The Perfect Season

I am at the pool and have been holding my breath for 2 hours. No, I am not under water. I have three young kids. AT THE POOL. Enough said.  I glance around at the mothers of older children, relaxing, sun-bathing, reading a good book. My first thought is…LUCKY. My next is… when is the last time I read a book? My third is- I AM NOT READY FOR THAT!

As luxurious as it sounds, lounging on a chair is not what I signed up for in this season of life. My kids are already growing too fast. Since when can Jake jump off the side and paddle across without floaties to me? Why aren’t the babies strapped into their newborn car seats under an umbrella? Where is that pregnant belly that turned my tankini into a bikini? Time truly does fly. Sigh… Alas, this my present reality.

I am in the hold-your-breath, “get down”, “be careful”toddler chasing, boo-boo fixing, story book reading, ever-exploring, constant praying, busy playing,  booger wiping, hand washing, diaper changing, snot sucking, baby-proofing, endless question answering, “stop fighting”, being hung on, being climbed on, imaginary playing, obsession indulging, constant clothes washing, pants peeing, always juggling, not sleeping, being clung to, sucked-clawed-spitup on, clothes folding, sock searching, play group going, accident dodging, spill wiping, mess cleaning, vomit catching, germ fighting, sweet cuddling, always helping, hand holding, leg hiding, tower building, constructing, kite-flying, dirt digging, worm finding, bug collecting, potty talking, always learning, ever-growing, toppling, risk taking, butt wiping, sand eating, “please share”, tantruming, rigid carseat maneuvering, food cutting,  fruit pureeing, swing pushing, constant vigilence, tickle torture, snuggling, bed wetting, nightmare reassuring, belly hurting, food throwing, toy fixing, belly laughing, full-of-wonder, ABC singing, cartoon watching, hold my breath season. And embracing every single second of it before it goes away.

I am exhausted but when the lounging in the chair time comes, I will wish for these days again. Maybe not when there is a pina colada in my hand and I am in the middle of a really good book, but I will. I know I will. Because when I look at newborns I already do.

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Embrace each season as it comes.  No matter where you are in life, it is where you are meant to be.

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Some More Eggucational Activities

Compiling the eggceptional list  of eggucational activities really got me brainstorming. Here are the descriptions of my personal additions!

Babies:

Pick an egg, say the animal sound and have the child choose the picture of the animal that says that sound.

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Toddlers:

Match the beginning letter sound with the picture.

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Preschoolers:

Match the geometric shape with the number of sides.

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Match the picture with the word.

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Work on division skills by sharing eggs equally amongst a specified number of people. Work on classification by sorting eggs by color and graphing the results.

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Find rhyming words and put them together. Extend this activity by asking them to add another rhyming word to the pair. IMG_2531

Primary Grades K-2

Match the shape with the correct name. Incorporate a variety of geometry terms such as acute angle, line, vertices, etc.

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Intermediate Grades 3-5

Match Equivalent Fractions

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Match a mixture of decimals, percentages and fractions. This is an incredibly valuable skill in the “real world”!

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Really challenge them by doing this mixed math activity. It can be adapted to any academic level and really gets them thinking in different ways.IMG_2570

Help reinforce memorization of states and capitals.  IMG_2522

Make big numbers by placing varying digits on each egg half. Have students grab any 2 halves and put the egg together to create a new number.  Have them write the number out, emphasizing proper comma placement and then read the number aloud. You can even make it into a game by seeing who can make the highest number.

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Middle And High School

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Here is a list of ideas for middle and high schoolers:

  • Balancing chemical equations
  • Inventors and inventions
  • Famous literary quotes
  • Bible Verses
  • Sports teams and mascots
  • metric conversions (cm, mm, dm)
  • foreign language vocabulary

Please add any other eggcellent ideas you come across. Be sure to #strollersavvy!

Bring it on, Pinterest!

Pinterest is a metaphor for my life, taunting me every step of the way. I hear the quiet whispers- “you wish you could do this”, “you are all talk”, “so much to do, so little time”. It is yet another giant to-do list, filled with lofty goals intertwined amongst the easily achievable. And like my Instagrampinchallengecrazy, messy life, I love it.

As with any other obstacle I’ve faced in life, I am not going to let it bring me down. I am going to take control of it, one tiny image at a time. Why? Because I WANT to! Unlike my typical monstrosity of a to-do list, these are things that I actually want to do.

This ingenious social media tool has taught me some hard truths about myself. It has also motivated me to overcome these realities and strive to improve upon them.

 1) I am a creative person trapped in a 1st grader’s body.

Seriously, ask my college art methods instructor. He asked us to draw a tree, so I did. He then held mine up and illustrated the point that my art instruction must have stopped around 4th grade, as exemplified by my art skills. It was harsh, but he had a point.

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So you can imagine the problem this poses to a Pinterest addict such as myself. I see so many awesome ideas I want to implement, but when I go to make them they are horrible. Yet I still WANT to make them.

I see every craft, experiment, etc. as a creative outlet that is further developing my skills. I see the projects I have made and feel a sense of pride in whatever minute accomplishment I achieved. I am still that kid who wants her work displayed on the refrigerator! Once I learned to let go of the perfection aspect, I realized that painting actually relaxes me. Sometimes I literally just make a mess of brush strokes on a piece of paper just to have a little meditative moment. (Adult paint by numbers are another awesome invention!)

I also believe my children will cherish the keepsakes I am making for their rooms. After all, when deciding what to keep from my own childhood home, it was the personalized items that I saved. It didn’t matter if it was ugly, outdated, or amateur, it was made by someone who wanted to show their love.

2) I used to have a brain.

Really, I did. However, now thanks to Pinterest, I hardly ever use it! Incredible ideas abound on Pinterest, so why reinvent the wheel?

That said, I find that my creativity is inevitably unleashed when I start on a project. With the exception of recipes, since I am truly a neophyte in the kitchen, I try to use Pinterest ideas as more of a starting point. I often gather 20+ ideas for one project and use these ideas as a springboard for my own creations. If I try to copy something verbatim I am always comparing it, seeing all of the flaws. If I stray and create with my own interpretation, my own vision, or even just my own color scheme, the comparison takes a backseat to the excitement and anticipation. Sometimes that means crapping it up and making a terrible mess of it……. but, it’s about the journey, not the destination, folks!

 3) I am a woman of the perpetual to-do list that never gets done.

Pinterest has only magnified that. I currently have 4,365 pins. Four Thousand, Three Hundred, sixty-five. But unlike my massive list of household chores and extraneous things that need to be done, I actually WANT to do these things. I think that makes it bother me even more. I want to do them, and I still don’t!

4) I can’t cook.

A recipe can sound so simple, but I always seem to muck it up. I am impatient in the kitchen. I don’t really want to wait for things to simmer, but I am starting to see the reason for it, for “layering” flavors rather than just throwing it all in one pot. I want food to taste good, but despite my best efforts, it is usually just okay.

However, this is one that I am not going to back down on. Feeding my family wholesome clean foods is one of my utmost priorities, and that can’t happen with prepackaged grocery items.

As with anything, the more I practice, the more comfortable I become, and the better I will be. Pinterest is a great place to find and store recipes and has motivated me to try things I never would have tried in a million years.

 5) I was spoiled growing up.

I wasn’t spoiled financially or with material things; I was spoiled by the fact that my parents took care of the housework and didn’t force us to do chores or tasks that didn’t interest us. (Due to unfortunate events, they never got to teach us these things as we got older as they had planned to do.) So as a result, I have a lot to learn as an adult! Things that come easily to some have been quite the learning experience for me! Ask my poor husband about the time I put dish soap in the dishwasher in our first apartment…..

Laugh all you want, but I really do want my laundry to be clean, my closets organized, my life to feel more structured. I want to be comfortable going into someone’s house and just helping, but that is hard to do when I am not confident in my own abilities. I can give you workout tips, create a lesson plan or jump into most physical activities without batting an eye, but ask me to put dishes away in someone else’s kitchen and I freeze. Pinterest is helping me to improve in so many of these areas!

So I am declaring a two-fold Pinterest Challenge. The first one is personal, the second is universal.

Stroller Savvy Pin Challenge

Personal Challenge:

My personal challenge is: 1000 pins.   I was originally going to set the time frame at 1 year, but I am hesitant to do so. I think it’s a great goal, but here is why I left it off:

I don’t want to do pins just for the sake of doing pins. I know myself. If I am simply trying to reach a target number, I will start choosing the quickest, easiest pins just to reach that number. That will have far less benefit on my personal growth and defeats the purpose of the challenge.

My intention is to implement these great ideas that I have pinned for one reason or another. These tiny images struck a chord with me and I am going to see where they take me. Some will take a half hour, some will take weeks. I am going to focus on the ones that make sense for me and my family at the time without being pressured by deadlines.

Universal ChallEnge:

The Universal Challenge involves YOU.  Think about what challenges Pinterest poses to you. What do you want to work on? What have you been avoiding? Which pins stand out to you? How can you grow as a person through this challenge?

Since the year is 2015, let’s see how fast we as a community can accomplish 2015 pins. I say “fast”, but the same rules apply.

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1) Challenge yourself to try new things. Only pins you have not done before count for this challenge.

2) Choose pins from a variety of genres in order to grow in different areas of your life.  My personal Pinterest page includes ideas for travel, recipes, workouts, crafts, education, books to read, decorating, refurbishing, new skills (sewing, knitting), cleaning, organization, etc.

3) Be creative! If you create your own pin, it counts as 3 points.

4) Don’t just do pins for the sake of doing pins. Choose pins that reach out to you for some reason. Seek out pins that work towards your personal goals or make you feel good. (For me that entails healthy eating, fixing up the house, and spending quality time with my children.)

5) Follow @StrollerSavvy on Instagram and add your completed project. I will update our running tally. Be sure to #strollersavvypinchallenge and any other relevant key words. Share the challenge with friends!

A few sidenotes:

1) I started my personal challenge in February and will be updating my progress soon. (Technical difficulties!)

2) I will be adding pins that I feature on this blog to the Stroller Savvy Pinterest board in order to make it easier for you to locate pins that interest you. Follow me there!

3) You can follow the challenge by:  Signing up to receive email updates, following me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter.

Happy Pinning!!!

Stroller Savvy I am

       Today is Theodor Seuss Geisel‘s Birthday. A beloved children’s author, celebrated by many, I thought we should join in on the fun. Having been sick all weekend, it was as basic and make-shift as could be. My childrens’ joy in this simple effort proved to me, yet again, that these gestures don’t have to be elaborate and can still be just as special.

       Last night, when I told my four-year-old that we were going to have a birthday party for Dr. Suess in the morning he got so excited. I explained that we were going to make green eggs for the celebration and since he loves to help, he asked how we were going to do that. After telling him we were going to use kale and spinach, a look of dismay came across his face. This angst was NOT because of the ingredients (we eat them all the time)-  rather it was because he couldn’t understand why we weren’t invited to the real party! (I didn’t have the heart to tell him that Dr. Suess passed away 24 years ago, or that even if he was living we most likely wouldn’t have been invited anyways.)

      There was a time when in order to make green eggs and ham I would have busted out the food coloring in order to dye them the correct hue. However, with our healthy eating lifestyle, I knew there had to be a better option. Thanks to one of my favorite blogs by Lisa Leake, I came across this easy nutritious recipe.  Fortunately we always have spinach or kale in our fridge and freezer (a daily staple in our smoothies). I didn’t have an onion so I subbed in garlic and omitted the butter. It was so incredibly simple- took no longer than it would have  to make our usual smoothie or scrambled eggs- and it was delicious!

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         As for the rest of the party, I quickly thawed out some frozen strawberries, sliced up a banana, and stacked them to make Dr. Suess hats. My son and I gathered some of our favorite Dr. Seuss books and together we read aloud as we ate our yummy, wholesome breakfast.

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          Never has a party been that simple and nutritious!

So in summary:                  

                                                           It’s Dr. Suess’s Birthday, so you say.                                                                                                              We weren’t invited, but had a party anyway!

                                                       We keep fresh produce in the house.                                                                We do not welcome any mouse.

                                                               We did not have any ham.                                                                          Certainly not Spam in a can.

                                                      So we made green eggs and party hats.                                                                                                          We read his books and laughed and laughed.

                                                          We read, we ate, we had fun.                                                                                                                                  A great healthy party for everyone.

                                                   We do so love green eggs and ham,                                                                                                                     Time to clean up- Stroller Savvy, I am 🙂

Even the most discerning firefighter loved it!

Even the most discerning firefighter loved it!

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The babies even joined in on the fun!