Saturday, June 30, 2012

Book Review - Bossypants

June Book

by Tina Fey
kindle version

It was funny. An interesting light easy read. 

Worth picking up. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cutting down the lilacs

Otherwise known as "Forcing the Lilacs."

Our lilacs have grown very tall and unruly. Some of the branches broke in a recent storm and were slaunched over. They needed help. And for the past several years, I've wanted to cut them to the ground to "force them to grow out instead of up" per the Scott County Extention Office and Rainbow Tree Care.

For those who don't know, the Extension Office provides scads of information about agriculture, gardening, and 4H. They are the "go to" people for anything related to gardening and landscaping and probably more.

Our local Master Gardener told me to cut them down to about 3 feet instead of all the way to the ground. This will force the lilacs to grow out, which is what we want. More of a wall of lilacs instead of super tall trees.

After my battle starting the chainsaw/weed trimmer, our neighbor Sam came over and did all the cutting  while Jeremy, the kids & I piled the brush.

PS. Jeremy was at work when this chore started. That's why he didn't start the chainsaw for me.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Car Seat Safety

I like making sure our kids are safe. I want them to be protected and secure. So, I feel like I'm a little fanatical about the car seats.

Car Seat Laws

Car Seat Expiration Dates: Car seats do expire. Sometimes it seems weird to me, but the extreme weather variations from hot to cold can compromise the plastic.

Car Seat Installation Stations: I'm pretty sure any fire department, police department, and hospital has certified car seat installers. Call first, but I've been really impressed with our installers.

Car Seat Safety Ratings

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Livy is swimming!

We signed Livy up for Community Ed swimming lessons this summer. Jeremy is getting in the water with her, and an added bonus is that our neighbors are doing lessons with their boys, too.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

First Time Fishing

Our neighbor Sam fishes, so he invited us along this afternoon. We all walked over to Lakefront Park--Little Prior Lake--to catch some baby Bluegills. It didn't take too long to get through the wax worms, but the kids LOVED it! 

Ivy (4-1/2), Sonny (2-1/2), Jamey (3), and Livy (10 mo)

Walking to the park

Looking for the "good spot"

The long walk tired her out

Scout (11 mo)

The Dads and the Kids

So, here is where the Big Ones are

Jeremy, Sam, & Nikki

Let's get fishing!

Jamey caught the first one

Sonny's turn

Ivy got one, too

Ivy did not want to touch the fish

The monster of the day

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Awhile ago, I posted about pools.

Prior Lake has a couple nice beaches (Sandpoint, Watzl's, and Cleary Lake) that we'll be heading to a bunch this summer. In fact, I've scheduled a Swimming Day once a week all summer.

I might even get brave enough to bike over to Watzl's and Cleary Lake.

If anyone wants to join us for a fun day at the beach, it looks like Thursday is the day!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A moment of mothering genius

We woke up crabby today. Everyone.

After the fifth fight about whose turn it was to watch nursery rhyme videos on YouTube, I had a moment of mothering genius.

I sat everyone down on the couch and had this conversation.

There's too much fighting today; we're going to start over. On the count of three, we're all going to pretend we're sleeping.

1, 2, 3. Go to sleep. If you don't pretend you're sleeping, you really have to go take a nap. 

Cock-a-doodle-doo! Time to wake up! Big stretches!!

How did you sleep? What did you dream about? Insert long conversation about the Cannon Lady and Juggling Dad at the circus. 

What should we do today? They decided to draw outside with chalk, color, and paint.

This do-over has worked! They're upstairs playing nicely. It's like a whole new day.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Peaceful Parenting

This is another article I saw posted somewhere. I LOVE it!

The Way

The Way is only learned by walking it. Here are the steps I recommend:
  • Greet your child each morning with a smile, a hug, a loving Good Morning! This is how we would all like to be greeted each day.
  • Teach your child to make her own breakfast. This starts for most children at around the age of 3 or 4. Teach them progressively to brush their teeth, bathe themselves, clean up their rooms, put away clothes, wash their dishes, make lunch, wash their own clothes, sweep and clean, etc.
  • Teaching these skills takes patience. Kids suck at them at first, so you have to show them about a hundred times, but let them try it, correct them, and let them make mistakes. They will gradually learn independence as you will gradually have less work to do caring for them.
  • Older children can help younger children — it’s good for them to learn responsibility, it helps the younger children learn from the older ones, and it takes some of the stress off you.
  • Read to them often. It’s a wonderful way to bond, to educate, to explore imaginary worlds.
  • Build forts with them. Play hide and seek. Shoot each other with Nerf dart guns. Have tea together. Squeeze lemons and make lemonade. Play, often, as play is the essence of childhood. Don’t try to force them to stop playing.
  • When your child asks for your attention, grant it.
  • Parents need alone time, though. Set certain traditions so that you’ll have time to work on your own, or have mommy and daddy time in the evening, when your child can do things on her own.
  • When your child is upset, put yourself in his shoes. Don’t just judge the behavior (yes, crying and screaming isn’t ideal), but the needs behind the behavior. Does he need a hug, or attention, or maybe he’s just tired?
  • Model the behavior you want your child to learn. Don’t yell at the child because he was screaming. Don’t get angry at a child for losing his temper. Don’t get mad at a kid who wants to play video games all the time if you’re always on your laptop. Be calm, smile, be kind, go outdoors and be active.
  • When a stressful time arises (and it will), learn to deal with it with a smile. Make a joke, turn it into a game, laugh … you’ll teach your child not to take things so seriously, and that life is to be enjoyed. Breathe, walk away if you’ve lost your temper, and come back when you can smile.
  • Remember that your child is a gift. She won’t be a child for long, and so your time with her is fleeting. Every moment you can spend with her is a miracle, and you should savor it. Enjoy it to the fullest, and be grateful for that moment.
  • Let your child share your interests. Bake cookies together. Sew together. Exercise together. Read together. Work on a website together. Write a blog together.
  • Know that when you screw up as a parent, everything will be fine. Forgive yourself. Apologize. Learn from that screw up. In other words, model the behavior you’d like your child to learn whenever he screws up.
  • Patiently teach your child the boundaries of behavior. There should be boundaries — what’s acceptable and what’s not. It’s not OK to do things that might harm yourself or others. We should treat each other with kindness and respect. Those aren’t things the child learns immediately, so have patience, but set the boundaries. Within those boundaries, allow lots of freedom.
  • Give your child some space. Parents too often overschedule their child’s life, with classes and sports and play dates and music and clubs and the like, but it’s a constant source of stress for both child and parent to keep this schedule going. Let the child go outside and play. Free time is necessary. You don’t always have to be by her side either — she needs alone time just as much as you do.
  • Exercise to cope with stress. A run in solitude is a lovely thing. Get a massage now and then.
  • It helps tremendously to be a parenting team — one parent can take over when the other gets stressed. When one parent starts to lose his temper, the other should be a calming force.
  • Mom and dad need a date night every week or so. Get a babysitter, or better yet, teach the older kids to babysit.
  • Sing and dance together.
  • Take every opportunity to teach kindness and love. It’s the best lesson.
  • Kiss your child goodnight. And give thanks for another amazing day with your beautiful, unique, crazy child.