Sunday, April 30, 2017

Moments Matter: Photo Prompts for Moms

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A few years back, I shared a new Moments Matter monthly photo challenge.  The concept of the photo challenge is to focus on the small details of our days and to connect with our loved ones in the midst of our hectic lives.  Because it's in these little moments that life happens, love is shared, and memories are made.  With Mother's Day coming up, I've decided to revisit this challenge as a gift to myself.  I thought I'd share it with you all in case you want to join in.  As moms, sometimes we are rarely in pictures, I encourage you to be in the picture as much as possible.
There are several ways you can join me in this project:
  • Use the photo prompts to capture moments in your day that fit them.  Join me on Instagram and share them or keep them for just you and your family to enjoy.
  • Use the topics to hone your photography skills.
  • You can also use the prompts as inspiration for activities for you to do with your children. 
  • If you can’t participate every day, no worries.  Just post when the prompts speak to you and relate to the moments in your day.
  • Share whatever photos you like with the tag #momentsmatter to share the special moments in your day.
  Here are the photo prompts for this month:


Don't forget to use the hashtag #momentsmatter when you share!  See you on Instagram!
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Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

When a Mommy Friendship Ends

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I just recently lost a friend.  There was no notice of a problem.  One day things were fine, and the next, she had blocked and unfriended me on Facebook.  I couldn't deal... Couldn't process what had caused such a major step.
The feelings surrounding a friend breakup are just like those experienced in a romantic breakup. When a friendship ends, it’s so personal in nature.  Here’s a person I’ve shared my concerns as a mom, my frustrations as a wife, and my struggles as a woman with.  And she’s freaking rejected me.  As naked and vulnerable as I could possibly be, I was with her through whatever.  Through all of her struggles, all of her crap, all of my struggles, all of my crap,  I tried to be there. This pain is real and fresh.  It gnaws at my heart as I go about my day.  Mostly because I have no answers, no reasons, no knowing what I did wrong to cause what I thought was going to be a lifelong friendship to be over.
I feel duped. I feel betrayed. I feel anxious about whatever I could've done that caused this fallout
And how do I explain all of this to an 8 yr old who wants to know why Mommy is so sad?  How do I tell him that sometimes people turn away from us and we never know the reason? 
The sadness over losing a friend is real and deserves to be validated.  That’s why I won't use the silly cliché “why would you want to be friends with someone who doesn’t want to be friends with you?” on my son.  Because we can’t control who we feel connected to… who we perceive as a kindred spirit. 
Instead, I have to tell him this…
Everyone has a story.  Something they’re going through or have gone through.  We don’t always know what others are thinking and feeling or why they do what they do.  So all we can do is be kind and loving to them, even if their actions or words wound us. And we miss that person and their presence in our lives.  And we can pray that they’re happy with who they spend their time with and that their new friends love them just as much as we do.  And maybe things will change and they’ll want to be friends again.  Maybe not.  But at least if we end on a loving note, they’ll know that door is always open.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

How to Know if Your Teen is Ready to Drive

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Is your teen nagging you to get their learner's permit or to practice driving?  I started to feel like a mean parent when people asked her, "Are you driving yet?".  My poor girl would get red in the face and let out an embarrassed "nope" from her mouth. But we had some stipulations that she had to meet in order to get those keys.

Learning to drive is a rite of passage for teens, but I'm a firm believer that just because a teen turns 16, doesn't necessarily mean that they are ready to take on the responsibility of driving a motor vehicle. In order to even get her learner's permit, my seventeen year old daughter, Pip, had to:
  • have A & B grades
  • have $500 saved {our deductible}
Her grades were fine and she was working her way towards saving the money.  We decided that she could take her time as I was not ready for her to drive.  But was she ready?  Which leads to the question:

How do I know my teen is ready to drive?

To get fully comfortable with her being behind the wheel, I asked myself the following questions:

Are the choices they make in high pressure situations appropriate?
Reaction time is vital in preventing automobile accidents.  Split-second decisions can help to prevent damage to property, injuries, and death.  Judging this ability can be something as simple as their reactions to a glass of spilled soda on the table.  Upon asking them to quickly go get a towel, does your teen freeze up, run to grab the towel by the sink, or go down the hall to the bathroom to get a towel out of the linen closet?
Do they generally follow household rules?
If your teen struggles to follow the rules of the house (i.e. no friends over when a parent isn't home, obeying curfew, etc), chances are there will be issues will following your rules while they're on the road. 
How do they respond to peer pressure?
A teen's response to peer pressure is an integral part of judging their readiness to operate a 3,000 ton vehicle. Their ability to stand up to peers when asked to do something that is unsafe, illegal, or against the rules could be the thing that saves their lives.
Do they say they're ready?
This is an easy one.  Though it is definitely more convenient for us as parents to have our teens be able to handle their own transportation to school, work, and social events, it's also imperative that your teen is ready for such a big step. Which leads to the next question...

Are they confident and comfortable behind the wheel?
There's no point in even addressing whether or not your teen should drive is they don't feel comfortable behind the wheel. They should log plenty of practice hours prior to testing to get their license. This can be scary, no doubt. But many schools offer Driver's Education classes and there are many local driving instruction schools.

Do they obey traffic laws and family rules for driving?
Wear your seatbelt. Don't mess with your phone while the car is in drive. Follow the speed limit. Stay two car lengths behind bikers.  There are so many rules, both written and unwritten that drivers should follow.  Make sure that your teen is fully cognizant of your expectations for them. Some families even opt to create teen driving contracts.
Ultimately, there's not finite list to be crossed off in knowing whether or not your teen is ready to start driving. Using the concepts in the above list and your own knowledge of what your teen is capable of, you have to make the decision based on what's best for your family.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Picture Book Scavenger Hunt

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We love visiting our local library. They have a vast selection of books and some really amazing storytimes and activity programs. And with this week being National Library Week, I thought I'd share this free printable picture book scavenger hunt so you and your littles can explore what your library has to offer.

I formatted this printable so that it is appropriate for toddlers, preschoolers, or grade-schoolers. The easily identifiable pictures allow toddlers and preschoolers to "read" the pictures, interpret them as they will, and then find books. Even the youngest of readers can scribble out the picture after they find a corresponding book.
Click the link below to download 

I hope that this printable lets you and your kiddos or students explore and find new, exciting books at your local library!

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

25 Egg Decorating Ideas for Kids

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We're prepping for Easter and I realized that I think I've only dyed Easter eggs once with Bear in all his 8 Easters. And have never done it with Sunny. So I resolved myself that this year we would do it.  See, I'm really bad about traditions. I'm a self-admitted failure at being a Pinterest parent. I'm not sure if anyone can relate but, I have the best intentions... And then, before I know it, the holiday or occasion has arrived and I'm ill-prepared.

So this year, I'm trying to be better prepared.  To do that, I pulled some fun ideas for Easter egg decorating for us to try. Below you can see some of the options I'm considering.

Use crayon shavings to create unique designs.
Break out the shaving cream and create some unique designs.
Grab some silk ties from the thrift store and use this technique to create amazing designs.
Love scratch art? Create your own on Easter eggs with this tutorial.
Chalkboards never go out of style, which is why I love these eggs!

Go intergalactic and create these fun Star Wars Easter Eggs.
Explore other cultures and decorate Ukranian style eggs.
Grab some washi tape and create cute wrapped eggs.
Pair egg dying with a science activity using this fun tutorial
I had no clue you could dye eggs with rice until I saw this post.

Use tissue paper to create color patterns on eggs.
Go trendy and paint emojis on yellow eggs.
Tie-dye Easter eggs like these are so fun and gorgeous to look at!
Follow this tutorial to use rubbing alcohol and sharpies to create one of a kind designs.
I think both my kids would love to create these Minion Easter eggs.

If you don't want to use the stinky vinegar mixture, check out this koolaid dye tutorial.
Little gamers might have fun creating their own Mario inspired eggs.
Check out this tutorial to create these amazing marbled eggs.
Use googly eyes to make these heroes in an eggshell. Turtle Power!
 Create darling designs using fingerprints like these examples.

Craft some yummy looking eggs using this cheeseburger tutorial.
Use this water marbeling technique to create some amazing patterned eggs.
Get whimsical and create fun characters with your eggs.
These galactic eggs are out of this world and would be so fun to make.
There's nothing to be mad at with these cute Angry Birds Easter eggs.

How do you decorate Easter eggs? Do you go the traditional route? Or do something different? Tell me how you decorate them in the comments.

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