Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Waiting Game

Wait, wait, wait. I guess there's a reason they call it a waiting room. It seems I've spent way too much time waiting in doctor's offices lately, and now that it's flu season, an increased amount of children will be going to the doctor's for an increased amount of waiting! But try to look at the bright side: here you have some uninterrupted quality time with your child.

Before your child ever has a chance to get sick, head over to the Children's Museum in Easton's doctor's office to have a trial run of a doctor appointment to ease any fears. Take turns being the doctor and patient, let your child use the stethoscopes, scales, and splints, and talk about what the doctor is checking for during each part of the appointment.

When the day comes that you find yourself in the real doctor's office, here are a few simple games to keep your child/children entertained and learning. Most activities involve no preparation, since, if you're like me, who has time to think about anything else when you've got a sick kid?

Nurses are famous for handing out stickers: Use them wisely before sticking them on! My preschooler loves to take turns hiding the stickers around the office and finding them. Just make sure all the stickers are hidden in visible spots so your child doesn't need to touch any of the medical equipment. You can also line up your stickers (or even use cards from your wallet if you haven't received any stickers yet) on the examining table and take turns hiding a penny under one sticker and guessing which sticker it is under. "You're getting warmer/colder" makes it more fun.

Been sitting too long? See how many times your child can hop on one foot or clap her hands. Try a game of Simon Says and take turns being Simon. Older kids enjoy taking a wadded up piece of paper or tissue and playing finger hockey down the length of the examining table. Make a big deal of setting up the boundaries and making the rules to help your child stay engaged.

Use your surroundings: See if you can find all the letters of the alphabet or of your child's name on the posters hanging in the office. Study a magazine picture, then look away and take turns quizzing each other on the details of the picture. Compare things: How are those two chairs different/the same? How is this computer like our one at home? Are you as tall as that poster?

You probably unknowingly carry around a whole slew of entertaining devices in your bag.

  • Use a pen as a microphone and begin telling a story. Pass the microphone around and each person can add a part.

  • Experiment to see how many things in your bag can roll. Make a ramp out of a book and have a contest to see which can roll the fastest/farthest/straightest.

  • Have your child close his eyes and place an object from your purse in his hands. Can he guess what it is?

  • Lay out many items from your purse. Have your child close her eyes while you remove one item. Can she guess what you removed?

  • Closely examine the details on coins. Kids will be amazed with what they will notice. Try to get the coins to spin or roll, or play heads or tails with them.

  • Use items from your purse as stencils to draw around. Then have your child try to match the items with the outlines she drew.

  • Place a coin or key under a sheet of paper and use a pen or pencil to rub over it and see the impression magically appear.
If you do like to plan ahead, visit the Children's Museum gift shop for a small, inexpensive toy or idea book to keep stashed in your bag. I personally keep a tiny wind up train in my bag that only comes out during periods of waiting (appointments, restaurants, etc.) and it provides great entertainment. Or feel free to print out this list and keep it in your bag for those unexpected periods of waiting.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Trim the Holidays, but not the Fun!

Holidays are celebrations of beliefs often filled with traditions and time for good cheer. They bring lots of opportunity for happiness, yet may also bring cause for stress. Take time to plan some simple steps that may decrease the pressure and hopefully add to your holiday fun. Whatever your reasons for celebrating, remember them and look for the joy in each of the small, daily happenings.

When thinking of gifts, plan what you can afford to spend and stick to your budget. Impulse buying and over buying usually only add to the after holiday stress load – especially when the charge statements arrive. Consider focusing on memory makers – supplies for scrapbooks, family journals and gifts of time to assist others you care about.

If you do decide to buy a gift, think of something special. Spend time thinking of the recipient, where they are, what they enjoy, maybe what they truly need and try to match your gift to something that would be appreciated by them. Perhaps a coupon promising a weekly or monthly meal, shoveling or babysitting I.O.U’s can help you check off your “to do “list. Maybe making photo journals, personalized calendars which include a selection of cards ( birthday, get well, thank you and anniversary) or an embellished bulletin board or memory board embellished with stickers, paints and funky thumbtacks for the recipient will help you when deciding what gift to give.

Take time to consider your time. Can you give your time to someone who needs it? Do you need to say “yes” to every social event you are invited to? Plan time to be with those who you consider “family”, you can decide who you want to spend time with. Plan time to sit and relax with your family – reading stories, playing a game or taking in some sights of the season.

Bring the festive season into your house, but remember your budget when you decorate. Try your hand at making homemade decorations. Consider decorating an outgrown pair of ice skates or using a sled as backdrop to create a winter theme outside of your house. Save the kid’s artwork and showcase their work around your house to reflect the season. Create labeled storage boxes to store favorite, reusable decorations from year to year.

Plan meals and holiday foods ahead of time. Enlist help – ask your family to make specific dishes or which one they each want include to help you manage and breakdown the workload. Drink water throughout your day to keep you hydrated, healthy and to help curb opportunities to pick at holiday treats. There are lots of great web sites ( do we need to list any) that help you cut calories from traditional recipes. Keep cut fruits and vegetables on hand to munch on and serve them with every meal.

Plan time for yourself, including time to exercise or walk. Adding a few extra steps to your day and getting a good nights sleep will help you to feel recharged to enjoy whatever the day brings.

Warm wishes to you! Enjoy your holiday season and celebrations!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Have Your Own Winter Workshop!! Part III

Don't Miss the first two in this series: Winter Workshop Part 1 and Part 2

For the final Winter Workshop blog we will focus on creating home-made gifts. Not only is it fun for everyone but it is also a great way to save some money, yet give great home-made gifts that friends and family will be sure to love!

An easy and fun (not to mention tasty!) present to give is a mason jar filled with the ingredients for making cookies! Chocolate chip is the most popular cookie, but pick your favorite cookie- sugar, oatmeal raisin, or even gingerbread!

1. By having the kids measure out the ingredients and layer them, it will help them to learn about measuring and counting.

2. Once the ingredients are layered and the top secured tie the recipe to the top with fun ribbons, maybe cut it in a fun design using crazy-cut scissors!

3. Some other fun touches include attaching a cookie cutter, or creating your own label on a large sticker! Have fun and personalize your gift!

Need help finding a recipe? Check out this site, its full of great recipes for many, many differnt kinds of cookies!

Do you have any old baby jars hanging around?

1. Have kids paint the inside any color they like, just have the layer of paint be thin enough that you will be able to see through.

2. When its dry put in tea-lights; the candles will light up the jar so it will look like stained glass.

These lights look great in bunches, maybe on a mantel or a couple on the dinner table.

The most fun of all though can be creating gifts that you can eat! The old saying "one for you, one for me" may come into play here, especially with so many delicious treats!

1. In a fondue style using melted chocolate, dip marshmallows in. (or anything you want like pretzels)

2. Then cover them with other goodies like jimmies or crushed up peppermint sticks is a great treat!

And you will probably not be able to resist stealing one or two, just to make sure it tastes just right!

We hope you have enjoyed these Winter Workshop blogs and that it has given you some great ideas for this t ime of year. Remember be creative and have fun with the kids in your life! Happy Holidays!