Thursday, March 17, 2016

St. Patrick's Day

What kind of parent are you? Do you go all out for every holiday, get your Pinterest on and craft and bake with your kids? Or do you find holiday celebrations (big and small) stressful and overwhelming? Or do you fall somewhere in between?

During my first year of teaching, I went all out for every celebration I could. Behold, St. Patrick's Day in my third grade classroom:

That rainbow was hand painted by me and my aide.
If you look closely in the top of the picture, you'll see the leprechaun traps the kids made!

I was talking to another mom friend of mine the other day, and she recounted the panic she felt one year when her preschooler came home with all of these notions, ideas, and EXPECTATIONS of what St. Patrick's Day would look like in their home. Green footprints? Yes! Gold coins? You betcha! Laying a trap? Of course!

Like many of us moms, she hadn't given a second thought to St. Patrick's day other than dressing her child in something green. As a childless first year teacher, I shudder to think of the burden I may have unknowingly placed on my students' parents!

I'm all about having fun celebrating the holidays, big and small! But only if it's fun for ME. I think we all have different levels of enthusiasm and tolerance for Pinterest-worthy projects. Maybe you're all in for every holiday. Maybe you wish we could all just dial it down a notch

My specialty is talking up something marginally fun/different/exciting and playing it up like it's the BEST THING EVER! This year, I made more of an effort and we made our own leprechaun trap. It was a great way to kill time in the afternoon, and my three year old was simply beside himself with excitement!

I put in some "gold" coins I got from the Dollar Tree as leprechaun bait. My boys were very surprised and pleased when the gold was gone, and a bowl of jelly beans was in its' place!

How do you handle holiday celebrations for your kids?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Lentil Salad

I made this new-to-me lentil salad for a baby shower I went to recently. It turned out quite well, so I thought I'd share it here!

Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 cups dried lentils
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small red pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or use white wine vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Here's what to do:

  1. Combine rinsed lentils in a large pot with 4 cups cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until lentils start to soften but are still slightly firm.
  2. Remove from heat and rinse lentils in a colander under cold water.
  3. Combine lentils with the chopped peppers, cilantro and parsley.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper.
  5. Pour over the lentils and mix well.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Curl up with a click, 9th edition

I have so many great articles to share with you! We don't always have time to dig into that novel like we want to, but it's nice to steal 5 minutes in the day to read something inspiring, encouraging, or practical. Hope you enjoy!

Ten Ways the Mother on Daniel Tiger is Better than Me - I need a bracelet that says: WWDTMD? What Would Daniel Tiger's Mom Do?

A Prayer for the End of Nursing - I teared up when I read this, and I'm not even that sentimental!

7 Habits of a Hot Marriage in the Middle of Monotony - I can attest to number 5 and 7!

Valentines Day Poems for Married People - I was literally laughing out loud.

The Bedtime Pass Helps Parents and Kids Skip the Sleep Struggles - Got a kid that's waking you up in the middle of the night? Do this right and consistently, and it works (research proven).

But I Want It - "Maybe you didn't hear me. I really, really, really want it."

V is for Vocation - For those days when you wonder if changing poopy diapers is what you were meant to do with your life.

8 Ways I'm Surviving with 3 Kids Under 4 - These tips are actually useful! Number 1 sounds crazy but doing it keeps me from going crazy!!

The Sanitized Stories We Tell - A beautiful read from one of  my favorite author. Worth reading from start to finish.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Thanks, Pinterest

I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. I do love looking at all the pretty things, but all it takes is ten minutes of scrolling to feel like a bad mother (I don't have a DIY chore chart for the kids; I don't cut their food into fun shapes; we didn't do Elf on the Shelf; OMG I'm ruining their childhood!) So I've stopped the mindless scrolling, and I only use Pinterest as a visual search engine these days.

Pinterest came in handy when I started looking for activities to keep my boys busy in the afternoon. Does anyone else find that the hours in between naptime and bedtime stretch into infinity? There are only so many cars I can race and so many dinosaurs I can fight before my eyes roll into the back of my head. So I went on the offensive and planned out a few low-key activities to try in the afternoon with my kids. Here's a little report of some Pinterest ideas we've tried so far:

Practicing with scissors! William loved this. 
Henry ended up making what I call "ripped paper art" :)

This is fruit loops on a spaghetti noodle stuck in playdoh.
A VERY popular activity with both boys!

I didn't think they would be into this pipe cleaner and colander "sculpture activity".
But they loved it! Henry informed me he made a spider web. (Obviously, mom)
And William said he made a TV. (Can you tell his main interest is cartoons? Haha!)

The boys did like this one. (Edible manipulatives for the win!)
I got the magnetic numbers from the Dollar Tree.

William is not that interested in the alphabet unless it's his name.
Even so, this cotton swab name painting was a total flop. 
He didn't even want to finish it! 

You might have dried beans in your pantry! 
William loved putting beans on white glue letters of his name.
Henry tried to keep up but lost interest after the H. That's okay!

My most ambitious project: we made snow! 
(Disclaimer: Do not attempt if you are feeling especially cranky or tired.)
One cup (white) conditioner, and four cups of baking soda.
Fun but definitely messy. Clean up was super easy, though, and it smelled amazing!

I got these water beads from Amazon. But I think you can also get them from a craft store.
This kept the boys busy for a loooong time.
(So basically, worth its' weight in gold)

This was 4 Tbsp cornstarch and 4 Tbsp dish soap. 
Surprisingly not that messy, and it kept the kids busy for quite a while so I say it's worth it!

I'd love to know what you do to keep your little ones busy! Have you had any Pinterest successes lately?