Saturday, October 02, 2010

My Free Range Mom Moment

Lately I've been enjoying the blog, Free Range Kids. The basic premise of her blog is that we hover (helicopter parent) over our children and they don't get to experience life as we did. Kids need to be free to experience a few bumps and scrapes. They need to get dirty and entertain themselves.

So, last night I had a "Free Range Kid Moment". Jim was planning on taking the boys to a family friend's house for a camp fire. Evan asked if he could ride his bike. The friend lives about a mile away. 90% of that mile is a medium busy street (though partway down it does have a sidewalk). For a brief second I was about to say no. Then my Free Range Parenting skills kicked in and I said he could do it. He is ten. When I was ten I rode all over town on my bike with no helmet and the only expectation was that I'd be home when the street lights came on! So, with his helmet on, I sent him on his way. I also told him that he had to call me when he got there, to which Jim asked, "should we send the cell with him?" I told Jim that Evan wouldn't need the cell. He could use the house phone at the friend's house just like we did! :)

I encourage you to read the blog Free Range Kids and think about how you can loosen the apron strings a little and let your kids have some freedom today!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Computer time for kids

All summer I've been chasing my kids off the TV and off the computer. It drives me nuts. I devised a simple way to keep track of how much time each child spends online and which kid has had his online time!

I gave each child a post-it note with his name on it. I also wrote how much time each child has on this post-it. Evan (9) gets 30 mins/day. Aidan (6) gets 25, Toby (5) has 20 and Avery (3) has 15. These post-its are stuck to one side of the monitor. I also have a timer sitting on the computer desk. When the child has his time he moves his tag to the other side of the monitor and sets the timer.

No, there are no roll-over minutes. This ain't AT&T!

Also, if the child forgets to start the timer he gets booted off as soon as Mom figures it out. And if they go over their time? They lose it all the next day.

Yup. I'm so mean.

So far it's worked great!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Just a couple quick bullet points.

1. I am so thankful for Vacation Bible School! The boys are all old enough to go this year, so for several weeks this summer they will be, in no particular order, Evangelical Free, Baptist and Presbyterian. I think Avery will also be old enough to be Presbyterian, but don't quote me on that. I just love the break in the routine, the lessons and songs the kids learn and the Truth that they are being taught.

2. I just got back from my pre-screening appointment at Mayo to determine if I'm a good candidate for a research study in the endocrine department. Turns out I am, so I'm now up for four overnight visits over the next four months. It's a paying gig, so we're not complaning.

3. Evan and I are taking a little vacation starting on Saturday! We're traveling to Florida to visit my sister/brother-in-law and Mickey Mouse. :) So exciting!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Time for my monthly posting!

A bunch of women from our MOPS group got together the other night to celebrate the end of another ministry year. The conversation ranged from the state of various organizations to laundry. One of the things that women with pre-schoolers eventually have to deal with is how to school their kids. In my circle of friends it seems to be quite a difficult decision. Some of course see the sticker shock of private school and opt for public school. Some see the state of the public schools and opt for homeschooling. Some think they could never do homeschooling so opt to sacrifice in other ways to send their kids to private school. The circle continues on and on. So many women struggle with this decision that I am very thankful that my decision is made based on my husband's job at the best Christian school in town!!

When the conversation turns to the struggle of how to educate these little people, I always remember a conversation Evan and I had the summer after his kindergarten year. He came to me one day and asked if I could homeschool him for first grade. When I asked him why he wanted to be homeschooled he answered, "because I don't want a mean and bossy teacher!" My next question? "Are you new? If I homeschooled you you would definitely have a mean and bossy teacher!"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Works For Me Wednesday! I'm back!!!

I'm coming out from my blogging rock to bring you an idea that has worked for our family this week. I have four kids. Naturally that produces a lot of laundry! I would let the laundry mound up, take a day (or two or three) and DO LAUNDRY. I would wash and dry and fold and wash and dry and fold and wash and dry and fold until I thought my machines would go on strike and the mounds of now clean laundry took over my house until I would get up the gumption to put them away. Sound familiar???

So, one night while awake instead of asleep I developed a plan. I know some larger families sort their laundry not by color but by person. I have a triple laundry sorter and many laundry baskets. I figured that if I did each person's laundry one day a week and towels on one day I would be doing laundry every day. Not so much fun. :) So, I doubled them up! Now my laundry schedule looks like this:

Monday: Dad and Avery
Tuesday: Mom and Toby
Wednesday: Evan and Aidan
Thursday: Towels, sheets, etc

Notice a couple of things. I have big clothes mixed with small clothes thus making for easy sorting once the things are done. I've split up Aidan and Toby who are just one size apart thus eliminating the "he has my shirt" "well it was in my drawer" mistakes. An added bonus that Jim appreciates is that since I'm only doing two people's laundry I have room and time to sort like into like as I fold thus saving him the step of sorting out his shirts, pants as he puts them away (this sentence isn't making much sense, but oh well, if you want to know more ask). And the most impressive part of all? I don't do laundry on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. :) Woo ho! So far this has worked very well for our family!

(Linked in with Works for me Wednesday here!)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Where I announce a winner!

Thanks so much for all the great ideas and resources for my political fundraiser lunch! I think I was supposed to announce a winner to the contest sometime last Monday. I have a good excuse. Norovirus. That's all I'm going to say about that. Except that I'm really glad I only have four children and not nineteen or something. :)

So, I went to which chose lucky number four! Mom2Fur is the lucky winner! I've contacted her via her blog and hope to hear from her soon. If for some reason she is unable to fulfill her role as winner I'll pick someone new. :)

Thanks for playing!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday and GIVEAWAY!

I have been involved in MOPS for over nine years. Yesterday our main speaker spoke on the importance of having girlfriends you can go to when you need to ask for help. Well, this morning I need help (and not just because I was up last night literally every 10-30 minutes with a newly three-year-old Avery with the stomach bug).

I'm linking to an earlier this week blog post in hopes that you can help me. See, Jim's invited a congressional candidate to host a fundraiser luncheon at our house!

You can read all about it *here*. Please comment either here or there with any fancy luncheon recipes you may have to be entered into a drawing for a fun kitchen gift!


(And of course you can always click on over *here* to look for more ideas for what Works for others!)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hospitality, Review Preview and Giveaway!

Recently Jim has gotten Evan interested in politics. They've been to caucuses, attended breakfasts to meet candidates (Aidan went, too) and most recently Jim volunteered our home to host a fundraiser luncheon for someone running for congress! Needless to say this has gotten me a little stressed about the menu! It has also gotten me thinking about different types of hospitality styles and recipes. I know some women have big fancy houses where they can cook gourmet meals and serve fancy drinks from their home bars. That is not me. We have a modest home where I cook home style meals and serve drinks in glasses that do not match. :)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've been invited to host a review on my blog. The review could not come at a better time! I will be testing these and these. And here is where you come in!

I need some new recipe ideas; ideas suitable to serve to a future congressman at a fundraiser luncheon.

Leave me a comment with your favorite fancy, yet simple recipe and I'll randomly draw a name and send you a fun kitchen gift!

Edited to note: I will be putting together a kitchen gift package for you; it will not be coming from the above mentioned store! I will select a commenter at random on March 1. Let's get cooking!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Coming soon!

Fun stuff to come soon! Let's just say I've been contacted by an online store to do a product review...and possibly a giveaway! :)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Texting While Driving-Anything

Coming out of hiding (much like the groundhog!) to bring you a public service announcement about kids and cell phones. While this isn't a rampant problem right now here in the nation's icebox, it will be once we all thaw out!

A fellow MommyBlogger, FiddleDeeDee wrote this this morning. I'm copying it here with her permission. Please go to her blog *here* to read more of her writing!

I had a scare a couple of weeks ago. I was driving my van down my street, and as I came around a small curve, a young girl of about 10 was riding her bike straight towards me. I stopped, thinking that she would look up and get herself back up on the sidewalk. But she never looked up. Her eyes were cast down, and she was texting on her cell phone.

When I realized that she was going to run right into the front of my van, I honked my horn. The sound startled her enough so that she looked up just in time, and she swerved around me. And no, she was not wearing a helmet.

Had she hit me, even though I had stopped, she would have suffered a good deal of injury. Had she been heading toward someone who may have been distracted, or driving at a faster rate of speed, she could have been killed.

I couldn’t shake that thought. We have a number of residents who drive far faster than they should on our street, given that it is a very narrow street, and is shared by bicycles and children.

I knew where this little girl lived, but I did not know her parents. I debated going to her house and speaking with her parents. If it were my daughter, I would want to know. But, you just never know how something like that is going to be received.

A few days later, the little girl was playing outside at a neighbor’s house, a few houses down from us. I walked down and introduced myself to her. She knew immediately who I was, and that I was the lady in the van. I asked if I could speak to her, and she said yes. And I held her hand and talked to her about how dangerous the situation was that she placed herself in. I knew that the experience had impacted her, by the look of fear on her face when I honked my horn. She was very polite and remorseful, and I felt like I had gotten through to her. A few feet away, some of her little friends overheard our conversation, and I directed a brief “please don’t text while riding your bikes” speech. In my nicest mom voice. Which by the way, is not the voice that I would have used if I were giving the same speech to my own children.

I went back home feeling that I had done some good.

But then a few days ago, when I was leaving the house to go out, I saw another little 10 year old girl riding her bike down the street. This was one of the children that had overheard my texting speech. She was chatting on her cell phone, driving in the middle of the road, then up on the sidewalk, then back to the middle of the road. And then she stopped talking, looked down at her phone, and began texting.

I am a loud proponent of banning texting and even cell phone usage while driving an automobile. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think it would be an issue with children riding their bikes.

This is not going to be a judgment against parents that allow their children to carry cell phones. I know there are circumstances that call for it, I get that. But I wonder if these parents understand the danger that their children are putting themselves into by allowing them to carry cell phones while they are out riding their bikes.

I now regret my decision not to go down and speak to the first little girl’s parents. I’m going to give the moms and dads the benefit of the doubt, and believe that they have no idea their children are putting themselves in harms way.

But you can bet that I’m going to be taking to my keyboard to get the word out. Here, and in my neighborhood.

Have you seen anything similar in your neighborhood? I fear that I won’t hear anything in the media, until something tragic occurs.

Please. If your children carry cell phones, talk to them about the dangers of texting and driving.