Ten Things I Never Thought I Would Say Aloud

As a parent, I often step back and think, “Did I just say that?” As we go about our day instructing and correcting our children, it seems like there are a million things we blurt out that we never thought we would say aloud. Why is this? Because our kids do weird shit, that’s why. Below, find my list of ten things I never thought I would say aloud. *These are just the recent ones. I’ve said many more.

Ten Things I Never Thought I Would Say Aloud

Ten Things I Never Thought I Would Say Aloud

  1. “We can’t buy new gloves for you every week because you keep chewing the fingers off.”
  2. “The elf did not make this mess when we were at school. Clean it up.”
  3. “Quit licking your hands.”
  4. “Stop swinging your penis around.”
  5. “Don’t sit on top of your little brother.”
  6. “Take my bra off. It doesn’t fit you.”
  7. “You need to put pants on to leave the house.”
  8. “Go to another bathroom to poop while I’m taking my relaxing bath.”
  9. “You can’t help in the kitchen after picking your nose.”
  10. “Go in your room if you’re going to do that to your monkey.”

From this list, I think you can see my boys are disgustingly weird. What about you? What are some things you never thought you would say aloud? Share in the comments!

Currently

Can you believe it’s December already? The first Wednesday of the month, I link up with Anne at In Residence and Jenna at Dearest Love to share what I’m currently up to. This month we’re sharing what we are currently making, listening, wrapping, watching, and anticipating. Come play with us and share your “currently” list.

Currently

Making: Christmas cookies, Christmas crafts, and Christmas presents. I love this time of year. And, I love all the advent calendar activities we do as a family to countdown to the big day.

Listening: Christmas music of course. I love it especially in the car with the boys.

Wrapping: Christmas books. We’re doing a Christmas book advent activity. I’ve taken all our Christmas books, picked up some new ones, and began wrapping them up in pretty paper. The boys pick one out a night to read as a family.

Watching: Not much as we’ve cut down on screen-time for the kids. I love Christmas movies though. My favorite is White Christmas.

Anticipating: Christmas break. The long weekend for Thanksgiving made me want more time to spend with my boys without having to worry about the giant pile of grading I have looming over me.

What do you love most about the holiday season? Share in a comment below!

Countdown to Christmas – Advent Calendar Activities

I cannot believe it’s already December. Where has the time gone? I love this time of year, and I’m so excited to get started on our Countdown to Christmas. We celebrate the month with an advent calendar of activities. Each night, we have a different activity that we do as a family. We’ve been doing this for about three or four years now, and we have a ton of fun every single year.

Advent Calendar Activities

Of course, I found this idea on Pinterest, and I’m sure if you search for advent calendar activities, you will find a whole slew of ideas. When we began, I simply wrote a different activity each night on notecards, wrote the countdown number on the outside, and had the kids open up an envelope a night. The second and third years, I got fancy by making a foam board Christmas tree and using tiny gift tags to write the activities on. This year, we found this amazing wreath of boxes at Target. I’ve printed off some activities on slips of paper to place in the boxes so the boys can open them every night. The boys have a blast opening these activities nightly to see what we’re going to do as a family.

Confession: I usually only plan the activities a couple of days in advance. Since we’re so busy during the month of December, I like to see what’s on our agenda before deciding what to do that night. If I need to switch days around, I can do that as well. Some of the activities are shorter than others, so not planning too far in advance helps me be flexible if something comes up or we’re unprepared.

Here are some advent calendar activities I have planned for this year along with some we’ve done in the past that were a hit:

  • Write a letter to Santa.
  • Make peanut butter blossoms.
  • Make a Christmas banner (I found a cute one to put together at Target).
  • Color Christmas pictures (find some coloring pages online to print).
  • Listen to Christmas Carols.
  • Cut out and hang up paper snowflakes.
  • Bake Christmas Cookies.
  • Create Christmas cards for teachers.
  • Watch a Christmas movie.
  • Read some Christmas books.
  • Make hot chocolate.
  • Build a snowman.
  • Have a snowball fight.
  • Drive around and look at Christmas lights in different neighborhoods.
  • Make a Christmas ornament.
  • Make a Christmas craft.
  • Pick out a toy for a child in need.
  • Make snowman pancakes for dinner.
  • Wrap presents.
  • Take holiday pictures as a family.
  • Play a Christmas game (like pin the nose on the snowman).
  • Visit Santa Claus.
  • Go sledding.
  • Make paper chains.
  • Write down New Year’s Resolutions.
  • Make a gingerbread house.
  • Open a gift on Christmas Eve (always PJs).

What advent calendar activities can you add to the list? Is this something your family would enjoy? Let me know in the comments and follow along on my Advent Activities Pinterest Board for new ideas.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! In America, most of us take time today to spend some time with family and friends, reflect on what we’re grateful for, and pig out on all kinds of food. I hope you’re enjoying the day wherever you are. I’m sharing some of my favorite gratitude quotes on some of my favorite photographs. I hope you enjoy them and take a bit of time to reflect on your own blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving Happy Thanksgiving Happy Thanksgiving Happy Thanksgiving Happy Thanksgiving What are you thankful for today? Happy Thanksgiving from my heart to yours!

 

The Busy Mom’s Guide to Elf on the Shelf

We’ve had an Elf on the Shelf for three years now, before the popularity exploded all over the Internet with ideas for how to introduce your elf, how to pose your elf, and how to name your elf. This year will be the fourth year that Elfie (my son was pretty creative with that name) visits our house to keep an eye on my sons’ behavior. The day after Thanksgiving, our elf on the shelf happily arrives somewhere in our living room to the joy of the little boys. We get out the book that accompanies him and review the reason for him being there and the idea that he flies back home to the north pole every single night to report to Santa.

The Busy Mom's Guide to Elf on the Shelf

I know there are several calendars out there to help moms be creative every night with their Elf on the Shelf. I thought I’d share my ideas too. These ideas are different though. They’re not your typical Elf on the Shelf naughtiness. Why? Because the last thing my boys need is an excuse to be naughty: “I wrote all over the mirror cause the elf did it.” No, thank you!

Also, as a full time working mom, I don’t have the time to set up elaborate tableaus each night only to clean up the huge mess the next day to prepare for another scene. The moms who do that are amazing and creative and probably tired as all get out. I, on the other hand, tuck my boys in at night and almost immediately get in bed myself. I wake up before they do the next morning and head to work before they’re even awake. So, without further ado, here is my Elf on the Shelf Guide for Busy Moms.

  • Day One: After getting the kids to bed, locate your Elf on the Shelf. Hopefully you remember where you shoved his box last year. Find a place in your living room to place your Elf. It could be on a shelf or on the TV or on the bookcase. Anywhere that the kids will find him easily will work.
  • Day Two: Move your elf to a new location. Don’t worry about setting up a special scene. Seriously, just move him to a different place. The kids will find him in the morning.
  • Day Three: Find a new location for the elf. Maybe this time he’s on top of the fridge. At least attempt to make it look like he’s sitting up so he can spy on the kids.
  • Days Four – Christmas: Just move that little sucker to a new place every night. Let the kids find him in the morning.

The end. It’s that easy. My kids seriously don’t give a rat’s ass about all of the marshmallow fights, the pranks, or the special gifts. They just want to find their Elf on the Shelf in a different location every day. That way, they know he flew to the North Pole that night, reported to Santa, and returned to keep an eye on them. If you forget to move him one night, just tell them he must’ve liked that comfortable position too much to find a new one. The kids have fun and you’re not left broke, exhausted, and wanting to send that jerk straight to the garbage disposal.

Ipsy Glam Bag Review – November

November’s Ipsy Glam Bag’s theme was Girl Meets Glitter. I was a bit worried, because I’m not a huge fan of glitter. I did not want a bag full of glitter nail polish and eyeshadow, because they would be wasted on me. However, Ipsy did not disappoint. Check out my Ipsy Glam Bag Review for November!

Ipsy Glam Bag Review - November

The bag this month is silver, shiny glitter with a pink zipper. The texture is very smooth instead of rough as you would expect a glitter bag to be. The tag on the inside of the bag says, “Forever21 Cosmetics for Ipsy.” I’ve been using my bags for different purposes, so I’m excited to see how I can use this new one.

  1. be Delectable from Cake Beauty Ultra Nourishing Hand Cream – I received this hand cream in the Lemon & Cream scent. You have to smell this product. It is absolutely delicious! After I rubbed it in, I kept smelling my own hands and I began craving lemon cake. The product was smooth and not sticky (a pet peeve of mine with hand lotion). It’s also absolutely affordable if I want to pick up more from Kohl’s or Target.
  2. Clarisea Sea Salt Solutions Instant Glow Powder Exfoliant – This product is interesting because you mix it with your own face cleanser. I like that the exfoliant is all natural, so tiny beads of plastic are not ripping into your skin. The exfoliant was gentle, but made my skin nice and smooth. I wouldn’t say I was “glowing” afterward, but my face definitely felt cleaner.
  3. J. Cat Beauty Wonder Lip Paint – They sent this to me in the “Mad Splatter” color. It looks horrible on me. It’s way too dark and fuchsia colored. The “paint” is also way too messy. I was scrubbing it off my finger for a couple of minutes. Some other users suggested using a lip brush, but I can’t find mine (I think one of the boys stole it).
  4. Starlooks Gem Eye Pencil – I like that this product goes on smoothly. They sent me the color Ultra Olive which is a nice golden tone. I don’t like that the pencil flakes a bit when applying. Also, the sparkle gets everywhere on my face and is hard to remove.
  5. Temptu S/B Highlighter – I don’t really understand the point of this product. I followed the directions and placed it on my cheeks. All it did was rub my foundation around. I couldn’t see a difference other than the fact that I looked like I had erased the makeup from that part of my face. I don’t think it’s meant to be used on a clean face, but I won’t be using it either way.

Three out of the five products are things I’ll actually use. I’m hoping next month is more successful. I am still having fun trying new products. Thinking of signing up? Use my referral link so I can gain some points. Are you already a subscriber? What did you get in your bag this month? Or leave a link to your Ipsy Glam Bag Review.

When You Don’t Like Your Child’s Friends

Has your child every brought over a friend to play that you just couldn’t stand? What happens when you don’t like your child’s friends? You could forbid them to be friends with that kid, but most likely, your child will either resent you or ignore you. I have disliked some of my own children’s friends, and I’ve had to create a delicate balance of how to handle these situations. Here are a few examples and what worked for me.

When You Don't Like Your Child's Friends

My stepdaughter had a friend that my husband and I could not stand in third or fourth grade. Her friend was very immature for her age. She was the youngest sibling with a very large gap in age between her older siblings and her. Everyone in her family treated her like the baby, so she acted like one. She talked like a baby, she expected everyone to do things for her, and she never understood appropriate times to call the house. When she joined us for dinner, she didn’t have any table manners and basically drove my husband and I crazy.

My oldest son had a friend that became a huge problem. He grew up as an only child in his home and had difficulties with the lack of a father figure in his life. He was very bossy and possessive. He would come to our house, boss our son around, and hog all of the toys. He would refuse to clean his mess, he’d constantly lie about incidents that occurred, and several times, he was mean to our son.

So, we did not like these friends. We did not enjoy having them in our house. We didn’t really want our children around them. However, they were in our lives whether we liked them or not. We chose to invite them into our homes, and we dealt with their behavior. Like us, here’s what you can do when you don’t like your child’s friends:

  1.  Invite the friend to your house. If your child is hanging out with this friend when you are not around, there’s no telling what kind of influence they are having on your child’s behavior. Chances are, if you don’t like the way they act around you, you really wouldn’t like the way they act in a comfortable environment like their own home.
  2. Explain the rules of your house to the friend. If a friend acts out in a way that you deem inappropriate for your house, gently explain to them that your family does things differently. Describe how you expect children to behave in your house.
  3. Maintain your own expectations for your child. The friend acting out of control is no excuse for your own child to do the same. Let your child know that even though a friend is over, they are expected to follow the rules of the house. Perhaps seeing a positive example of how to behave is just what the friend needs to get back in line.
  4. Debrief with your child after the friend leaves. Ask them how they felt about the time spent together. If the friend acted up, ask your child how they felt about that behavior. If you feel it’s appropriate, you can tell your child some of the behaviors that you did not like. Make sure they understand that these types of conversations should stay at home though. You don’t want them running off to tell their friend what a bad kid you think they are.

Chances are, if the friend doesn’t place the same values on behaviors you continue to expect in your home, either they or your child will eventually find an end to the friendship. Both of the friends that I mentioned above were not around long. My stepdaughter and my son both saw that these friends were not ideal. But, we never told them they couldn’t be friends or couldn’t invite them over. We knew they had to see for themselves who they wanted to spend time with. The steps we took helped them to see some of the behaviors, but ultimately it was their decision to no longer ask these friends over.

Do your children have friends that you can’t stand? What do you do when you don’t like your child’s friends? Share with me in the comments below!

Five on Friday

I’ve had one hell of a week. Not in a good way. A sick kid, behavior problems with another kid, a backup of papers to grade…it’s been a rough ride. I wasn’t sure what to share on the blog this week, but I stumbled upon a fun group of ladies who share five thinks every Friday. It can be five things they love, five things that happened that week, or five of anything you want. What fun! I needed something fun! So, without further ado, I present to you my first “Five on Friday.”

1. Karate – Miles began Karate this week. He no longer wanted to dance, which was upsetting for me. However, we found a groupon deal for him to try out a local karate program. He’s been twice now and seems to enjoy it so far. I’m excited for him to try something new and hoping he learns a little discipline and self-control.

Five On Friday: Karate
2. Humor – I need a laugh when I’m feeling overwhelmed. This video by Esther Anderson had me laughing so hard. It’s funny, because it’s true.

3. Semester’s End – I am officially done with all of my school library media specialist classes except for my internship and class. It felt amazing to submit the final assignment last night.

4. Chocolate Cake – I stayed home today with Emerson. I ordered lunch. I also ordered this giant piece of cake. I may have eaten most of it myself.

Five on Friday: Chocolate Cake
5. Siddhartha – I started reading Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse with my students this week. I’ve never taught this book before, so it’s fun to rediscover a book I read in high school through the eyes of my students. I’m hoping they continue to stay interested in the ideas and story.

What have you been up to this week? Share five things with me in the comments below or link up your blog post!

Stupid Questions: They Do Exist

“There’s no such thing as a stupid question.”

Whoever is telling this to the youth of America is straight up lying to them. I understand the reasoning behind it. We don’t want to discourage kids from asking questions. We don’t want them sitting in class wanting to ask something so badly but feeling like it’s a stupid question so they’d rather have it go unanswered.

Stupid Questions: They Do Exist

However, there ARE stupid questions. And they’re being asked everyday in classes and in meetings. Kids are told there are no stupid questions, which in turn creates adults who think there are no stupid questions. Is your question stupid? Check the list below. If it falls into one of these categories, keep your mouth shut:

Questions that have already been answered.If you were too busy talking to someone, staring out the window, or doodling in your notebook to pay attention the first time information was given, you DO NOT have the right to ask a question. Chances are, the question was already answered. You no longer have question-asking privileges.

Questions that have nothing to do with what’s being currently discussed.
We’re discussing quantum physics, and you ask who wrote Hamlet. We’re comparing sales charts, and you want to know when the next vacation day is. You get the point.  Your question is officially stupid, because it is irrelevant. Wait to ask it until we’re actually discussing what you want to know. The question might even be answered later or has already been answered (see above).

Questions that are personal to you but are addressed in the larger group.
I know this for a fact: the most annoying thing in a meeting EVER is when it could have ended long ago, but people keep asking questions that only pertain to them. If you are one of these people, everyone hates you and is dreaming of ending your life in some complex and violent manner. SHUT. UP.

Let’s spread the word. No more stupid questions! Learn it. Love it. Live it.

Currently

A new month means a new link up with Anne over at In Residence and Jenna at Dearest Love to share what I’m currently reading, wishlisting, loving, appreciating, and creating. Come play with us and share your “currently” list.

What I'm currently reading, wishlisting, loving, appreciating, and creating.

Reading: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith. I am obsessed with this book. I picked it up at the school library on Friday, and I’m almost done with it already. I wanted an easy mystery novel, and this one is so good, I can’t stop reading!!! It’s written by JK Rowling under her pseudonym Robert Galbraith. It’s about a private detective, Cormoran Strike, who is asked to investigate the apparent suicide of a famous model. I’m on the edge of my seat trying to figure out “who dunnit.” I’ll definitely have to pick up the second book when I’m finished.

Wishlisting: Mala Meditation Beads. This necklace of 108 beads is used during meditation to keep count during mantras. I learned about them at a meditation workshop at my yoga studio, but the price of the necklaces were out of my budget at that time. So, I’m adding them to my Christmas wishlist.

Loving: Miles’s kindergarten teacher. She’s absolutely amazing. She has so much patience with him and offers great ideas to teach him expected behavior and patience. I am so happy she’s in his life. She has made this year so much less stressful.

Appreciating: My husband! I read an article circulating around lately about “The Default Parent,” and it made me grateful for all he does. We definitely share in the duties around the house and with the boys. I don’t think either of us could be called “the default parent.” There are certain things he takes care of and certain things I take care of, but they’re all equally important in maintaining a household and raising our sons.

Creating: Custom wine glasses. We made these at my yoga retreat amid lots of laughs and jokes about how terrible mine looked. In the end, I loved the result and would like to make some as Christmas gifts this year.

Share your currently list below, especially what you’re reading! I love book recommendations!