photo Home2_zpsrborxmma.png  photo KidTricks4_zpshkyzvtbm.png  photo TeacherApproved2_zpselfqfpxm.png  photo EasyYummies3_zps4lvdhc3z.png  photo TomboyBeauty4_zpsulwdkpph.png  photo SuperRandom3_zpsoml9bnat.png

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Bedtime Reading as a REWARD

As you may or may not know, I am a teacher (and have been for 9 years). I teach first and second graders actually, which means that my job is to teach them how to read and the basics of almost everything. Therefore, it is obviously very important to me that my child is a happy little reader. I have carefully managed to make reading in our house a reward. Not a chore. I started this by tapping into what every child loves to do before bed, STALL. How do I know? Because I was the queen of stalling. If there was a way to stall bedtime, I tried it on my parents. They key is to use this to your advantage. Right before bed you give your child a choice: Would you like to go to sleep or read a story? ALMOST every child will choose to read a story. Why? Because it delays bedtime a few minutes longer. I always tell the parents of my students that the more you read to your children, the better reader they will become. It's not so important what you read, just that you are reading to or with your child as much as possible. The more text they see, the more they will recognize and understand words. I bet you're wondering how I use it as a reward. Well, right now I normally read 2-3 books with my son each night before bed. If he decides that he wants to throw a fit (which is his favorite activity right now) or doesn't want to listen to mommy or daddy then I start taking away books that we get to read before bed. If you currently take away toys or TV time from your child when they are acting up, then this is the same concept. It actually works better than you think. They are dying to spend one-on-one time with you and stall as much as humanly possible. Taking a book away means that bedtime is coming that much faster. It's really a double whammy. Not only is it helping to reinforce positive behavior but the reward is reading a book. Nothing is better than hearing the words "NOOOOOO...don't take a book away!!" Awesome. Young reader success. That's right buddy, don't make me take a book away.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Bridesmaids Revolt!

Let me start by saying that I am in no way, shape, or form a "girly girl." In fact, I actively avoid wearing pink because it is a girly color and I don't want anyone getting the wrong idea. My wardrobe mainly consists of multiple shades of blue, black, white, brown, and the occasional red. So when it was time for me to get married, black and white was my "theme." I was never the type to sit there and dream about my wedding. Personally, I just never saw the big deal. Honestly, things that are planned NEVER work out the way you plan them and you will inevitably be disappointed. The only thing that was important to me was finding a great man to spend my life with. Once I did, the rest didn't matter. So, when it came time to plan and get everything ready, I wasn't super picky. Don't get me wrong, my wedding was beautiful. We had a small ceremony on a "beach" (a sandbar was more like it) and our reception was held at a beautiful restaurant in Onancock, VA called Mallards where the head chef and owner (Johnny Mo) is also a musician/DJ. Back to the planning. My bridesmaids were all 2-4 hours away and I refused to put everyone out and make them drive from Timbuktu to pick out and try on dresses. I just wanted black. So, I went to Khols, found a nice black dress with a square-cut neck and got everyone's sizes. I bought them and shipped them to all of the girls and thankfully they all fit. I would have NEVER made them pay for the dresses. After all, it was my event and it was what I wanted them to wear. My best friend in the whole wide world is getting married in June and honestly I was a little worried about buying her bridesmaid dress. It is a very pretty dress and color but it was $160 and I'm not exactly rolling in the Benjamins. I would have done it without a doubt because I love her, but she was VERY thoughtful and paid for them for us. She said "who was the one who paid for the bridesmaids dresses at your wedding." I tried to explain that mine weren't nearly as much but that I REALLY appreciated her buying them for us. It was honestly the nicest thing that she could have done. Then I decide that this really needs to be a new trend. I can see it now, "BRIDESMAIDS REVOLT- BRIDES MUST BUY BRIDESMAID DRESSES." I have a hard time understanding why brides make bridesmaids buy the dresses for THEIR wedding in the first place. First of all, most (not all) of the dresses are hideous, I mean they should downright be set on fire. Second of all, they are a fortune costing anywhere from $100 - $300. Do you know how much resentment women have towards brides that make them buy a $250 orange ruffle dress that looks like it has been torn into small shreds and run over by a car? TONS! Why? Because you can NEVER EVER wear it again. There is no, oh maybe I can shorten it and wear it to work. Nope. That thing is plain old ugly and you mine as well just use it as a blanket for your dog's bed because there is nothing else you can do with it. Think about it though. Why doesn't the bride pay for your dress? It's their day, it's what they want. EVERYTHING ELSE THEY PAY FOR. Why is this any different? I don't want this dress. I would never in a million years pick out this dress. So why am I stuck paying for it? Doesn't make any sense to me. It's your dream, you buy it. Otherwise I'm rollin up in my yoga pants and sweater because even though I love you, I'd rather pay for my groceries this month than make your dream of having Little Bo Peep at your wedding a reality.

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Food Countdown Game

Have I mentioned that my son is in the "I'm going to throw a fit about everything" stage? Well, just in case you're not there yet, boy is it fun. I mean what's more fun than listening to a child throw a full on tantrum about pulling their pants up or eating their dinner? Nothing, that's what. My favorite ones are the ones that I couldn't do anything for even if I wanted to. like the times that he wants apple juice but we're all out. Kids don't get the whole, we don't even have it, thing. Anyways, mealtime fits were our new favorite past time but since we started playing The Countdown Game, the tension has be toned way down during meal times. He is only allowed to play if he does not throw a fit. Otherwise he might throw a fit just to play the game. For this, I pretend that we are on a rocket ship and that I will count from ten down to zero. When I get to zero we get to "blast off". I put ten fingers up and ever time he eats another bite I make a chomping noise and take one finger away. Then I ask: How many fingers are left? This way eating becomes more of a game and less of a power struggle. It also helps them with their counting and gives them a foundation for understanding the concept of subtraction. Now when we play the game, I saw " Subtract one, how many are left?" He then counts each finger while I move each of the remaining fingers down a little (to help him keep track while he counts) or if your child doesn't know how to count, you can do it together. Once we get to zero we put our hands together and make pretend that it is a rocket ship and blast off!
Now I'm not promising that this will get your child to eat their whole meal, but it might help them to eat ten bites of multiple items on their plate. It's enough that you don't have to worry about parental abuse for malnutrition. Let me know if you have any eating tricks. Lord knows we could use some!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Chip Clip Hero

I have to say that shopping is one of my least favorite activities. Yes, I am a girl. Yes, I've been told that I'm not normal. Whatever, it's the truth. I also don't like to shop with other people. I like to have a list, get in, and get out in record time. So bringing a child with me is a mini nightmare. The one thing that has saved my sanity during these trips is food. Lots and lots of small baggies of food. Before I head out, I load up my purse with a juice cup and multiple baggies of anything ranging from turkey pepperoni to grapes. Food keeps my boy occupied and he is less likely to get into all of the goodies in my cart. The issue then becomes what to do with the baggie. Sure he could hold onto it, but more than likely he would drop the bag or it would tip over onto the cart seat and get all over the store floor. Not fun. Instead, I just bring a sturdy chip clip. I clip it and the baggie to the side of the cart and Voila, hands free child snacks!
Now, he just reaches in and out and I don't have to worry about the inevitable mess. I have never had the baggie fall out or the clip fall off of the cart. It truly has been a trip saver. Try it out and let me know how it goes. Do you have any ideas to keep your little one occupied during your shopping trips? Leave a comment below and help a girl out.