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Author: Tricia

I’m the only girl in my home, sharing activities, experiments and other fun ways for moms to connect with their kids

pretzels, Oreo cookies make spider cookie

Simple Spider Cookies

spider-shaped cookies made from Oreos and pretzels

Sweet Pea’s kindergarten teacher had some great ideas for Halloween last year. I admittedly am not that into Halloween, so to search out ideas for this particular upcoming holiday has not been high on my to-do list, but has been requested by the boys. So this year, I have a couple of things in mind. Simple things where they can get their hands dirty! Read more

Lessons learned berry picking

I remember Gramma putting on her apron and asking us to go with her. It was a sweltering hot summer day, and we slowly walked along the edge of the woods along the driveway, then the hedgerow along the back field. Pricked fingers as we worked at our task weren’t a major deal to us. We knew what this was for. Read more

(Adult) Peer Pressure

The Peer Pressure Scenario

The moms have been wearing tank tops and work out shorts with their cute little shades and looking all ‘in’ when dropping their kids off in the expertly decorated VBS classrooms. They walk together in the hallways laughing at their little stories. They hang out in the back of the sanctuary talking quickly and giggling while the kids sing their final songs for the day. I imagine what they are laughing at as I watch them, secretly, while standing in the doorway.

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Free Online Summer Reading Clubs

In past years Cutie Pie has taken part in the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading club. I didn’t realize until this year that there are several other programs like this to help promote summer reading! (Ahem, I mean other than the public library, but we all go there regularly in the summer, right? Seriously, we do! Every week!)

I’ll share just a few of the free Summer Reading Clubs with you today. It’s not too late to begin if your child has been on break a week or more already!

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Summer Reading

Summer break begins for us this coming Tuesday. I know many of you are already well into your summer breaks and I hope you are having fun! If you’re doing anything super fun, let us know in the comments!

In anticipation of the boys being home for ten weeks while my husband and I trade off working and keeping the boys occupied (which is totally new territory for us) I have been trying to get organized so the summer weeks don’t waste away before our eyes! Read more

Dinosaur Books for Dino loving kids at http://momistheonlygirl.com

15 Great Dinosaur Books – needs pic

Cutie Pie loves his dinosaur books still, even though he’s really into dragons. With so many books about dinosaurs on our shelves, I thought I’d compile a list of the dinosaur books from our ‘little’ collection for you. I’m sure most of these are in your public library – maybe some are more popular than others.

15 Awesome Dinosaur Books for Dino loving kids at http://momistheonlygirl.com

I’ve only linked to a few books, just so you can check a few out (I’m not an affiliate). Most of these will be available from your local library!

As Cutie Pie started to read on his own more and more, he gravitated toward Graphic Dinosaurs Comics by Rob Shone. Our librarian showed us these books in the comics section. These are laid out in more of a comic book style, and he really liked that about them.

I think to some degree dinosaur books will always be on our shelves! What about yours?

 

Bubble Print Easter Egg Decorations

Friday I shared a simple Marbled Easter Egg Decoration how to. Today it’s all about bubbles! Its the middle of Spring Break for us, so I decided on something a little spring-like!

We first made bubble print art in 2011. It was so simple and it is a great way to make Easter decorations with your little ones.

Bubble Easter Egg How To

Instructions for Bubble Easter Egg Decorations:

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Marbled Easter Egg Decorations

Have you decorated for Easter? (Do you even do that? I only ask because we never really decorate for any holiday other than Christmas – and of course birthdays!)

Marbled Easter Eggs

 

This is a simple activity that you can do with kids of any age. We first made Marble Art about 5 years ago, when Cutie Pie was three, so with a little supervision young ones will be able to create. The older set might like to experiment by taking this large (and probably outdoors! This could become a gross motor activity!) Read more

Playing in a new space

I posted a little while ago about playing a game by other rules. What if we extend this idea to playing with other things in different ways? What about playing in a new space with an old toy? Will it lead to discovery and exploration? You bet ya!

Playing in a New Space

New Play Space Suggestion

The other day Sweet Pea asked if he could play with the Legos in the dining room. He wanted to make a train on the table. At first I wasn’t so sure ~ we always play with the with the Legos on the floor laid out on a blanket. This was a new space for Legos and I wasn’t really keen on the mess to follow. However, he had a very good idea, so why not? Read more

Rocking to sleep

He is warm in my arms, head cradled against my bicep as if he’d be looking at my cheek if his eyes were open like when he was a baby. Cuddled with his body close and still after having a wave of emotion and crumbling into a little crying heap in his bed as he was going to sleep earlier, I feel his steady breathing. I feel his body’s little twitches as it settles in and relaxes.

I breathe him in and try to take note of every detail of the moment. Read more

What I tell myself

 

“One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, “What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?” ~ Rachel Carson

I read this quote the other day and realized I don’t think this often enough.

When my boys were younger I could so easily see things through their eyes as they were experiencing things for the first time. Now that they are older I find it harder to do, maybe because they aren’t having new experiences as often.

Today, however, my boys and I are home alone (school conferences, so Hubby still has work) and I’m telling myself to see things as if I’d never seen them before, and as if I will never see them again. I tried last night as we sat at the sewing machine. They wanted to make beanbags…And I did find myself starting to be excited with them.

I do have a question, though, and I sincerely hope you all will take a minute to answer, because as tired moms I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves wondering this…

If what we do is something I have experienced, how do I make this transition in my mind and find the excitement of seeing it for the first time?

 

 

 

Does it add up? (experiment)

This is a fun experiment that’s almost like a magic trick. I came upon this when we were having fun with the materials for the Sky Blue Experiment and Cutie Pie was trying to make his own little experiment.

Since this involves both water and rubbing alcohol, which look the same when in a clear container, you can easily leave your child totally confused if you don’t let them know you are using two different liquids! (I’ll leave it up to you if you’d like to be a magician or not!)

Does it add up Experiment

 

It goes without saying that this is a science experiment, so use protective clothing, cover your workspace if you deem it necessary and make sure there is an adult around! Read more

Where’s your path?

Hubby blows a path through the snow from our drive to the driveways on either side of ours for the mail carrier. (Yes, I’m still talking snow here in Rochester, NY, although it is finally melting and I can see just a little bit of grass poking through.) Our neighbors all down this side of the street do the same, so there is a path running near the front of every house from one end of the street to the other. Every morning we traipse through the path to the bus stop next door. Every morning there is a fresh set of paw prints as well, and I am pretty sure they run the length of the street.

picture of a boy stepping off a snowy path
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It’s OK to ask for help

Coming upstairs I could hear Sweet Pea trying to open his bedroom door. I gave the knob a turn to help and saw him with his messy bed hair stooped over trying desperately to hold onto about 15 of his lovies while also trying to scoop up another.

Words It's OK to Ask for Help

Isn’t this just like how we often try to break through whatever we’re struggling with, while still juggling everything else? Some times we just need to let someone help us.

As moms we have this false expectation that we have got to do it all. I think this is true for others in light of letting God in ~ why let Him in when we are managing? In both cases we are so caught up in getting through that we can’t see there is someone who can help.

It’s ok to ask for help, just like children do. Sometimes that’s the only way we can make it through whatever we’re dealing with or trying to accomplish. Are there things other family members can do? Are your kids actually old enough to help with a few things?

It’s not only good for us to have help, it’s good for our family to see we are not the SuperMom they think we are. It makes us a real-life example for them. It shows them we are vulnerable, real. And this makes us stronger.

So Beautiful Mom reading this, be strong and ask for help. I know it’s hard, but it’s a good hard.

DIY Spring Bird Feeders

…and you can find a bag of birdseed anywhere…
-from Tom T. Hall’s song Everybody Loves to Hear a Bird Sing 

We made spring bird feeders the other day. Crazy, I know, since there is still about 3 feet of snow on the ground, but we are beginning to see and hear some birds around! Since everything is still frozen, we decided to make bird feeders so our migrating friends won’t starve!

 

Spring Bird FeedersThis method of making bird feeders has been around a long time, and was even put into song by Tom T. Hall in the early years of my life. (Scroll to the bottom to find out who he is!) Hubby even has a picture book that goes along with the record which he kept from his childhood!

                                           …Here’s how to make friends with a bird…

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Dressing for the cold weather

Affiliate Links imageHopefully spring is on it’s way, but all of this bitterly cold weather has me still thinking about dressing warmly! I’m going to share what I wear in these temperatures as well as some safety tips for playing outside with the kids (because we know it’s not good to be outside for very hat has been officially called the coldest month of February on record. Some days we’ve had a windchill of 30 below zero, with temps not reaching above zero for a few days in a row.

Dressing for Cold Weather

Of course, today it’s 30 and we are expecting some freezing rain tonight! Anyway, feel free to post this to Pinterest for next year’s cold weather reference!

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Get Creative at (link)

Last week I showed photos of our winter break. There was one creative activity that I just had to come back and share with you. Doodle Cubes*** from Babble Dabble Do! Coloring these was sort of a cathartic exercise for me, so I decided to post it today, a day of the week I usually reserve for a mom-related topic.

Doodle Cubes

Ana at Babble Dabble Do titled her post for these as “Drawing Ideas for Kids”. I initially thought I would just give the printouts of these to the boys and we could create together. Possibly getting a little more involved than just coloring one and leaving it at that.

I had this great idea that we could be really creative and color two or more to have them stack creating a picture. Of course, things didn’t get that far before 6 year old Sweet Pea decided he wanted to create something out of Minecraft (current obsession) and decided he didn’t want to work as a team with me.

Little did I know getting creative was just the thing I needed to get out of the doldrums of being stuck inside during the freezing temps (I mean, literally freezing – with the wind blowing it felt like 30 degrees below zero!)

I pulled out my own markers (Sweet Pea likes to pop the ink part of his in, rendering markers useless) and got to work. Oh my was it addicting!

Go ahead and make your own Doodle Cubes! Just the thing for you to color alongside your little one! (Then you can both play with colors, improve your coordination and improve your fine motor skills through coloring and cutting!) Try to create a picture so when the final cubes are stacked you can see it! I challenge you!

***I in no way want to take credit for this activity and am referring you to the original site for the printable…if you have positive comments about your experience creating with these I would love to hear, but I think Ana would even more!

Fill in the Blanks

Affiliate Links imageHave you heard of Mad Libs? (They are fairly inexpensive as you can see by following this affiliate link.) You can make this similar quick writing activity geared towards younger elementary kids for when you just need a few minutes to finish something up if you don’t have any handy!

DIY Mad Libs

This activity can also reinforce parts of speech, like the actual Mad Libs with labels under the blank line, or just be focused on getting your child to write! Read more

A Game by Other Rules

Gramma’s visits always give us several opportunities to play games. On this occasion, Sweet Pea pulled out Fish, a cute card set with pictures of fish which you can either play Memory or Go Fish with. the Twist…Sweet Pea made up his own rules to Go Fish!

His rules included everyone getting the number of cards that matched their age (except for Gramma, because there weren’t enough cards!) Play goes from youngest to oldest and the youngest plays with all his cards showing. After a few minutes the boys decided to play according to the proper rules and they still had fun!

I know we should teach our kids to follow rules, but I think there is room for discovery and exploration if we give a little wiggle room. I love watching how things turn out when the rules are altered. Many times it results in trial and error, other times not so much. One thing that often times results is a lot of fun experiencing something new!

What would happen if we changed the rules to other games? Hmmm…give it a try and see!

(Sometimes I wish I were still young enough to make my own rules for life!)

 

Snow-covered yard

snowy yard with words Snow Brings PeaceI look out the window at a snow-covered yard. Pristine. Not a single footprint.

It’s like looking at a picture of a dessert when the wind is still.

The shadow from the tree looks like a picture.

Cold, white, smooth. Did I mention cold?

I stand and wonder when the peaceful display before me will be tarnished. When will footprints tarnish the landscape?

Walking path through the snow

It reminds me of going through a dark time. While there it seems never-ending. Still. Alone. Cold. Like the path shown  in this picture. The walls of snow are too high to waver from it. If anything more falls it will be hard to see out from the path set before me.

But dark times are not peaceful. And they are not white. They are sometimes tarnished so much we cannot see it. (I think of a past post The Father’s Path)

Sometimes we can feel alone as a mom. We feel isolated due to the cold weather and not being able to get out, or we just are not able to connect with another person even when the sun is shining. Our kids are our focus and all of our energy is poured into them with little left over for ourselves. It’s so easy to get cold.

snow-covered yard undisturbed with swing set

Think of the snow-covered yard. Hiding under the brilliant white snow an amazing work is happening. Miniscule work, but it’s happening and will result in green grass, colorful flowers and lots of life. We cannot see it looking at the still layer of snow almost protecting everything from fun and laughter.

This will happen in our lives as moms, too. We will see the fruitful result of our love pouring into our children. We will see the sun shining on our toes and theirs as well feel the oppressive cold snow lift and our smiles return.

child playing in a snowbank

For now know that you are not alone. You are growing, just as they are. You are emerging as a beautiful flower. The process is just harder to see because you are the one changing through this cold time. It’s hard to see a beautiful snow sculpture in the beginning stages, too…

Snow brings peace. It really does – eventually!

Winter break fun

Winter break is supposed to be filled with cold and fun in this part of the country (Rochester, NY area), however this break has been a little too much for us! I don’t mean to complain, I know there are a lot of others who have much more snow and have been experiencing much colder temperatures. We’ve only had temperatures hovering around zero with wind chills sometimes making it feel like -30.

We have been able to get outside once, but for the most part this winter weather is just too dangerously cold to enjoy all the snow! I’ll post more about some of the fun we had next week! (As well as tips on dressing for this weather!)

Here are some photos from our winter-y winter break for you to enjoy! Think of it as a reminder why you don’t live here, or as living vicariously for those of you who miss the snow!

Do your kids have a winter break? What have they been up to?

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Science (#1)

Affiliate links imageSt. Patrick’s Day is a great time to talk about the Rainbow while reinforcing the letter R. There are all sorts of fun rainbow activities to do with your little one, and lots of science, too!

For a favorite rainbow drink activity, check out my post on Rainbow Milk and to make rainbow cookies check out this post.

Rainbow Science

Another fun rainbow science activity involves a glass of water, a box and a bright sunny day. (The boys and I have done a lot of experiments, which we later found in 365 Science Experiments. This is one of them! This is an affiliate link.)

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Coffee Filter Flowers

Coffee Filter Flowers. Simple creative fun for any day.

Sweet pea loves playing with water and color, so we used some medicine droppers and water with food coloring added and had some fun just playing. We got to combine colors, experiment with how we used the medicine droppers, so much to explore!

Then we made our flowers! This isn’t something I came up with, rather a quick search on Pinterest for simple coffee filter flowers will bring many results for how to manipulate the coffee filters into pretty flowers with chenille stems.

This is such an easy craft. But something about scrunching up the centers of these coffee filters when they are dry and wrapping them with a chenille stem to resemble flowers always melts the heart!

Have a wonderful time sharing love to those around you with pretty flowers!

 

Morning Routine – time to change it?

Last week we looked briefly at daily rhythms, daily routines, and weekly rhythms and saw they can really help ourselves and our families. Today is just a little reminder to take inventory of one little space in your day, if you haven’t already!

What does your morning routine look like?

Getting yourself ready should be part of your morning routine! Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean everyone else is ready to walk out the door for the bus and you are walking out in your pjs…unless you want to, of course! Read more

Daily Rhythm for Kids

In the years I had two boys at home with me and a hubby at work all day I developed a few routines that I continue today. Not out of obsessive habit, but rather because they work for me, for my family. I stumbled upon them quite innocently enough and thought maybe some of you might want to hear about them, maybe they might work for you. I’ll be sharing a few this week, but I tend to group them into what I call my weekly and daily rhythms rather than calling them routines. It is great to build routines/rhythms, for more than just yourself! Keep reading to find out why!

 

Affiliate links imageAre you trying to figure out your daily rhythm? If you’ve got little ones at home, it might be helpful to discover your child’s daily rhythm as well!

When my Cutie Pie was a little tiny baby I had a difficult time discerning whether he was hungry, tired, or overstimulated. I know this is something a lot of parents can tell naturally, but I just couldn’t. When he was just a couple of months old a friend gave me the best book, The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D. It was just what we needed!

Rhythms for Kids http://momistheonlygirl.comDiscovering my baby’s daily rhythm

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Daily Rhythm and Meal Planning

Meal Planning as part of a daily rhythm at http://momistheonlygirl.comIt is so important to include meal planning in your daily rhythm. When you review your two weeks on the daily time tracker I provided yesterday, you will undoubtedly notice you spend time preparing meals regularly! Why not make this part of your day by planning for it?

There are so many meal planning resources on the internet that I won’t try to add to them with explanations or printables of my own. Instead I will share some of the sites for you to click to and explore which might work for you along with a few tips to meal planning.

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Build Routines – Daily Rhythms

In the years I had two boys at home with me and a hubby at work all day I developed a few routines that I continue today. Not out of obsessive habit, but rather because they work for me, for my family. I stumbled upon them quite innocently enough and thought maybe some of you might want to hear about them, maybe they might work for you. I’ll be sharing a few this week, but I tend to group them into what I call my weekly and daily rhythms rather than calling them routines. It is great to build routines/rhythms, for more than just yourself! Keep reading to find out why!

 

Grocery store trip

Seemed like clockwork hubby would run out of milk on a Sunday night, so it became habit to go grocery shopping on Monday mornings. Did you know hardly anyone is in the grocery store I use on a Monday morning at 9? Seriously. The. Best. Time I found to cart two (possibly unhappy) boys through a grocery store! (And I could use the excuse that it was ‘still morning’ when they asked for candy. It’s a rule in our home – no candy before lunch is eaten.) This became part of my Monday Daily Rhythm.

I found it so helpful to take the time to review my week for several weeks in a row to see if there were routine things I was doing without realizing it. There were!

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Daily Rhythm

Do you have a routine to your day? Some sort of routine that you follow so your kids know what to do and what to expect everyday? I like to call it our daily rhythm.routines and rhythm at http://momistheonlygirl.com

My Cutie Pie has always been a creature of routine. Now that he’s in school the routine has changed but it’s still there. I like to think of it more as a rhythm, because it’s just the pace we go through the day. It is not necessarily a routine, because sometimes we do switch things around.

Why a Daily rhythm?

 

My boys seems less on edge when they have this basic idea of what is going to happen throughout the day. Now that they are both in school it is pretty simple, but when they were with me all the time, or at least most of the time, they did better having an idea of what to expect. On weekends our daily rhythm helps so much to keep our boys ‘in the know’ and therefore much less anxious. Read more