A Spoonful of Sugar

Making every day life as a mom just a little bit sweeter.

Disney Do’s… March 23, 2010


There are two great blogs that I love reading and they both have a link share on Tuesdays that I have participated in.

Lifeasmom.com has a Mr. Linky today about a Disney Extravaganza, as well as the 30 minute blog challenge with MckLinky on Steadymom.com, so here is my offering: (this post meets the criteria for both, meaning it was posted in 30 minutes or less, and it’s about our Disney trip)

The fam!

Our girls in from of the famous castle in Disney World!

We took the girls to Disney World in Orlando back in April of 2008. They were 10, 8, and 5 years old at the time. WE HAD A BLAST!! By far the best family vacation EVER!!!

Tip #1~One of the absolute ‘do’s’ in my book is to do the Fast Pass thing. Go to the ride of your ultimate choice, get a Fast Pass ticket, which will tell you what time you need to be back to ride, and you go through the Fast Pass Line lickity split! It was awesome! We picked our faves, and loved not wasting any more time than necessary. We discovered on this trip that all three of our girls were roller coaster fanatics, so we concentrated on getting Fast Passes for all of their favorite rides.

Tip #2~ Unless you are looking for the ultimate zoo, I wouldn’t recommend Animal Kingdom. It was like a zoo on steroids. The few rides they had were okay, but we wouldn’t go back. (Side note: My oldest daughter lost a tooth

Kaitlyn, moments after losing her tooth in Animal Kingdom!

in Animal Kingdom…as soon as we walked through the gate, it fell out and we went running to the ladies room! Too funny!) Anyway, I’d rather go to the state zoo if we want to see animals, and stick with the theme parks in Orlando for awesome rides and attractions…but that’s just us.

Tip #3~ Our girls were at an age where we gave them some choices of what we could do with the money allotted for our trip. They had the choice to either have breakfast with the Disney Princesses, or we could take that money and go to Busch Gardens in Tampa for the day. We told them this at the beginning of the trip so they had time to decide. Once they discovered their love of rides and roller coasters, the princesses took a back seat and we headed to Busch Gardens after our 3 days at Disney World, with no regrets! It felt like a vacation after a vacation and we had the best time there, too!

Daddy and the Girls climbing the 'Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse' in Disney World!

Being goofy...waiting to get on a ride...who says waiting is no fun!

Tip #4~ Stay at a hotel close enough to shuttle. The shuttle buses rock! The only down side is that you’re tied down to a time frame, but that can also be altered. We were thankful we didn’t have to park, pay to park, or worry about driving after a long exhausting, but wonderful day at the park.

These are just a few of the things that come to mind as far as our Disney experience is concerned. Hope this was helpful, and hope you have a great time in Disney World! We can’t wait to go back!

We’re heading to Universal Studios before the end of the year!

The end of Day 3 in Disney…waiting for the shuttle. This is how we all felt!

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Sooooo big! March 15, 2010


“Sooooo big!” I remember saying that to my girls when they were old enough to hold out their chubby little arms with toothless grins from ear to ear with absolute sheer delight. I also remember saying things like, “What a big girl you are!” when they would clean up a toy all by themselves, or use a spoon instead of their fingers while eating Cheerios in strawberry yogurt for breakfast. *Sigh…*

Kaitlyn working on her song...

Now I look at our oldest, Kaitlyn, who has just written her first song on the guitar and is going to Detroit, Michigan in August with her youth group for a drama competition. Uh, yeah I’m going with her!!! (That was for those of you saying…’Is she nuts? Sending her 12-year-old off on a plane to Michigan with her youth group?’)

I watch her with her friends and think to myself, how did she get so big, so fast? She is so beautiful, talented and a genuinely nice person. I am proud of her choice of friends, excited about the path in life she is choosing, and I love the relationship that she and I have.

Madelyn, our middle daughter is 10, and is probably the most compassionate person I have ever met…. almost to a fault.

Madelyn, my 'blogtographer'...she took this pic of herself.

She is always saying that when she is a mom someday, she is going to have to live next to me or her older sister because she doesn’t think she’ll be able to discipline her children…she says we’ll have to do it for her. I told her she’d get over that one. She is definitely my most dramatic, but has gotten to a beautiful place of balance with it. She is sweet, but has a crazy good sense of humor. Definitely makes for some interesting family dinners. She plays the drums, and preached her first sermon to the children’s church last week. I was so proud, especially when she asked me to ‘smell’ her sermon notes. I thought she was going nuts until I actually indulged her. She sprayed it with coconut lime body spray. (I told you she had gotten to a beautiful place of balance with her dramatic side!) Too funny.

Then there is McKenna. The Energizer Bunny of the family. We all use the treadmill so we can exercise and improve our health, while she uses it to exhaust all of her extra energy. She doesn’t stop moving, or talking, and since she lost her front tooth, it is quite entertaining. She is funny, always happy, and is always looking out for the other guy. We call her the family cheerleader. Constantly rooting for everyone. When she picks out her outfit for the day, being able to do a cart-wheel in it is definitely a prerequisite. She is also a peacemaker and we all absolutely love and enjoy who she is. She was my ‘surprise pregnancy’… I’m so glad God knew better!

McKenna, showing off her crazy muscles (and Tinkerbell tattoo!) during a gymnastics lesson at home.

So, yes, all of those times we look at our infants, or our toddlers and say “Soooo big!” We really do mean it. They are so big to us at that time. It’s exciting to watch them grow. Whether it’s seeing them roll over for the first time, take their first steps, or write their first song. It’s really important as moms that we have as few regrets as possible.

I guess that’s why I wanted to honor my kids today in this post. They are not perfect people, for sure. I could also sit here and go on about the things that bug me, but not today.

Today, I want to look at them and say, “Sooooo big!” and see their now long, slender arms stretched out wide, with big, beautiful, full smiles on their faces…because I still have some “soooo big” time left with them, and I am so thankful for that.

 

Top Ten for Moms! March 14, 2010


I’m taking a survey of the top ten things we as moms learn from our kids, so I need your help! There are plenty of things I have learned from my three girls, but I want to know about you. Go to ‘leave a comment’ at the bottom of this post and fill me in! It’s a whole new way of ‘furthering our education’!

 

Mommy Magic!~Re-post! March 12, 2010


It’s retro week here on A Spoonful of Sugar!  Just kidding….anyway, this is another goody…thought you’d appreciate it.  The hubby is going out this morning…8 ft. waves predicted!  Go honey!

 

“Mom! Have you seen my other flip flop?” “Hey, Mom! I can’t find my jeans!” “Where’s the peanut butter? It’s not in there!” “Mommy, where’s my blankie?”…..If these questions seem familiar to you, and you can inevitably locate the items in question, then you have it. Yes, IT. Mommy Magic. My girls seem amazed when I can walk past them, go directly to the pantry, and find the item they have searched high and low for, in a matter of seconds. They say, “Wow! How do you do it!?” It even amazes me at times. I tell my girls that it’s a God thing. God gives all mommies Mommy Magic the moment our children are born. The magic is even extended for spouses ‘ lost items, because let’s face it ladies, our husbands, as great as they are, are not very good at finding things. That internal, instinctive guide which enables us to find those missing items, and allows us the right to say ‘I said so, that’s why’…because we can’t always explain why or how, we just KNOW. So, moms, stick to your guns. Don’t give in. That gnawing in your belly when your kids ask you to spend the night somewhere and you’re just not diggin’ it…stand firm…that same Mommy Magic that found their special blanket tucked under the couch cushion is the one that is telling you not to let them go. Trust your instincts. God in you is the best decision maker there is. Don’t feel guilty. There is no one else in this world that is going to have their best interest in mind more than you. It’s okay to say ‘no’ with a smile and really be okay with it because you are confident in your decision. So, get your magic on, moms….it’s time to find those teddy bears, those pacifiers, those MP3 players….and say no even when it’s hard and we want to please our kids. Someday, they will call you a hero because of it.

 

Raising Oatmeal Kids March 10, 2010


I decided to re-post this…It was my first real post ever!  I have so many new readers, I wanted to share it…one of my faves!  AND….I’m out of town this week so my hubby can surf.  Harder to blog while not at home in my comfy little computer corner!  Enjoy!

Oatmeal…healthy, hearty and yummy with a touch of cinnamon and brown sugar…maybe a splash of maple syrup, mm-mm! A little sweetness and a little spice go a long way. Preparing it is a process. Not a difficult one, but too much or too little of one ingredient could ruin the whole bowl. What is your daily process as a mom? Do you ever feel like all you are doing is telling your kids…pick up this, do that, brush your teeth, stop yelling, quiet down, no running in the house, be nice, no tattling…etc..etc…? I am the kind of parent that doesn’t like to let bad behavior just slip by. That can be good, and it can be not-so-good. Being an ‘on-top-of-things’ kind of parent is necessary at times, but there is a limit. Not only so you don’t go into cardiac arrest and leave your kids without a mom, but we can easily close their spirit and they won’t listen to a word we have to say anyway. You know, the Charlie Brown adult voice…’wo wo waaa wa waa’ is all they will hear. Evaluate your kids…each of them separately.

What is one thing that you really want them to change? C’mon, be honest…there is something about each of our kids we aren’t thrilled with. What are they missing? The sweet? The spice? The main ingredient?! If the offense of the moment cannot be directly tied to that one thing…think twice. Is it going to make a difference? The bowl we put the oatmeal in doesn’t make it taste any better; it just makes it look different. I’m not saying we let everything else slide, but we need to think before we nag. It’ll make for a much nicer day…for us and for them! Concentrate on character issues, not pet peeves. God gave our children their personalities, and it is our job as moms to help shape their character. I say to my kids…who do you want to be to others? Whether we like it or not, people are going to label us. What’s it gonna be? Are you going to be ‘the tattletale’? The ‘nose picker’? The ‘know-it-all’? The one who is so sweet that he or she gets walked on or bullied? Help them be the best, balanced ‘them’ they can be. Help them be the kid that everyone wants as their friend. You know the kind of person that ‘makes friends and influences people’.

15-20 years from now when your kid is our doctor, or our nurse, or our grandkids’ teachers, we will be careful to thank you, Mom, or Dad! Let’s raise up an oatmeal generation…healthy, hearty, with a sprinkling of sweet, and a touch of spice. They are worth it!

 

Memory Makers… March 8, 2010


Me and my girls in N.C.

I am so thankful to God, and my husband that they have allowed and afforded me to be a stay-at-home home-school mom for the past 12 years. We’ve sacrificed, yes, done without extravagant vacations, yes, but without an ounce of regret.

McKenna's 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs' Cake!

God has always provided, and my children want for nothing. It’s amazing to me how we’ve lived on one salary for so long, and we have no debt. Awesome. I guess that is one of the many reasons I take my job so seriously. When people ask me if I work, my response is, “Not outside the home,” because I certainly work my tuchus off inside the home! Can I get an ‘amen’?

One of the things that I have always tried to do as a mom is to be a memory maker. You know, do special little things that my kids will remember forever. Unfortunately, they will have some not so fond memories, so I try to outweigh them with good ones. I asked my girls to tell me some of the things that I do for them that means the most to them.

These are some of the responses I got:

“I used to love it when you put our baby blankies in the dryer so they could be warm for bedtime, and you put towels in the dryer for after our bath when were so cold.”

“I love that you make special cakes for my birthday.”

“You make heart-shaped muffins for breakfast.”

“You take us on trips as a surprise to go see snow!”

Awesome times with life-long friends!

“Letting us have friends sleep over and making chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream.”

“Taking us on surprise field trips for school!”

“Letting us have ‘Fun-Genda’ Night!”

Fun-Genda Night!

I’m certainly not writing this post to give myself heirs, or to boast…that is not my intention for sure. I am far from a perfect mom. I mess up quite often. That’s when I chalk it up and say, ‘oh well, they’ll need something to tell their therapist someday!’

So, I just love that these little things made positive memories for my girls. When they are mommies someday, doing laundry, and pull a warm towel out of the dryer, I hope they remember the warm towel that wrapped up their tiny little bodies after a bath, and when they take their kids sledding, they will remember the spontaneous trip we took so they could see snow for the first time.

My sweet, crazy girls!

I have memories of my mom letting me put make-up on her, and putting a gazillion bows in her hair. These are the memories that keep us going. I am so thankful to God that I have the world’s best husband, and he makes it possible for me to give these experiences to them.

Trying to be a consistent mom can make you feel like all you ever do is correct, discipline, and give instruction. Memory makers lighten the load and leave a lasting impression. What are some memory making moments you’ve had with your kids?

 

Scooby Snack~Tip of the Day! Sitter Safety! March 7, 2010


This is a great informative site on hiring safe and reliable babysitters, a frightening subject for most moms! Hope this gives you some insight…and peace of mind!

http://www.sittersafety.net/

 

Scooby Snack~Tip of the Day! March 6, 2010


Rice socks are a beautiful thing in our house. What is a rice sock? Only the greatest heating pad ever! They can be heated in the microwave, or put in the freezer as a cold pack. They’re nice and squishy, so they can be wrapped around an arm, a leg, or draped over your neck. Pop it in the microwave for 1 minute for kids, 1 and 1/2 for adults. Great for tummy aches, ‘warrior wounds’, or even throw them under the covers to warm up your bed on cold nights. I even used them when my girls were babies…colic is a tummy issue…it may help! Here’s how you do it.

Purchase a pack of men’s tube socks. (using old socks is just gross!) Fill each sock with rice (any cheap rice will do the trick!). Sew the opening closed, TIGHTLY, (You don’t want a leaky rice sock, trust me!) or, if you cannot or just hate to sew, you can just knot the end of the sock. Works like a charm! You can get white ones and let your kids decorate them with permanent markers, or get colored or patterned socks and let them pick their own. It’s great when they can all have their own rice sock, avoids unnecessary arguments!

You can even get scented oils such as lavender (calming), or spearmint/eucalyptus (soothing) and toss the rice in a bowl with a dropper-ful. When you heat them, the oil heats up and makes for a whole new experience! As a matter of fact, I went searching for a rice sock to get a picture to post and they, once again, weren’t where they belong. But alas, I knew just where to look. = )

Oh, yeah….Rice Socks Rock!

 

‘The love from ya mutha…’ February 14, 2010


I know, you are asking yourself…what in the world is up with that title? Well, back in the early 80’s, when my family and I were living in New Jersey, there was a t.v. show on that was interviewing kids talking about love. There was one boy in particular that stood out…my siblings and I mimic him to this very day.

When asked what he thought about love, this was his response, with a very thick New York accent,

“Well, the love from ya mutha, is more betta, cause it’s from ya mutha…not from nobody else!”

It cracked us up then, and it makes me giggle even now. He was this cute, chubby little boy, with a sweet face, and a major N.Y. accent. There was such honesty in his tone, such confidence in his answer. You could tell he was very loved at home.

Now that I’m a mom, I look back at that and think of how true it is. I know that Valentine’s Day is the love holiday…usually looked at from a romantic point of view, but today, I’m looking at it from a mom’s perspective. I want my kids to know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I love them so much it almost hurts. Everything I do, every day, involves them. Even getting the first pedicure in 8 years…how does that affect them, you ask? I’m a happier, more relaxed, more patient mom when I can pamper myself every once in a while. Trust me, I may be the only one getting my feet done, but they are certainly benefiting from it as well!

So, how can we ensure that our kids know how deep our love runs? Figure out how they show love to others…that is our sign, our indicator that tells us how we can love them. I am a mom of three girls…My husband and I are always trying to find new ways to give them the love, support, and the acceptance they need so they won’t need to look for it elsewhere until God brings them the perfect mate. Each of them is different, and they love and receive love differently, so we love them each in their own love language. For one, we spend time together doing her favorite things, for another, we try to give the perfect gift, and for the next, we do something unexpected for her…speaking their language.

What is your kid’s love language? What speaks to them? What would make them say that “the love from their mutha is more betta?”

Think about it…and by the way, Mom, Happy Valentine’s Day. Enjoy your day, enjoy your family. You’re doing great!

 

Sleep, Baby, Sleep! February 6, 2010

Filed under: Juicy Little Mommy Tidbits,Parenting 101,Parenting Infants — Janine Chance @ 7:59 am

I am no longer a mommy of small babies, but I felt the need today to post this for some reason…someone is going to need it.

When my oldest daughter was born, it was amazing!  There is no feeling in the world that could describe how I felt the moment I say her little face (which looked exactly like my husband!).  She was the first girl in the growing pool of grandkids.

We brought her home, and I don’t think I can begin to describe the horrific three months that followed.  It began almost immediately.  She wouldn’t nurse, continually lost weight, screamed  all day, and all night.  This is NOT what I thought motherhood would be like!  My dreams of smiling and rocking my wonderful newborn baby to sleep went right out the window as the nightmare continued.  She started colic not soon after which left her screaming from about 4 in the afternoon until 10 o’clock at night, and then she would wake up at least 5 times a night crying.

Yes, I am getting to the good part.

Through process of elimination, we discovered she was allergic to dairy and switched her to soy formula.  The heavens opened up, and I got my sweet baby girl!  But, she still wasn’t sleeping through the night at all by about 4 months, and I was given some amazing advice by my sister-in-law that would be a crime for me not to share with you.

We started a three-hour feeding schedule, and it goes like this:

Feed the baby, keep him/her awake for one whole hour after feeding.  THIS IS IMPORTANT!  Whatever it takes.  I would bathe my girls, because it was the only thing that would keep them up.  (They were the cleanest babies in town!)  The first few days it was tough, they would fall asleep, but by the third or fourth day, I was able to get them to stay up for the whole hour.  After that hour, let them nap for two.  (This is when you  either nap with them, or get that laundry done, or dinner prepped, or whatever it is that you need to do!  Hint:  If you take a nap with them, set an alarm!)  Once they have slept for two hours, wake them up.  Again, whatever it takes, undressing them, changing their diaper, etc.  If you let them sleep, you’ll mess up the routine.  Wake them up, feed them and start the entire process over again.

Trust me, they’ll get used to it, and it’ll be the best thing you ever did for them and for you.  I did this process with all three of my girls and they were all sleeping through the night within 2 weeks. I definitely saw an improvement immediately, but getting that 7 – 8 hours of sleep through the night took about a week and a half.

Babies only need a certain amount of food in a 24 hour period, and if they get it all during the daytime, there is no need for them to be awake at night, unless they are not feeling well, or teething, etc.  It certainly doesn’t guarantee you 8 hours of beauty sleep for the rest of their babyhood, but it will get you a lot more sleep than you are getting now, and it teaches them routine.

After a little while, they will start to run on that routine themselves, and you won’t have to work so hard to keep them awake, etc…I started this routine with my middle and youngest daughters when they were about 6 weeks old.  It worked with both of them.  It was amazing!

Here’s a quick recap:

Feed;  Keep them up for one hour; let them sleep for two;  wake up and feed again.  Repeat!

Now, understand that every baby is different and so is every mommy.  If you are having a really difficult time, call your doctor.  Talk to them about the problems you are having.  Don’t try to change your baby’s formula without talking with them first.  That’s what they are there for!  This is just a method that worked for me and I wanted to share it with all of you.

Just to reassure you moms who have had a tough time with one of yours, my oldest daughter is now the most wonderful 12-year-old I know.  Loved and cherished by all who meet her.  It was worth every sleepless night! So take heart, moms.  This time is only for a season.  I hope this post makes that season just a few months shorter!

If this post wasn’t for you, today, pass it on to someone you know who needs it….or may need it someday.  Let’s help each other keep our sanity, and make motherhood even more enjoyable!