Category Archives: Kids driving me crazy
Edit: How embarrassing! I’m not sure how this happened, but for some reason I forgot to actually ADD THE DOWNLOAD. Sheesh. Then of course, I neglect my blog for a week… :/ It’s updated now, thanks for letting me know, ladies!!
Get this free LDS Printable by clicking on the image above!
This past couple of weeks have been quite challenging for me in Mommy-land. Too much screaming, too little cleaning, and a far too blurry line between sane and not. I love my kids, in all their sticky-faced, rumpled clothes, sibling rivaled glory, but some days it is just exhausting. With all my faults and failures, it feels impossible that I could be doing much for the good of my children.
In one of my mental rants against the pitfalls of raising children, I sat alone in front of the computer far too late at night. I was steeping in full Pity Party mode, and didn’t know how to shake it. Finally, I decided (was inspired?) to read some talks from the general authorities of the church on motherhood. There are lots of beautiful ones, but that night a particular one called, “Because She Is a Mother” lightened my heart.
The words, spoken by Jeffrey R. Holland, were soft and comforting, and all too true. He begins with a story from Victor Hugo; two soldiers witnessing a mother break a meager loaf of bread and handing it all to her two children. One soldier surmises that she isn’t hungry, but the other knows the role of motherhood well: No, it is because she is a mother.
I can’t but help wonder what the mother herself thought in this situation: surely she handed the morsels of bread to her children, full of self-deprecation, feeling at fault for providing them with so little. She is hungry herself, yes, but she will sacrifice and she will cry alone, wishing that she could do more, wishing she could be more. Motherhood requires giving and sacrificing, and still feeling like an utter failure against the unending demands of little children. Still, we give it all, and cry alone at night, wondering if we are enough, praying that tomorrow we will be all that they require.
Elder Holland patiently reminds us,
Mothers, it is worth it then, now, and forever.
Do the best you can through these years, but whatever else you do, cherish that role that is so uniquely yours and for which heaven itself sends angels to watch over you and your little ones.
It’s a hard and selfish work where giving our all rarely feels complete. These words reminded me of the eternal nature of our rewards, so I created a little printable to hang in my home (or perhaps I’ll shrink it down so I can stick it in my scriptures?). Click the image above to download all 5 versions of the quote. Just be sure to print the page number you like best to get your favorite colorway. :)
In Mom life, there is little more of value than an extra ten minutes of sleep. Today I have for you my top 10+ apps for kids–so you can get 10 more minutes of sleep. Hand your kid your tablet or phone in the morning and hit the snooze button, Slacker Mom!
Prerequisites: easy to play so your child needs little to no help navigating the app. I’ve focused on toddler and preschool apps today, but leave a note if you’d love to see apps for the older kids! The following apps are in no particular order. All apps except as noted have free trials too!
Note: I don’t have an iPad or iPhone, and I don’t have an unlimited app budget. I have a huge app wishlist but I simply can’t buy them all today! I’ve listed apps I have tried and love for Android. They are available for iOS as well, but I haven’t used them personally. Please leave a comment if you have an app that works for your kiddos!
Kid Mode by Zoodles – this is the first app I download on any device! It locks your phone with a customized screen. Your child taps on their picture and is launched into a play zone. Zoodles browses the best of Web videos and brings age-appropriate content to your child. Depending on your device, you can also let your child send and receive video mail safely, add apps like those below, and even record personalized stories with the subscription. Available on: Amazon, Google Play, App Store, and your home computer.
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox and Monkey Math – a fantastic choice for preschoolers, this app initially frustrated my younger toddler. However, this app is so engaging, she returned to it over and over. Eventually, she actually began learning her colors and other basic skills to be able to play it with no problems! My four year old loves these apps too, and I love the menu-less interface. Monkey Math is a bit harder for my two year old (working on not hitting the tablet in frustration!), but with the positive reinforcement I predict she’ll be a numbers whiz is no time. Amazon, Google Play, App Store.
Dr. Panda Restaurant and Dr. Panda Hospital – I admit, I have put off upgrading these apps to their full versions (though my kids beg for it!) because, well, it’s not super educational! In these apps they role play a doctor or a chef in charge of either seating patients, assessing and caring for their symptoms, or seating their patrons, taking their orders, preparing their food and serving them. There’s little creativity required of them, but for an app to keep the quiet for those golden ten minutes? A pure winner for sure. Amazon, Google Play, App Store
My PlayHome – this is another role playing app, but maybe just because I’m a girl, even I find myself tinkering along with them on this one! The app is essentially a dollhouse (with a Caucasian family on the Lite version). In the living room, you can open the windows, turn lights on and off, turn on the ‘TV’ or perhaps start a CD in the stereo. In the kitchen you can ‘feed’ your little family, do a load of laundry, or boil some water for a hot cup of tea. I don’t see my girls playing with it like our real dollhouse, but it does entertain them for quite awhile! Amazon, Google Play, App Store.
Drawing Pad – hands down, my favorite coloring app on Android. I’m in love with the textures of different mediums like crayon and marker. It’s so realistic, in fact, I learned the hard way that not coloring on the tablet with REAL crayons is an important conversation to have with your toddler. For coloring book apps, I’ve got the Color & Draw HD app high on my wishlist! Drawing Pad: Amazon, Google Play, App Store. Color & Draw HD: Amazon, Google Play, App Store.
Intellijoy apps – the puzzle app alone has occupied my toddler for cumulative hours om end. The connect the dots app (toggle between ABC’s or 123’s and more!) encourages alphabetic order awareness. And holy smokes, Android users need to check out their Learn to Read app! Amazon, Google Play, App Store.
The Cat in the Hat by Oceanhouse Media – This app takes real books (think Dr. Suess and Berenstein Bears) and has turned them into multimedia presentations. Your child can select Read It Myself, Read To Me, and Auto Play. Auto Play is my favorite for my toddler as it performs like a mini movie for her. In Read To Me, the words are highlighted as the book is read aloud. (Looks like some nifty new features for iOS, too!) Amazon, Google Play, App Store, and more!
Spinlight Apps – it’s not easy to find apps as beautiful and educational as Spinlight turns out. I love these apps. I’m so excited they brought their content to Android. From AlphaTots for toddlers to Operation Math for the older kids, these apps are brilliant, simple, and fun! (Homeschoolers, don’t miss TableTots!) I wish Spinlight offered a trial version of their apps so you’ll have to take my word on this one! Amazon, Google Play, App Store.
Starfall Learn to Read – if you have a preschooler, you likely know and love Starfall.com. Starfall has been bringining their awesome content to iOS for awhile now but has more recently began to focus on Android as well. My only complaint is that not all the iOS Starfall apps are on Android (yet!) but my four year old is thrilled to have her favorite characters on my tablet too. Amazon, Google Play, App Store
Super Why – Finally! PBS Kids is finally bringing content over to Android! So far Super Why and Play at Home With Daniel are the only released on Android, but they’re pretty great. My kids don’t know Daniel, but we are huge fans of Super Why at our house. Note, there aren’t any trial versions of these apps. Amazon, Google Play, App Store. Edit: since writing this, several more apps have been released on both Google Play and Amazon!
Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate, and when you purchase through the Amazon links above I get a very small portion of the proceeds.
Any must have apps that need to be on this list? Leave the app name, as well as your operating system below! (iOS, Android, Kindle, or other.)
Sometimes, a mom needs a few tools in her arsenal. These toys may include a hidden stash of candy to halt a breakdown when you need to leave the house, or the silliest song to break up the monotony of a long drive. It could be the CD that lulls your kid to sleep every time, or perhaps its the nightlight they won’t sleep with, no matter where you go. Today, I want to talk about a tool that’s a great kid motivator: the timer!
10 Ways to Use a Timer With Kids:
1. Exercise Time! Set the timer for one or two minutes and see how many times they can run laps around your house, do a set of jumping jacks, or hop on foot. Do it right along with them and call it your exercise for the day, too!
2. Play With Mommy Time. Use the timer to set clear expectations. Dreading another round of Barbies or trucks, but feel guilty for putting your tot off constantly? Set a timer and let them know exactly how many minutes until Mommy is going back to her important stuff. (Facebook, anyone?) This will keep you from wandering off after 3.4 seconds into the ‘game.’
3. Break down chores. Use the timer to break down a large task into manageable pieces. If your kids’ friends left the playroom trashed on the last play date, don’t demand your child clean it all right this second. Tell them they just need to clean for ____ minutes, then you’ll jump in and help with the rest.
4. Race It! Set a timer and see how much cleaning you can do before the buzzer rings! Your kids will be amazed at how much they are able to do while racing against the clock.
5. Time out. What would time out be without a timer? A rule of thumb is to put your child in time out for one minute for year they are old. My two year old is in time out for two minutes, my four year old gets four minutes but I add a minute every time she screams while in her room.
6. Beep to Go! If you know your three year old will freak when its time to be torn from the beloved TV, let him know you’re setting a timer until its time to get ready. When the timer beeps, the TV goes off (or the toy dinosaurs get put away), and its time to go! (To get your kid to school on time with a timer, check out this post!)
7. Time for a Snack. If your child is the kind that won’t stop asking for munchies, set a timer during snack time to let them know when the next snack or meal will be.
8. Time to Go Potty! Potty training and timers can be a mom’s best friend. When you have other things to juggle (babies, older kids, pets, making dinner, etc.), it can be hard to remember when it’s time to take your toddler to the potty. Little tots are still learning to depend on their own body signals, so set a timer and stick to it. If your toddler doesn’t ‘go?’ Add another five minutes and try again.
9. Time for… Quiet Time! Is it just me, or does quiet time in my house equate to me closing my eyes for five minutes and my children doing something destructive? Start the timer and load them up with books. Older children should be able to start out at about ten minutes of quiet time and go up as they get used to the concept, and younger children can start anywhere from 2-5 minutes. A two minutes break doesn’t seem helpful to you, but you can gradually increase it. Just make sure your child is safe from hazards and markers! This is one we are just starting to work on at my house. :/
10. Time to Leave Mom Alone. :) Okay, seriously. Sometimes we don’t need to separate everyone and tell them to be quiet, we just want the kids to play nicely somewhere else for a few minutes. Keep your door open and let them know you’re listening (Mom is always listening!!), but ask them not to come back until the timer rings. Use your judgement on setting the timer. If your kids play well together, you may get a good twenty to thirty minutes alone, especially if the TV is on! If your kids are younger or are prone to bickering, you can make a quick phone call or check your email. With this one, I like to ‘reward’ (aka bribe) my kids. If they leave me alone, they get a treat, or some fun Play with Mom time!
How do you use a timer in your home?
WANTED: ONE MOM FOR TEMPORARY HIRE
Our fast paced company (The Family, Inc.) is currently looking to fill a temporary position for one Mom. Current Mom is seeking a Mental Health Break and would like to train temp worker prior to taking Leave. Job responsibilities include the emotional, spiritual, educational, and physical growth of current associates.
Successful applicant will be:
Trained in math and spelling up to seventh grade level, with history of working with teachers and other school support. Exp. in making doctor’s appointments and finding babysitter’s especially helpful.
Skilled in making dinner, though willing to train. Dinner must be filling, thrifty, and somewhat nutritious. Getting certain members of the the company to eat vegetables would be a plus.
Daily janitorial duties are required. Junior associates will disrupt applicant during cleaning process, so applicant should be able to multitask well. Associates will also make messes in the area previously cleaned, so patience is required.
Must have good eyesight for finding the Lego’s and misc. thumb tacks hiding in carpet. Applicant should not have a strong sense of smell, as she will need to wipe the rears of junior associates. Applicant will also need to have quick fingers to fill a sippy cup before junior associate cries, a strong voice for reading the same story over and over; physically fit is preferred but not necessary, though ability to chase after associates and company animal desired.
Must be available 24/7. Ability to sleep less than six hours a night would be a plus, as junior associate wakes several times for the potty. Drivers license required. Position unpaid, though highly rewarding.
As current mom is feeling overwhelmed and underqualified for the position, possibility to turn into long-term employment possible!
The Internet guy should be here sometime today between 9 am and 6 pm to repair my Internet. Fortunately, I have no car, so waiting on the repairman isn’t a big issue. Unfortunately, I still have no car.
My mom surprised the kids and I with a fun trip yesterday to our local amusement park, Lagoon. Getting out of the house was a huge help to my sanity. Only my oldest, Jordan, had been before, so everyone had a great day.
Now we’re back home, waiting for someone to repair our Internet and consequently, our TV service (Netflix). Today we’ll clean the house. Watch Disney Pixar movies. And pray that the Internet man will come ASAP. As nice as my mom was to loan me her iPad, which I’m affectionately calling “Serenity Now,” I miss my computer and the mindless hours I spend surfing the web.
Serenity now. Serenity now. Serenity now!
Serenity now… Insanity later.