Monday, June 2, 2014

Talk to your kids

I know this seems like a no brainer, but I think we all get caught up in life and forget that it's the simple things that are most important and have the biggest impact. 


One of the most important things you can do in a day is talk, or better said, listen to your kids.  One of my favorite quotes is, "Listen to them while they're small, and they'll talk to you when they're tall."  I have found this to be VERY true.  My oldest child loved Pokemon when he was younger, a phase I'm glad didn't last too long.  I spent hours hearing about all the different cards and what each one did. I may or may not have zoned out more than once while hearing all about the latest Pokemon battle between he and some friends  - I'll be honest, I didn't like listening to him talk about Pokémon or about Star Wars for that matter!  At one point I really thought I was wasting my time listening to him "ramble".  I was very wrong! As I listened to him talk about Pokémon something else happened too.......
   I also heard about what was being said and done between friends, and his take on different situations.  It gave me a chance to be on his level and to discuss things.  Have you had conversations where there has been plenty of dosing off on their part?  The ones that are all about things you are interested in.  Mine seemed to always be about getting their chores done, being nicer to brothers and sisters, homework, get the drift.  It was like a switch in their brain turned off as I started talking.  So....while you're in a discussion they're actually listening to (pokemon), now is the time to (carefully) make comments that they will hear.  Maybe a comment about how you hope they remember how they felt when they were treated a certain way, whether it's bad or good, so when they're in that situation they'll know how to act. Don't go off on a tangent, just simple comments so they'll want to come tell you things again.  When you're talking about things that they are interested in, they are listening!

When my older kids were young, my husband and I would take turns tucking different kids in at night.  It would always involve hearing what happened in their day.  They told us one thing that made them sad, three things that made them happy and one thing they did for someone else. If we had two kids sharing a room, they knew it was ways an option for one of them to go to our room so they had (private) one on one time.  We always ended by singing a few songs (song my mom and dad sang to me at bedtime, some of my best childhood memories) and listening to prayers.  As the kids got older, schedules got more involved for them and for us.  Our bedtime routine slowly got dropped out of our schedule because #1 our lives were getting crazier, and #2 I was exhausted by bedtime.  The night usually ended with us saying family prayers and telling the kids to please hurry and get in bed.  One child it seemed, would always end up getting told, "If I see your face one more time before the sun is up, you're going to be sorry!"  I later read that the last thing you hear at night before you go to bed you actually hear in your mind over 100 times- mother of the year award right here!!!  As weeks turned into months, I realized how much I missed that time with my kids.  I talked to my kids about it and found out that they really missed it too.  Yes, even my 18 year old son!  We were going to make this work!  Pathetic I know, but we actually had to make up a schedule of who gets tucked in by which parent.  Unfortunatly, the option of each kid getting this nightly isn't available right now.  So instead, each child gets one night with mom and one with dad each week.  On their off nights it's just a hug and a kiss (unless they request one on one time because something is going on they need to talk about).  We went through and figured out which nights worked best with each child.  Wednesday night is activity night at church for my three teenagers.  By the time they get home, finish up any last minute things on their homework and get ready for bed, they get a hug and a kiss goodnight.  So that makes it the younger two's turns.  We just went day by day and figured out a schedule that worked for us.  It even got written on the calendar so we wouldn't forget!  It's AMAZING the things I have learned while laying on the floor of a child's room in the dark.  They will tell you things there that they won't tell you any other time. 

Bedtime is a GREAT time to talk, but you're kids need to know that you're ALWAYS available to them.  So....what happens when you feel like you don't have time to talk???
There were (& still are) many times when I've had a child who wants to talk when I didn't have time right then.  I learned early on, when they're ready to talk, you have to be ready to listen.  If they can't talk to you, they'll find someone else to talk to and they may not be giving advice you'll like.  If I'm just running an errand and they can ride with me I'll take them along.  If I'm heading somewhere but they can't come, I'll have them call me on my cell so we can talk while I drive.  If I'm just at home but have stuff I need to do I'll have them follow me around the house & help me as we talk.  I've heard many interesting things while pulling clothes out of the dryer, or putting clean sheets on the bed (& they've learned new skills while they were talking).   Then there are the times that you're not at home and can't be reached by phone, that's when your "notebook" comes in to play. Each child has a notebook with their name on it. At times when you're not available, or maybe they need to talk to you about something and are nervous about it. They write in their notebook and leave it in a place you chosen (ours is on my bed).  Then when I have a minute, usually before bed, I read what they wrote and write back to them.  When my 18 year old was in second grade he had a notebook that we would write back and forth to each other in, working on his writing skills.  I noticed right then it was doing a lot more than just improving writing.  Think about your friends, how do you get closer to them?  By talking and confiding in each other.  You do have to be careful to not let it turn into a gripe session of you telling them what to do. Listening should be happening more than talking.  A lot of time they don't really need a problem solved, just someone to listen & be excited, sad, happy (or whatever else) with.   I have been a sounding board a lot lately, adding tips here and there when I felt I could get away with it.  Kids are just like husbands, if they think it's their idea, it's always a great idea.  So, put hints and ideas out and let them figure it out.  Whatever you do, make sure what is said is kept in confidence. They won't be open and honest with you if they think you're going to turn around and tell someone else.  I remember getting "caught" telling my friend what I thought was just a cute story my daughter had told me.  I got a death glare and the silent treatment the rest of the day.  It took me months to gain her trust back.  So before you share an experience that isn't yours, make sure you have permission. 

Another time besides bedtime I hate to miss out on is as they're coming in the door from being somewhere.  Whether it's school, work, a date, hanging with friends, whatever.  99% of the time as my kids walk in the door the first word out of their mouth is "MOM!"  I love it and I wouldn't have it any other way!  They are usually ready and egar to talk as soon as they get home and if I'm not there I miss it (this is where cell phones or the notebook come in to play also). I am very lucky to have a schedule that allows me to be here when they leave for school and get to be here when they return most days. This is a listening time for you! You may need to ask a few questions to get them talking, and it may not come easy at first, but don't give up! Don't ask, "How was your day?" unless you want to hear, "Fine".  Ask a question that will spark conversation,  "What did you do at recess today?" or "What did you do in your choir class today." If you ask a question that can be answered in one or two words, more than likely that's what you'll get.  If you ask a question that requires actual conversation and they know that you really care, you'll get conversation (this won't happen all at once, don't give up). I want my kids to come to my hubby and I. Whether it's good/bad happy/sad, I chose to be a mom for a reason and I want a close relationship with my kids.  This doesn't just happen!  It takes work, lots of work.  But anything worth having doesn't come easy!  Actions speak louder than go show them you love them and that you want a relationship with them!
What are you waiting for, get off your computer and go talk to your kids!

****Update June 25, 2014 
I spoke way too soon....I have bookend boys and my youngest just got into Pokemon!  Lucky for me ALL the Pokemon cartoons are on Netflix!  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Graduation Gift

"I can't believe I'm old enough to have a child graduating from high school!"  Those are words I've heard come out of many peoples mouths but never thought it was that big of a deal...until I'm the one that's old enough to have a child graduate from high school!  Along with my own child graduating, he also has lots of friends graduating....friends he wants to give gifts to.  So, I decided to put together a simple yet cute gift. 

 Dr Suess always says it best, right?! This can be as cheap as the candy bar and paper, or tuck some cash or a gift card inside. 

I started out with an XL symphony candy bar.  I wrapped a piece of white paper around it and taped it on.  I used our school colors and added a pattern strip of paper that I wrapped around and taped also. Next I cut out the poem and backed it in maroon cardstock and placed it over the patterned strip.  I found some fun sparkly yarn that I wrapped around the remaining white paper and then added  this  fun graduation cap.   I had some paper with our school name on it that added a fun touch. I didn't have enough for all 20 I needed though, so I added a PVHS to make it fun.  
I cut the graduation cap out on my Cricut Explore.  I love how you can buy 1 image instead of purchasing a whole cartridge!  I only cut out these two pieces and then snipped the tassel off so I could add my own.
For my tassel (which I think makes the whole hat), I used embroidery floss.  I was able to get 6-7 tassels per skein of floss.  I wrapped the floss around my fingers five or six times and then left a long tail.
I then wrapped the tail around one end a few times to make it look like a knot, and then tied it off leaving a short tail to attach to the hat.  Snip off the ends and it's good to go.  I attached the two pieces with a puffy glue dot to give it dimension.  I love how they turned out!

Pull out all those scrap pieces of paper and turn them into a stinkin' cute grad gift!
Happy Summer! Let the pool sitting, bon bon eating, lemonade drinking begin...I'm ready!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Strawberry Tapioca Salad

We spent the past 5 days in Southern California, visiting Disneyland and the beach.  My today's task list has been well used while I have been doing laundry and getting my house put back in order.  Why is it that you need a day of vacation to recover from your vacation!?  Dinner was in the back of my mind when my friend called and reminded me of our neighborhood block party.  I had totally forgotten about it, but was excited that all I had to do for dinner was make a salad to take to the party.  Strawberries are in season right now, so I decided on this yummy salad.  I have a few different salads that are my go to.  You know the type, easy and everyone asks for the recipe because they are so good, this is one of those.  
We actually call this "Peach Salad" at our house.  Then depending on which fruit it has in it we say, "Peach Salad with Strawberries".  Confusing I know...the first time we had it was with peaches, and the name peach salad stuck.  The thing that's so great about this salad is that it is very versatile as to which flavor it is.  My absolute favorite is peach loaded with fresh peaches...YUM!  But, since it's not peach season, today it's strawberry salad. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Laundry Instruction Sheets

Two years ago I put my back out and was down for almost a month.  It was a long hard month (especially because my hubby was working out of town).  Luckily for me I had a teenage driver that ran everyone around and kept milk in the fridge, teenage girls that kept the house going and watched the younger ones, and meals in the freezer so we didn't have to eat Mac and Cheese every night.  My family and friends were also great to help out!  During this time I realized that there were some areas I hadn't taught my kids enough.  One of these areas was doing laundry.  I'm kind of fanatical about my laundry and up until hurting my back, I was the only one allowed to do laundry.  I know....dumb!  My hubby had ruined too many of my clothes at the first of our marriage won thru incompetence  and I had banned him from the laundry (there are many things he does GREAT in the house - laundry just isn't one of them).    In order to help them, I made detailed instruction sheets for the different loads of laundry they would be doing.  I later framed these and hung them by the washer.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How do you spend your time?

Do you ever have those days where you think you couldn't possibly slam one more thing in, and then you end up having to do three more things!  At the end of the day you wonder #1 How you ever survived the day? #2 If you missed anything because you were so busy running around doing everything you're not really sure what you even did?   #3 If all of your kids are ok, because you were so busy you didn't even notice? #4 If you had eaten anything all day? and #5 What you can do to make sure you never have a day like this EVER again!!!  I feel like my month has been like this!  Luckily I've had a couple breaks that have kept me out of the looney bin.  When I do have a break and should be cleaning like mad, I'm usually laying in bed feeling guilty that I'm not up cleaning enjoying the silence, or reading a book.  I was talking to my hubby about it the other day asking him what we can do to slow down a little bit because this is seriously killing me.  He suggested we get rid of one or two of our kids and that should help out some.  But, since we couldn't agree on which two to get rid of.....Hahaha.

How we see ourselves

Monday, March 3, 2014

Freezer Strawberry Jam

A main staple in our house is Strawberry can't be bought from the store though, it has to come out of the freezer
(put there by me).  In fact we were cleaning out and rearranging our storage room and found quite a few bottles of store bought jam.  My hubby asked why we still had them, "because even if they were starving in an emergency the kids wouldn't eat it!" (he's right).  When my nieces and nephews are eating lunch at my house and I ask what they want, they ALWAYS ask, "do you have any of your yummy strawberry jam?"  PB&J it is! 
So last week when I found strawberries for $5.00 a case I knew what I thought I would be doing that day.  Luckily strawberries will last for a few days to use for jam, because an hour after I unloaded my strawberries my hubby and I ended up making an unexpected trip to Brianhead.  My son had been hurt in a snowboarding accident and I spent the rest of the day at Instacare.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Pantry Organization

My pantry was out of control in need of a make over.  I could clean it all out and in 2 or 3 days it was a mess again.  I have a lot of stuff in there, and there just wasn't enough room. See all that stuff in the corners....It would take 5 minutes to get to it by the time I moved everything.  As you can see, when it got put away it got shoved somewhere else and things never seem to fit the same going back in.  HELP!
 I wanted 90% of the stuff in "A space" but only had 40% of my pantry that was "A space". job was to make more "A space".   I called in reinforcement from my better half (doesn't hurt that he's very handy too!). 
My scary thrown in pantry!