Category Archives: Life with Kids

Getting Kids Ready for Summer with Logic! (with Video)

Remember all the big plans you used to have for summer? Remember is being the end of summer and you got none of those things done? We have all been there (many, many times) but there is a logical way to avoid the regrets and heartbreak of lost summer goals. Well, it HELPS to not lose the summer goals. I am not magic! 

Goals are not magically met and plans don’t magically happen. We need to help our kids learn to develop these skills. It might save them years of frustration and they might actually get all those things done that we never did! 

Just take your kids through setting a goal and discovering the steps needed. I like it all outline style! Let’s go through my daughter’s goal of learning to swim.

Goal: Learn to Swim

I. Talk to Swim Teacher for Lessons
    A. Have some times available from Mom
II. Supplies to have
     A. Swimsuit
     B. Sunscreen
     C. Goggles
     D. Towels
III. Practice
     A. Talk to Dad
     B. Set time on the calendar

Here is another example!

Goal: Babysitting

I. Get Diaper Experience
    A.Talk to Parents to ask to let to help
    B.Research diaper changing and issues
    A.Figure out rates
    B.Transportation availability schedule (hey, I have a life too;)
III.Get Customers
    A.Make a flyer
    B.Distribute it to parents of kids





Tips to Enjoying Fireworks with Kids

The 4th of July is a really big deal over here, lets be honest, because of the fireworks. It is great fun for kids and adults alike. But when you are dealing with any activity that has fire, explosions, and is after bedtime things can get a little stressful. But doing fireworks at home with the kids can be fun and enjoyable with a little planning and strategy!  

1) Be clear about when you will start doing fireworks! Nothing drives everyone crazy more than adults say later & the kids have no idea what that means so they keep asking when! Save everyone the grief and give a time a little later than when you think you will actually start!

2) Give the children something specific to do while you are waiting for it to be dark enough. There is so much anticipation that it will be hard for the kids to find something to do so help them out! Have a movie or a craft for them to do or be specific on what you want them to build with Legos. It will help keep everyone sane and out of your hair!

3)Lay out a blanket for them to sit during the fireworks. This gives them a safe, clear area to be in and it is easy to monitor. You also don’t have to make sure that they are sitting nicely or not ricking back in a flimsy outdoor chair.

4) Have something for them to do during the fireworks. There are those lulls while you are setting up, lighting and resetting fireworks. This is a perfect time for a little dessert. We also always do the glow dark bracelets from the Dollar stores. It keeps their hands busy so they don’t get restless. Make sure you have enough glow in the dark bracelets so if 1 doesn’t work or if someone wants another color there is no fighting.

5) Be clear ahead of time about the children’s involvement. Will they get to light 1 firework during the night? Will they get to play with the Morning Glories? What ever will or won’t be happening should be talked about before the fireworks begin so expectations are set.

6) Have a plan for when the fireworks are over. In our house everyone picks up their dessert stuff and bracelets and goes inside. We say goodbye to any friends that are over. Then they throw the garbage away and then go 1 by 1 from oldest to youngest to brush teeth and put on their pj’s. By the time they are done, Dad is done cleaning up and they are ready for bed. A little structure makes them focused and calmer!

With just a little planning you and your kids can have a fun and safe 4th of July!!!

The Joy of My Daughters

Ok, I got a little gushy talking about my girls and how they have changed my life! Both my daughters’ birthdays are this week and it made me think. Having them has completed me but not in the normal way;). Excuse the angle and vertical filming;). I was having a moment and if I edit it or try to refilm it, I won’t do it again.

Kindergarten Didn’t Make Me Cry

I am very proud of myself. My youngest (and last) kid officially started kindergarten when she was promoted to the kindergarten Sunday School. Since we homeschool that is our promotion day. While it felt very weird to have my baby start kindergarten, I didn’t cry.

Today is the big back to school day in my area and it made me once again think about the fact that all the kids are growing up and yada yada.

Then it happened…. I was checking to see if the baby had brushed her teeth. She is a thumb sucker so her front 2 teeth are always a little wonky (I sense a big orthodontics bill in our future) but today it seemed more than usual.

Her front tooth is super wiggly!!!! I mean as in “it will be out this week” wiggly. I immediately started to tear up and cry.

Reading, drawing, dressing herself was all fine. I was not (am not) ready for my baby girl to big enough to lose her teeth! Apparently, that is the bridge to being a big girl.

Yes, I am a big, giant, squishy wimp. Please tell me I am not alone!!!

Summer Reading Programs

There are numerous studies that show if your kids read over the summer it will keep their brain active and they will do better when they return to school in the fall. So it is even easier to motivate your children to read with a ton of summer reading programs.

Barnes & Noble
– Read 8 books and get a free book!
Fresno Library
-The big kick off is June 16 at the Sierra Vista Mall and it should be a ton of fun!!!
-Keep a reading log and every so many books you can get prizes and food coupons!
-Magic shows, reptiles, etc for under 12
-Craft afternoons for 12-17 year olds
-Even a reading program and activities for adult!
Chuck E. Cheese
-Has printable charts for reading that students can turn in for tokens (year round)
Scholastic Online
-Have your child keep track of the minutes they read and get virtual prizes (games, books, etc)
Book Adventure
-You can set up the reward program for your kids. They read books and take quizzes on them to work toward rewards that you provide. This is a program you can participate in year round!

The Ups and Downs of Zelda

Let me preface this with the fact I have never denied. Kids are a little nutty. But even knowing that I am often surprised by them and how they handle things. Take this morning for example….

We have a loft set up with Legos, K’Nex and a Super Nintendo for the kids to play in. So my 6 year old has been playing a ton of Zelda on the SNES so this morning I told him that he couldn’t play Zelda with out my permission. I wanted him to build some cool stuff with Legos and take a video game break. Then the other kids were stoked because he had been sucking up all the video game time. He wasn’t thrilled but no melt downs or anything.

So cut to play time in the loft. Since the kids are out of my sight I am sensitive to sounds. So when I hear the 4 year starting to cry I call all 3 kids who are in the loft downstairs to me to find out what is going on. The Nerdpud wants to play the  6 year old’s profile on Zelda and he said no. I totally backed him up on this.  There are only 3 profile slots on Zelda so this is always a little of an issue. NerdPie, my 8 year old, had said her sister could play on her profile and I thought that was great. But the 4 year old was still teary. You could tell she was flipping through arguments to use (because she kept starting sentences and trailing off) and then she had a moment of truth. She exclaimed, “But he has all the cool stuff!!!” I held firm and she shuffled off and found a way to play for 30 minutes in spite of her disappointment;).

Last Zelda story of the morning. While the baby was playing Zelda the 8 and 6 year olds were building away with the Lego’s. We now have a variety of Zelda fairies through out the loft along with the wizard and a sliding door for the sanctuary.

Kids, they are kind of crazy but a lot of fun;).


Our Life Mentality

“In a world of rugged individuals we strive to be individuals who make up a rugged family.” That was my first thought when I heard the phrase “Making Together Better” and the contest Brica is holding for Type A Conference sponsorship.

I know, I sound a little corny but we can say that “making together better” is really good summary of Nerdad and mine’s life mentality. (Frankly, I would include the kids but they are a little young to have a well defined life mentality.;) In today’s society it is easy to have great activities going all the time but family completely isolated for each other. And frankly, we didn’t go through all the trouble of have 4 kids to not enjoy life with them;).

We apply “make together better” in a variety of ways! 1 way is to use it as a threshold when we decide what “extra” activities we do! And I mean for all of us, including mom and dad! While I would love to be a killer blogger who is on every story and every headline and hits every awesome conference. NerdDad would love to have phenomenal software business. The kids would love to take Irish dance, choir, Awana, Robotics, be in a drumming group, Boy Scouts, Heritage Girls, sports and play with their friends every day.

There just isn’t time to do all that and spend time as a family, much less eat and sleep. So we have decided to plan our schedules to make not only our individual lives better, separate from each other, but make our lives better together as a group.

So we do! There is only so much time so if an “extra” activity can bring value to the whole family, it gets a priority!

When I decide what blogging things I attend and focus on I take my family into account! I love working on video games and movies and tech because I enjoy that with my family so much! NerdDad sometime chooses to spend his extra development time making a game for the kids because it brings a value to the family! The priority activities for the kids are ones that more one of them can do! Robotics is a huge priority because not only do a couple of the kids do it but NerdDad coaches!

Not to say that we never do anything that only 1 person will enjoy but those activities have to fit around everything else! We are not a family who smiles upon the idea of always having to be on the go or eating in the car for us. Not that it is wrong, just not what we want;).

We make together better by making together a priority!

Thanks to Brica for the opportunity to try to win a Type A sponsorship! Check them out at their website as well as Facebook and Twitter! And if you feel so inclined tell them I should win;).

How much support is okay?

I am a big believer that children should not have to take on their parent emotional problems. I personally was relied upon too much as a child for emotional support. The Kelly Clarkson song Because of You really resonated with me. I had a lot of adult problems and emotions dumped on me that I wasn’t equipped to handle. At this point I think of overcome those issues. But we do want to teach her children empathy, compassion and humanity. And we want them to show it. But do we want their compassion and support? Where is that line?

I was reading the ever inspiring Danielle Smith today. She recently lost a well loved friend to cancer and she is writing about the comfort her seven-year-old daughter was giving her. She talked about not expecting to receive something like that from her daughter because she thinks of her herself more like the supermom who heals her children’s hurts. As I’m reading this very sweet piece I really relate to Danielle because that line is always so fuzzy.

I commented about what a blessing and a gift this time it’s for both of them. but I wanted to expand on that beyond the size of a blog comment box. As a mom, it is my job to teach my children compassion and humanity. But it is also my job to teach them what it looks like to live this life with strength and dignity. We tell our children when someone is hurt to stop and help them up and brushed them off. We tell them when they are hurt it is okay to come sit with Mommy have her brush off their ouchies and kiss them and tell them that it all will be okay. But do we really want our children to no longer accept comfort once they are too big to fit on our laps? I think we all answer with a resounding no.

So that means we have to teach them by example. The example that even as adults is okay to cry, it is okay to be loved, it is okay to be comforted. I think that Danielle has a beautiful opportunity (that she is using). She has the opportunity to see that the compassion she so carefully taught her children to have for the world is really there. She gets to see that her daughter not only heard her words, but has seen Danielle’s actions and now actually knows how to comfort someone. Danielle’s daughter now knows it’s okay for Supermom to cry. It is okay for her to need a hug in sorrow. She knows that when she’s a mom is okay to hurt. She will know that she grows up her pain and her heart will remain to be the most beautiful part. And isn’t that the greatest lesson we really want to teach our daughters?

I think it’s wonderful that a child can have a good enough example in their lives that without our asking for their compassion they give it freely. And in that it brings us healing. That isn’t relying on a child too much, that is living life and teaching them to live life also.

And as a side note, when we feel self-conscious for letting our frail humanity show and forgetting to put on our cape that morning remember… Supermom got tangled her cape trying to hard. Moms of Steel are hard to love.

Kid Stories

My kids are nothing if not entertaining! Sometimes I am a little embarrassed but even then it is usually funny. A couple super quick stories from my weekend;).

This weekend my kids were all in their (now former) babysitter’s wedding. They had met the groom’s mom and knew that he had a step dad. This is where you enter the scene. My NerdBug (10) is sitting next to the groom’s step dad. NerdBug asks him if he is the mom’s “current husband”. Luckily, it seems that the groom’s step dad and mom are both amused;). He just wanted to make sure that he had all the relations clear, he was meeting a lot of people he had never met;).

Skip ahead. See that giant grasshopper? That was on the kids’ play structure on Easter. We were talking about how huge it was and one of the kids said they had been seeing a lot of grasshoppers recently. I pointed out the fact that it was Passover and maybe it was one of the plagues (I know, the plague was locusts). It was sundown and getting dark so we were joking that it was another plague. Then NerdPie points out to NerdBug that if the final plague hit again (Death of the oldest) that he would be the one to die…. NerdDad and I looked at each other and just had to laugh.

These are the conversations in our family. Crazy…