Monday, March 31, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
- How about renting a photo booth to be positioned somewhere on the course (preferably the back nine - after everyone has had enough time to "loosen up")? Pals could take fun group shots to commemorate the day's events. Pictures are great keepsakes.
- If the idea of a photo booth seems impractical, maybe you could hire a photographer to spend an hour or two taking pics on the course. Most companies that do this can imprint an event name (Struble Suds Golf Tournament), date, etc....
- Rather than everyone getting a small chatchka, maybe you could purchase two or three larger items. Prizes could be awarded at the 19th hole to the lucky guys who have some kind of dot or insignia on the bottom of their beer mug.
- To develop this idea I whacked Richard on the side of the head (fun visual, huh) and employed the idea of "reverse" (see 3/11). Instead of believing that YOU need to leave everyone with a party favor, reverse the thinking and contemplate everyone leaving something that will stay with you! Richard's idea... Purchase a pewter or silver beer mug. Then, have the name of everyone attending the 40th birthday celebration engraved along the side. The mug can be prominently placed in Struble Suds for all the guys to see each time they visit! I love this idea, as it commemorates the celebration in a way that will have meaning to Matt. ...It is after all a celebration of him!
- Anybody else have something?!?!? Now is the time to chime in.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
- Dig out old photographs of aunts, grandmothers, sisters, or your mom to be displayed at the dinner table. You can mount them on thick paper and then have each person read a one or two line fact written on the back.
- Feature a special recipe of one of these women and then spend time talking about who else they were besides cook extraordinaire... special interests, significant accomplishments, etc...
- Generate questions you would like to ask women in your family, so beginning today, you can preserve history for tomorrow. If you have kids, they might find this this especially fun.
- Host a special woman in your family's history. History doesn't have to mean deceased, so pick up the phone and invite a grandmother, aunt or sister for dinner or dessert. Let each person think of a question they might like to ask.
- If you're not married with kids, make a dinner date with your friends. Each of you can bring a photograph of one women in your family history who you would like to talk about over dinner.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
- Ok, the natural assumption I might be able to drop is that I am the one that needs to do the laundry. True, true. In my own defense, however, let me say that Ricky - the 15 year old - does his own (I can't bear the idea of sending a child off to college without his knowing how to do laundry). I could, however, alternate weeks with my husband. One week I do laundry and he grocery shops. The next week we reverse. Oohh.., but I HATE the supermarket. I'm sounding like a naysayer. I'll keep moving.
- Why is the assumption that laundry is to be dreaded (because there is so much and it's never ending!!!!)? Maybe I should attach something positive to doing laundry. How about this... each hour spent on laundry each week is repaid with an hour spent by myself...either reading or doing something else totally indulgent.
- That's it... Laundresses get paid, don't they? Why am assuming I shouldn't get paid too? Maybe I can figure out the going rate for a laundress these days and pay myself. That could accumulate into a healthy little rainy day fund (maybe then I could get the manicure I need to help my cracked hands recover).
- Why do I assume that just because it is in the laundry basket it is laundry... Ooohhh, but I don't. I am Queen of pulling things out of the laundry basket that I know full well have been worn for six minutes and then thrown on the floor so he doesn't have to hang it up
- Why do I assume that I am supposed to wash, dry, fold, and put laundry away all in one day? Maybe I could give myself permission to wash and dry on one day and fold and put away on another day. That way, I won't always feel behind the eight ball.
- Why do I assume I have to put it away? While Jack might be a little young, Matthew and Daddy can certainly take charge of their clothes.
- Why am I so all or nothing? Maybe Matthew could take charge of underwear and Richard could take care of socks. Remember, that's what the chore die is for (2/23)
- Do damaged hands have to be part of the deal? No. I shouldn't assume that. Maybe one of my trusty readers has a great secret tip for keeping my hands looking good.
- Why do I assume my kids have to wear clothes? No clothes, no laundry. That's it. Today I implement the walk-around-the-house-naked-rule. Just kidding. Clearly I am running out of legitimate solutions, but I bet our buddy Roger von Oech would be proud of my taking it to an extreme. That, after all, is when you know you've been whacked on the side of the head.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
As I was packing our holiday decorations away, it occurred to me that it might be helpful to share how we store our family holiday things with the hope of learning a new tip or two from all of you. Those who know me know that I have a not-so-small obsession with Christmas ornaments... not to mention Halloween decorations, Valentine's Day decorations, Easter stuff, supplies for Shamrock Shakes... generally all things holiday. As you can imagine... all those decorations without a plan could make for a quite a cluttered house. I am not into clutter.
I have plastic boxes to hold just about everything and those boxes get stored along one wall in our garage. I like the plastic boxes because I can see inside them and my stuff cannot expand beyond the amount of space I have dedicated to hold it. If an item comes in and there's no more space... then something has to go out. The other reason I like this method of storage is because frequently I will find something off-season that I know I will use (wrapping paper, a new ornament, or metallic shred - which makes all packages look better). When I return home, I simply slip it in the designated box and then it is exactly where it needs to be when the holiday arrives.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
- Toe-Strap Flip-Flops, $5.00; Old Navy.com; I am a flip-flop fanatic - it's kind of like letting your toes out for recess after a long winter.
- Women's Convertible Clutches, $10.00; Old Navy.com; Nothing makes me feel snazzier than a cute little bag on my arm (unless it's a cute guy)!
- Women's Skinny Enamel Bracelets, $7.50; Old Navy.com; Here's a lot of "bangle" for your buck!
- Mod Dot Rain Boots, $19.99, Target.com; With these darling boots, you'll be looking for puddles to jump in!
- Nine & Co. Mini Hobo, $14.40, Kohls.com; Simple, clean and bright - a perfect look for spring!
- Skinny Lizard Belt, $16.99, Gap.com; Who doesn't want to wear something with the word "skinny" in the description?
- Converse All-Star Green Lo-Tops, $40.00, Gap.com; People will be smiling at your feet all day long!
- Twill Tote, $39.50, Gap.com; This bag would put a spring in my step!
- Enamel Stone Ring, $38.00, Banana Republic.com; Spring social events? This gorgeous piece will make your pals green with envy.
- Jessica Simpson Evelyn Green Shoes, $79.00, Piperlime.com; Trust me - no one forgets the girl in the gorgeous green shoes.
- Coach Heritage Stripe Tote, $298.00, Coach.com; What a lot of green can buy you!
- Apple iPod Shuffle - 1GB Lime Green, $49.99, Amazon.com; Accessories have moved beyond shoes and bags - functional items can now be fabulous!
Friday, March 21, 2008
Before we delve into the topic of money, we must acknowledge that today is Free For all Friday - the day when our loyal and creative readers share our collective creativity. Last week's dilemma was centered around Easter egg hunts. First, what new and different things can we try putting in eggs? Second how, when hosting an hunt, can we assure some as semblance of equity in the number of eggs each child receives. As always, I will post some of my thoughts - stream of consciousness - but for other creative ideas check out reader comments from last week (3/14) or check out what our readers post this week.
A crack of the egg could reveal...
- Munchkins donuts (a favorite among my boys)
- sea shells
- eraser heads
- yogurt covered raisins
- trial-sized makeup for teen aged girls
- hair accessories
- jokes... knock, knock...
- puzzle pieces, that when found and assembled - can lead to a treasure (this can be created on poster board)
- Coupons for things such as 1 free kiss; 1 movie of your choice; 1 I-don't-have-to-clean-my-room-pass; or a 10 minute back rub.
- Fortunes such as: Good news will come your way; a new bath toy is in your future; you will have cinnamon toast at breakfast tomorrow; or you will discover a special Easter egg in mommy's bathrobe pocket
- Other suggestions or additional recommendations for coupons and fortunes?... Post them in the comments section.
For this topic I immediately thought to contact my friend, Dawn - the ultimate money manager. Maybe a little background story about Dawn will help you appreciate why I called her to write today's entry. Dawn worked at Arizona State University while I was a student. We quickly became great pals. Me drawn to her great attitude - exemplified by her life motto, "Bloom where you are planted" and her drawn to... not quite sure, but she keeps me hanging around so I know there's something. Dawn generously opened her home up to me one summer when I needed to stay in Tempe to take a class in historical research.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
With a son who is not only energetic, but at the time was also an only child (just dying to get to school where he had peers to talk and play with), we spent our fair share of time in the yellow and red zones. We, like most parents, tried every trick in the book... rewarding the good days and punishing the bad days. That year, on St. Patrick's Day, I presented Ricky with what I was sure would be the magical solution to all of our behavioral problems. I poured over my project for weeks, believing I guess that there was a correlation between the amount of time I spent on the project and its effectiveness in improving Ricky's classroom behavior. Finally I gave it to him - wrapped all in green and with a big beautiful green bow. It was after all...
There's an equivalent to the Green Plate that you should know about. It's the Red Plate (believe it or not). Written around the edge of the plate are the words, "You Are Special Today." The idea is the same. The plate is intended to be a family heirloom, passed along and used to recognize major accomplishments. It even comes with a marker allowing you to write the date and accomplishment on the bottom of the plate. I love giving these plates as either a wedding gift or baby shower gift. When I give one I feel like I am giving a lifetime of warm memories - and maybe even the start of a family tradition. If you want to see one on-line type in The Original Red Plate Company. They're made in Germany.
Signing off until tomorrow...
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
- Less time to spend with my sons.
- My creating an experience centered around letter writing, maybe I am not being forward thinking enough. Should I be promoting the use of technology among girls - not paper and pen?
- Girls could forge relationships that would last a lifetime. Imagine a fellow Girl Scout flying in from far away to be a bridesmaid in her pen pal's wedding.
- Maybe the reason I'm having so much fun doing this is because it is small scale and not a lot of time or pressure. Maybe doing it on a larger scale would be less enjoyable.
- The U.S. Post Office will love it. With the price of a stamp going up to .42 cents, fewer people will want to use snail mail. Maybe they will view this as a great promotional opportunity (what's more apple pie than the Girl Scouts) and be sponsors of the annual pen pal meeting!
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Today is compliments of my mother, the retired florist, ... flowers and green plants. I was lucky enough to have grown up in a home where fresh flowers filled every room. The downside... I took it all for granted and consequently know nothing about foliage of any sort. I consulted with her on the phone, picking her brain for fun facts my readers might like to know. Here you go...
- Green foliage plants actually serve more of a purpose than simply making your home more beautiful. They actually serve to purify the air in your house and help eliminate odors. She recommended two sites for more information on the Top 10 plants for your home and other fun facts. The sites are Care2/greenliving and houseplants/care.blogspot.com.
- When cutting roses to put in a vase, always fill your kitchen sink and cut them while the tips are submerged in water. While many people strip roses of all their thorns, my mother advises against it. First, according to her, it is part of what makes a rose beautiful and second, you run the risk of nicking the stem. Roses, unlike, other flowers, drink from the outside and removing the thorns means possibly nicking the outer stem and disturbing the flow of water.
- Daffodils are not compatible with any other flowers. There is something about their makeup that poisons the water, therefore killing other flowers in the arrangement. They are best in a vase by themselves.
- Tulips. Have you ever noticed how tulips, when in an arrangement, with other flowers continue to grow? It doesn't take long before they are out of sync with the rest of the arrangement. Fix this by disrupting the flow of water to the flower. Simply make a small vertical nick in one side of the tulip's stem.
- Keep arrangements looking good by changing the water every day or two. Water should be room temperature. Some people add an aspirin, 7Up, or a penny - all in an effort to keep flowers looking good longer. My mom wouldn't commit to which of any of these tricks really worked. Maybe some of you have an opinion or another trick.
- If an arrangement is well done, you should be able to pluck one or two flowers from it as they die and still have the arrangement looking balanced. Something to aspire to for any of us who want to develop this skill.
- We missed the boat on making our own green carnations for St. Patrick's Day, but you could try this trick for Mother's Day (maybe a pale pink or blue carnation). Simply cut the stem and stick it in a potent cup of the food dye color of your choice. You have to do this about 18 hours before you intend to use it, as that is how long it will take for the flower to absorb the colored water.
If you are like me and much of this escapes you... try this fun little idea. My mom came to visit after Jack was born and was a huge help in taking care of the other two boys. A week after she returned home, my son's and I mailed her a big box filled with bright colored tissue paper flowers. On the outside of box we wrote, "Thanks a BUNCH for all your help!" The boys had fun helping me make them and I knew they'd still be alive when they arrived.
Signing off until tomorrow...
Monday, March 17, 2008
- Hosting is hard. Cassie coordinated the first bake-off, so frankly I was CLUELESS about exactly how much work and planning went in to making it happen.
- 99.9% of the time things do not come out the way they are pictured in the cookbook or in this case the Cookie Box recipe card. I attempted making leprechaun hats from cupcakes, an oatmeal cookie, green icing, tootsie rolls, and yellow decorating pens. DISASTER! I ended up throwing the whole lot of them away. Even if I could have "engineered" them to work, I cannot help but think they would have tasted awful.
- Pay attention. I got all the way through the sugar cookie recipe - which interestingly enough called for cream cheese and sour cream (in addition to a number of other things) - and realized I forgot to add the sour cream. The dough was already in the refrigerator for its requisite two hours. I pulled it out of the refrigerator, unwrapped it, put it back in the mixer, and added the sour cream. It was about 7:00 a.m. when that happened. That, in retrospect, was foreshadowing.
- I just finished putting the final touches on 10 little packages for teachers, friends, and the postman. I feel great. This morning I will brighten the day of a number of unsuspecting people and that is a good feeling. It will immediately wipe away any questions about whether it was worth the time and energy.
- We had fun. Cassie; Nan, my neighbor; and I had great conversation while decorating the cookies - shaped as pots of gold, horseshoes, four leaf clovers, and leprechauns (we had beer mugs too, but time and stamina ran out).
- I learned something new. Baking a sugar cookie, yes. I had done that. But outlining and "flooding" cookies.... This is a world I knew nothing about.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
As for February's creation... Picture a fishing pole made from a a sturdy stick; strung with string to look like fishing wire; red and white fishing bobbers (perfectly valentine's day); bright colored valentine notes reading things such as "Hook, Line, and Sinker you're the best." or "You're a REEL catch."; and on the very end... cellophane bags filled with brightly colored fish-shaped cookies. Cute, cute, cute. I felt like a rock star walking in to Preschool on Valentine's day. There was a long string of admirers following behind my four year old son as he traipsed through the hallways on his way to deliver the treats to his teachers. All thanks to Cassie, the visionary for the project.
Friday, March 14, 2008
- Build a day: Make special invitations, inviting everyone to reserve a particular day when the group will take a stroll down memory lane. Meet early in the morning and have everyone write down one of their favorite things to do with the group. Experiences might be things such as eating at a particular restaurant, meeting at a particular place on campus for coffee each week, watching movies in someone's residence hall room, or shopping at a local thrift store or retail store. Once each person has noted their favorite experience on a paper, seal them in envelopes and mix them up. Then, randomly draw your first card from the stack and go about your business completing the activity. Move through the rest of the day in random order, doing whatever the next card says. It doesn't matter if they aren't in a sensible or efficient order. That's part of what will make it memorable.
- Something survivor-like: I'm not an expert on this show, but I seem to remember when it gets down to the final two, the remaining contestants do a walk, carrying their torches and paying tribute to each person who left them game before they did. As they stop at the torch symbolizing each person, the finalists say something nice about the person. Maybe you could do a final walk of campus - stopping along the way to pay tribute to each member of your group. If you really wanted to be fancy, you could plant photographs ahead of time at particular campus locations. Consider beginning late afternoon one day and finishing at dusk in a meaningful location. If everyone is of-age, you could arrange to have champagne at the final destination (if not, some crazy dean of students might track you down).
- Seal a Time Capsule: Have each person bring one thing to commemorate their college experience. Place the items in a box, wrapped in plastic wrap and packaging tape. Bring a shovel and some flowers then find a non-descript location on campus. Bury the time capsule and plant your flowers on top as a marker. Then you and your friends could make a pact to meet back at campus in a designated period of time to unseal the capsule. This could be extra fun if everyone also wrote a letter to themselves, to be put in the capsule and not read until the capsule is opened.
- Last Will and Testament: Purchase a container for each friend and then ask each person participating to a bring a momento and a note to be placed in each other's boxes. If you have six friends participating, you would have five momentos - one for each of your five friends. Items can be representative of your relationship with one another. It could be the same thing for everyone (for me, a Starbucks card is how most would remember me) or it could be something different for each person (a favorite t-shirt or yours, a CD they kept asking to borrow). If you like the sealing-concept from the time capsule, you could seal the boxes and agree on a future date and time when they will be opened. I might be in Texas, you might be in... say Virginia..., but at 6:00 p.m. one designated day, we all stop what we are doing and open our box.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
With St. Patrick's Day six days away, we still have plenty of time. Pick a person or two you would like to surprise and join me in brainstorming some thoughtful and inexpensive ways to makes someone else's day. As for me... I think my treats will go to my sons' day care providers (always want them to feel valued and appreciated) and the postman. Others you might consider include people such as new neighbors; a colleague; the person who greets you at the gym each morning; a housekeeper or gardener; or the mother at the park that you see weekly, but haven't yet met.
I like to begin brainstorming possible treat ideas with the fun slogan or saying that I will attach. Here are some of my attempts. Feel free to post your own creative ideas...
- You're Worth Your Weight In Gold
- I'm Lucky to Know You
- Top of the Morning To You
- You're my Lucky Charm
- Others are Green With Envy... thanks for being such a good friend, colleague, housekeeper, etc...
More times than not, the fun slogan will prompt ideas about a fun treat you can present. Some examples...
- "You're worth your weight in gold" could be accompanied by Hershey's gold nugget candies, the gold candy coins you can purchase at specialty candy stores, or a gold dollar.
- "I'm lucky to know you" can simply be written on a shamrock shaped piece of green construction paper or, if feeling diligent, attached to a bag of shamrock shaped cookies.
- "Top of the Morning to you" could be written in green marker on a Starbucks coffee cup for your favorite colleague or written on a green top hat and hung on someone's door knob.
- "Your My Lucky Charm" lends itself perfectly to a rabbit's foot key chain or better yet a yummy box of lucky charms on your breakfast table (that would be a hit among my kids!).
- "Others are green with envy" is a general slogan that can accompany any green treat from fun socks to a green potted plant.
Either way you have plenty of time to plan. Today is Tuesday. You can mill the ideas over today; Wednesday commit to one or two; Thursday make a list of what you need to purchase; Friday make purchases; Saturday bake or put together packages; Sunday... always the day of rest, and Monday... make their day with a thoughtful presentation.
Signing off for today…
Monday, March 10, 2008
I have had calendar of sorts for as long as I could remember. I’ve tried everything from the fancy Stephen Covey systems to going exclusively electronic. But, I always return to what I consider to be the ultimate, tried and true organizer… The Planner Pad. I should work on commission for this company, because since 1991, I personally have converted upwards of 50 – 60 students, friends, and colleagues to this simple paper and pen method of organizing.
What makes this calendar terrific is it is organized into four sections. It begins with the most general and works its way to the most specific tasks you hope to accomplish in a week. The very top of the calendar provides a space for you to write your Major Goal of the Week. Next it provides space for you to brainstorm Weekly Lists of Activities by Categories. I love this section the most. Regardless of whether we are stay at home moms or VPs of major corporations, our lives are divided into buckets of responsibility. The buckets could be classroom mom, household chores, staff meeting preparation, friends, family, fitness goals, etc…. This section of the calendar allows us to ‘brain dump” all the things we need/want to accomplish in those buckets for the week. Sections three and four get even more specific, requiring you to schedule your weekly lists of activities (buckets) into particular days of the week and finally hours of those specific days. It is, if you could imagine, an inverted pyramid beginning with the most general goal of the week and ultimately moves toward the specificity of the day and time will you make that happen. I left my professional position one year ago and still each morning I open my calendar (centrally located in my kitchen) and use it as a tool for planning and organizing the life of my family.
If you aren’t wed to a calendar, you might consider checking out a Planner Pad at www.plannerpads.com. I swear by mine.
Now for a quick planning tip I learned years ago and still use to this day – actually especially use now that I am running a household and all the paper that goes along with it. Last week we received an invitation to an event hosted by my husband’s alma mater. The event is not until the last week of March, but included a campus map we will need to find the function. Two weeks ago my son received an invitation to a birthday party next weekend. The party will be at Pump It Up, a local indoor recreation facility with inflatables. There is a consent form that must accompany him on the day of the party. Yesterday I made a reservation for a flight to Chicago. I printed off the itinerary, but won’t need it until mid-April. This is the kind of paper clutter that could easily create mini stacks of paper all over your home and on counter space if you are not careful. Instead, I use the power of the ‘H”.” The letter “H” stands for Hold. I have a manilla folder filed in our home office and inside the “H” folder goes any piece of paper I must hold onto for an upcoming event or commitment. I simply store the paper in the folder and then note an “H” in my calendar on the date I will need the map, consent form, flight itinerary, or whatever the item may be. This keeps papers from getting lost and, at the same time, doesn’t have them sitting out or stuck to the refrigerator for weeks on end.
Tomorrow we’ll start planning for St. Patrick’s Day, so grab (or order) your calendar and meet me back here.
Signing off for now…
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
- Mother's Day is in May, so you'll miss the boat on that, but maybe Father's Day. Could this be a recommended Father's Day present that thoughtful wives could purchase for their husbands?
- My sister has a couple of Pilates studios and she uses the first day of each new year to promote her studio by selling Pilates sessions for $20.08, $20.09 next year, and $20.10 the year after... you get the idea. If you don't like the idea of using the calendar year, maybe you could use the birth date of your new arrival (Stacy is expecting any day now). If the baby's birthday is today (3/7/08), for instance, maybe you could charge $37.08. If nothing else it earns you an extra $17.00.
- From my hand to yours... maybe you could coordinate with a local manicurist to offer a package deal - massage, plus manicure - for a reduced rate.
- The woman in Louisville who cut my hair would give a free hair cut for each new client I sent her way. I don't know if she considered it cost effective, but it was certainly an incentive for me (and it did land her at least four new clients in the four years she cut my hair).
- Compliments of my friend Quynh, who was riding in the car with me today when this topic came up. How about a CD? She suggested burning Cds of relaxing music and using the face of the CD to put your logo and contact information. I love the idea, because a CD is functional and is something people will use repeatedly.
- If you held an open house, maybe you could incorporate an adaptation to the tried and true Lollipop Pull. Use hands instead of lollipops. Each hand could reveal a different price point. When I was a kid a local ice cream store used to do this with banana splits, except they used balloons. Pop the balloon and inside was a strip of paper revealing the cost of your dessert. I loved the anticipation of the unknown. Come to think of it... maybe that's responsible for my ice cream obsession.
- Massages seem like either the antidote to stress or the ultimate indulgence. So, a question you might ask is what do people stress about or when are they most likely to indulge... Stressors might include paying taxes (April 15 - too soon for your purposes); exams (do students have enough extra cash flow?); or children out of school for the summer (good timing for you). Indulgences might happen in connection with weddings; work promotions (which might mean extra cash flow), or a tax refunds!
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
I promised no alliterations, but I am not ready to abandon Wacky Wednesday completely. When I was typing last week's entry, I was reminded of a deck of cards I own (Creative Whack Pack, by Rogervon Oech - sold at any book store) that I use when conducting training on topics related to creativity. Each card tells a short story and then leaves you with a mental challenge - mental gymnastics of sorts. I thought this could be an interesting activity for us to engage in together. After all, if this blog is to be about creativity then a nice byproduct of checking in with me each day is that it will get your own creative juices flowing and find yourself applying some of what you read to your own world.
Think of this as improv. Each Wednesday I will share with you the contents of one card, coupled with a problem I am facing. We will put the two thoughts together and see if we can't come up - in real time - with a creative solution. Then, using the same creative principle and your own problem, you'll try!
Here we go...
Dig Deeper: Emile' Chartier: "Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it's the only one you have." Don't stop with the first right answer you find. Dig deeper and look for others. how do you keep a fish from smelling? Cook it as soon as you catch it. Keep a cat around. Burn incense. Cut its nose off. Remember: the best way to get a good idea is to get lots of ideas. What good ideas are below the surface? What's the second right answer?
Now my problem. My 3 year old son is easily distracted at dinner, making eating his meal a long and frustrating process - especially for me and his dad. Up to this point, the solution has been to continue reminding him that he is supposed to be eating and that he should stay on task. Instead of asking how you keep a fish from smelling, let me ask.. How do you keep a three-year old from getting distracted during dinner?
- Remove all distractions such as siblings, parents, centerpieces, etc...
- Allocate a designated amount of time for eating his meal before it is removed from the table.
- Let his 15 year old brother eat whatever is left after a designated amount of time.
- Serve everyone, except him, a meal until he asks for it.
- Come to the table as a family 10 minutes before the meal is served, so that stories can be shared before the food arrives (ooohhh, I like that one).
- Fill his plate with a bite or two, instead of everything upfront. By reversing the expectation from finish what's on your plate to asking for additional bites, he might become more interested (scarcity mentality).
- Each portion of his dinner could earn him part of his evening routine (dinner = dessert; milk = book; salad = Mango Key bedtime story).
Signing off until tomorrow...
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Last summer, six months after the arrival of my third son - when it was blatantly clear there was no baby girl in my future - I set out in search of two unsuspecting girls, willing to entertain me and to be my venue for all the fun "girly" things (theme parties, crafts, sticker-swapping, secret codes, and friendship bracelets) that I would otherwise never get to do. My niece from New York city and close family friend from Watkinsville, Georgia seemed like the perfect two.
The Pen Pal Challenge started in late August. I matched up the two girls via mail and they've been letter writing ever since. I live vicariously through them, hearing about the exchange of postcards, pictures, stickers, puzzles, and letters to be decoded with special pens. I periodically send them a small package of pen pal paraphernalia to keep them motivated (but really so I have cause to buy all the fun stuff I'd otherwise couldn't justify). Of course I'm not totally selfless. I told them both if they exchanged 12 pieces of mail each over the course of the school year that I would host them for a girl's weekend in Dallas. Are you kidding? Two 10-11 year old girls for five days! I can't wait. The boys will be shipped off to grandmas, so we can do all things GIRL... stay up late, wearing fun pajamas, eating treats and talking about cool stuff; spreading out at the kitchen table with all kinds of crafts projects; and shopping at the local mall with stops along the way for lunch and manicures. Only four more months until the fun begins.
As for me and Karen, our friendship persists to this day. We don't write or talk nearly as frequently as we did when we were younger, but after two visits from Karen and lots of letters between the two of us, we stay in touch enough to know about big life changes in each others lives. I still haven't made it to Hastings, but visiting the apple orchard she grew up on remains on my Bucket List (if you haven't seen the movie, it's definitely worth seeing).
Letter writing is quickly becoming a lost art, so if I can do my small part to promote pen paling and maybe even develop a friendship along the way, then that is good enough for me. How about you? Do you know two young people you could match up as pen pals? Or, forget matching up two young people, grab a paper and pen and find a young person who could benefit from you reaching out. It will feel good to you and will most assuredly bring a smile to his or her face.
Signing off until tomorrow...