect, I wrap my hair up in a ponytail, I don’t wear makeup or jewelry, I prefer solids to prints.  I fall in love with a pair of shoes and will wear them until I feel like I have to have a funeral at their demise.  Did I pass this plainness to her?  She is so beautiful and so cool, why won’t she let me pick out the clothes I wish I could wear?  Perhaps my own longings are the issue here.  Even as a teenager I had long hair I almost never cut, no makeup, wore a plain t-shirt and jeans.  That’s it.  I always looked at the girls that could pull off funky, stylish clothes and wish I could too. I didn’t have it in me.  Later I learned to dress a bit more individually, shocking my friends at times with my eclectic style.  However, more often than not, I choose comfort every time.

So after I weigh all of the facts and causes, I should be happy that Elisabeth is becoming a self-confidant and individually strong young woman.  I rarely ever say “inappropriate” when she chooses something and there is nothing wrong with her decisions.

I should be content with this, but there is always a pang in my heart when I pick something up and her eyes begin rolling, a “Really?!” about to roll off her tongue as “This is so cute” is about to roll off of mine.

The Quest for Balance

Monday, September 27th, 2010

I have become obsessed with trying to find balance between being a single mom, taking four college courses, job searching and trying to check off my ever-growing to-do list.  Add to that the desire to have a social life and an organized home and life, it has become apparent that I am obsessed about one thing: finding balance in life.  Sometimes I think everyone around me has it and I am left out, constantly spinning the wheels of my mind in order to catch up to those who hold this secret calmness and success.  Other times I think that I worry about it all far too often and I my standards are too high and demanding.

Most of the time I feel like I have no time, money, resources or patience enough to achieve the goals I have set out and just live life every day.  How does apply to colleges or start a blog when there is homework and dishes to wash now?  This becomes the conflict, focusing on everyday struggles and chores prevent me from doing the work needed to make our dreams come true.  Being a single mom does not help the situation.  Perhaps this is why total fatigue has seeped into my consciousness at an alarming rate.

The oddest part of this is I keep trying and dreaming.  I continue to squeeze tiny spurts of effort and energy into what I believe will improve our lives.  I try to enjoy Taco Tuesdays and the thought of my son and I starting a four-year college next Fall.  I tell myself that happiness is not what we do but how we see ourselves overall.  When time moves too fast and I panic, I try to stop and relish the present.  Does any of this bring balance to my life?  Not really.  Do I wake up some mornings and feel like it is a monumental task to face the upcoming busy day? Hell yes.  Do I wish that I didn’t have to spend twenty minutes looking for misplaced keys or my favorite blue top?  Of course.  I guess I am beginning to realize that I am measuring myself against all of these imaginary people that have it all together, all the time.  When people tell me I am organized I laugh inside, perhaps I need to reverse that scenario.  Perhaps people appear to be more balanced and organized than they really are and I should stop putting so much pressure on myself.

Overall, things get done, the kids have what they need and usually what they want, and I have a limited yet satisfying social life full of people I respect and adore.  Independence and ambition certainly have a price.  I am coming to the realization it is one I am not only willing to pay, but one that also makes me feel happy and lucky.  It is this very obsessed quest for balance that is hindering my goal of feeling balanced.  How very ironic.  I have decided to be obsessed about something new: enjoying my life for all of its bumps and adventures.

My First Blog!

Monday, March 8th, 2010

This is my first blog.

Creating and writing a blog has been on my to-do list for quite some time, yet I decided that everything else was more important right now. A friend of mine encouraged me to write a blog, even going so far as setting up this site for me. It lay there bored and collecting dust, like your prized (insert your collection here) cherished but never used.

Then the perfectionist inside me waited and waited and waited. Never satisfied with the topic I had anguished over, domain name I have chosen or the writing I did. I mean no one wants to really read about me whine about my unbalanced, over stressed chaotic life, do they?

So here I am, publishing my first blog about what I don’t know.
Above all, I love to write. I love to read other people’s writing. I love all of the lovely things associated with writing, like black moleskin notebooks that make me feel like I should be sipping a martini on a boat alongside a coastal town and/or sitting in a cabin in front of those old fashioned typewriters with that onion thin paper. I see myself clicking away as I write the next New York Times bestseller list.

Using an extra fine black ink pen, that glides along the paper like an ice skate after the sun has ever so slightly melted the ice beneath those awful used ice skate rentals. I have always wanted to write, even as a little girl writing stories about a family of bears.  Then I was a whimsical teenager writing poetry and writing about the homeless epidemic in our country.

Perhaps it sounds as if I should be a writer indeed. I seem motivated and passionate right? I am, but I had a bump in my road, or rather I had one in my belly almost seventeen years ago.

That very boy has now interrupted me from writing this very page roughly twenty odd times. Why? It is an easy answer; he doesn’t want me to miss one second of Family Guy. He is incessantly talking, as teenagers do. Family Guy is extremely funny; I would never deny it. Seth McFarlane brings out every single piece of pop culture I have ever hidden in the recesses of my brain, I looked it up we are born in the same year. So Klondike commercial jokes resonate with me.

I just need some downtime. No talking. No pointing. No running from errand to errand. The stress of the day is still harassing my mind and soul.

I attempt to use my yoga DVD today for the first time. Is it just me or is that pretzel twisting hard? Even more so, am I the only one that feels like a failure as soon as I can’t stretch quite as far as the fantastically flexible and thin girl on the screen? My eight year old folding herself into poses like a master reincarnated, “It’s like, so easy Mommy!”

Yet, I feel relaxed now that I have accomplished my writing goals. What have I written about? Who knows? Will you feel like you wasted your time reading this? Perhaps you will, but no more so than after you have completed another level on face book Farmville.