Monday, April 25, 2011

Words From My Mother

With Mother's Day only two weeks away I decided to share some of my mother's words of encouragement to me.  My mother has always been an eloquent speaker and writer but this particular letter was to me for my graduation.  She took out an ad in the back of the yearbook with the following words:

     “When you were small I felt there was so much I wanted to teach you of what I had already learned.  I wanted to protect spare you much of the pain in this world but to open your eyes to all the wonders, all the experiences that would deepen and enrich your life.  But instead I became the taught me.

     My vision of the kind of mother I wanted to be and the kind of child I thought you should be was shattered, and out of the ashes was resurrected much more than even I could have imagined.  I began with metered rhyme and we ended with free verse.  I began with choreographed dance composition and you showed me an impromptu dance from the heart.  When the steps are not known one can dance to rhythms that the contrived and controlled may never hear or feel.  The dream I wanted dissolved, and now when I look back I see what I gave up was one dimensional and black and white.  If love were a color then everything was pale before the first hour that I looked upon your face but I had to give it all away in the end to what you believed to be real.  It was your dreams to be realized, not mine.

     I never spared you much of your pain but at times watched you fall, almost crumble, but then pick yourself up and put it all together again, with a smile and more than once.  You made it clear that I couldn't solve your problems but could be a light and a guide along the way.  We grow up in our own way and time.  There are no such things as perfect parents or a perfect child.  We are humans struggling to find meaning in our lives and through the struggle we become something a little more than human.  So spread your wings, the metamorphosis has begun.

     Fly to meet your own dreams.  Find new heights and sometimes new depths but always know there will be a resting place in my heart for you, my child.  Thank you for these things, that without you in my life I would never have learned.  I LOVE YOU!"

     These words have stuck with me for my entire life.  How many of us are trapped in a black and white world, always trying to do the "right" thing rather than what is right for us?  How many people end their lives in their darkest hour, never knowing they can build themselves and their lives back up?  Most importantly, how many have a mother who loves and accepts them enough to let them find their own happiness, dance to their own music, and live a life of brilliant colors?

What's the most valuable piece of advice your mother ever gave you?

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Six Organizational Tips For Parents

1.      Make a list.  Break each task on the list into smaller tasks so they’re easier to accomplish.  This way it doesn’t seem overwhelming and you’ll be crossing things off your list quickly.

2.      Use a color coded master calendar.  The colors will help everyone keep track of which activity belongs to which family member.

3.      Make a bag of things to do for when you’re waiting.  That way while your child is at a lesson or practice and you’re waiting you can get a few things done while you wait.

4.      Coordinate appointments and schedules.  Make all dentist appointments at the same time in the same location and get them all done at once instead of running to several different appointments at different places and dates.

5.      Find the areas where you waste time frequently.  Do you spend a lot of time looking for your keys in the morning?  Make sure you make it a point to put your keys in the same place every night until it becomes a habit.  10 minutes a day equals 2 and a half days per year you could spend doing something else

6.      Have a basket or spot for each child to put the finish school papers, permission slips, communications from school that you need to look at. Be sure to put it in a spot that they can reach. Make this part of their coming home routine.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Insect Thumbprints

Insect Thumb Prints
This is a cute, easy craft that kids can do on their own after a little instruction. 
First, make a background (this is optional).  Sometimes I paint some flowers or use construction paper to make a meadow scene.  You can also leave the paper blank and use the bug prints for wrapping paper.
Second, using stamping ink, put the child’s finger prints all over the paper.
Third, using colored pens, turn the prints into bugs. 
For older kids you can take this opportunity to teach them about the different body parts of insects.  For example, the ant’s body consists of the head, thorax, and abdomen as well as antenna and six legs.  Once you’re done with instructions, let them use their imagination to create their own bugs. 

I've also turned this into wrapping paper for a cute homemade look for a gift.

 Photography courtesy of DML designs
What are the names of some of the bugs your children created?

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Trench Coats

Pack away those winter jackets!  Spring is here and with it the arrival of some lovely trenchcoats.  Trench coats are timeless as well as functional so they're worth spending a little more money on as they will be in your wardrobe for a long time.  They are perfect for keeping you dry and comfortable on rainy or windy days all while looking stylish!  I love these coats because they can be casual or dressy depending on what you pair them with.  There are so many to choose from but I picked some of my favorites below.

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