14 Birthdays

14 Years - the birthday boy

Anyone feel like you're living in the movie The Day After Tomorrow? Last night my brother sent me a picture of his car.  It had ice hanging off his rear-view mirror.  No big deal, except he lives in Florida.  This morning I looked through pictures of my nephew playing in the snow with his dinosaurs, in Georgia.  It's crazy I tell ya. I think we should blame it on El Niño. That seemed to be the cause of every weather event throughout my childhood. If it rained, El Niño.  Snow?  El Niño.  Ice was definitely El Niño baby.  Eggs burned?  El Niño.  Car broke down?  That blasted El … [Read more...]

Encouraging Young Readers

6 Ways to Encourage Young Readers, Part 2 of Raising Readers

This is Part 2 of Raising Readers.  If you haven't read Part 1, go on over and then come right back. Kids are amazing.  They can learn and comprehend so much more than we give them credit for.  Building good habits young will benefit them throughout their entire lives.  One of the habits I've tried to develope in my children is reading, because reading is the foundation of all education. Here are a few tips to encourage your readers.   Reading is Not Homework Although your child's teacher may say to read for twenty minutes  a day, don't make it homework.  It's fun, it's a … [Read more...]

Raising Readers

How to Raise Readers, because reading is the basis of all education

I love to read and I wanted to raise my children to be readers. My husband isn't a big reader.  He always opts to watch the movie, but the movie is never as good as the book.  Ever.  Reading doesn't come naturally to him, so he reserves it for the Bible.  I honestly don't think he read enough as a child.  Now it's a chore instead of a pleasure. So many of our habits begin in childhood.  It's never too early to start teaching our children good habits. My son argued with me all the way through kindergarten and first grade.  He didn't like to read and he certainly didn't want to waste … [Read more...]

Best of Family – 2013

Best of Family - 2013

When I look back over 2013, I am surprised by the sheer quantity of posts.  Seems like my husband is right.  I do have a lot of words! It's always fun for me to look back through the posts I wrote, especially the ones about my family.  That's what I absolutely love about blogging - I'm recording memories, not only for me, but also for my family and I think that's super-cool. If it's fun for me to look back over a year now, what will it be like ten or twenty years from now? 500 Miles with A Kid and A Kazoo - This just proves that your sins (or your parenting trickiness) will find … [Read more...]

Worst Mother-of-the-Year Award is in The Bag

bank vault

She's in an antique bank vault and it has nothing to do with today's story.  Of course it doesn't.   I've got this award girls, so quit trying. I am well on my way to winning the Worst Mother-of-the-Year Award. I think it's December.  I seem to have troubles in this month.  Perhaps there's just too much on my mind.  Last December I frantically jumped out of bed, ran downstairs, burst into my son's room and dragged his poor sleeping self out of bed.  He was late.  We were all late.  The alarm clock failed us.  I failed us.  Dang mornings! Then I realized it was only 4:14 am.  … [Read more...]

I Already Screwed-Up The Sixth Grade

sixth grade orientation

I already screwed up sixth grade and we've only had orientation. It wasn't quite as bad of a mess-up as the time I chicken danced my way into the slow cooker after a school performance that my kid wasn't in.  No, that was worse, but probably only because I made my husband sit through two-thirds of the program, all the while looking for our little girl who happened to be in the wrong grade. I was so absolutely certain orientation began at 6:30 p.m.  I even agreed to bring along another kid who didn't have anyone to take him. When five o'clock rolled around, I kicked everyone out of the … [Read more...]

Book Review: Minimalist Parenting

Book Review: Minimalist Parenting .... Are you an overwhelmed parent? This book may be for you. Read the full review.

This Minimalist Parenting book review is Part 2. Read Part 1 HERE. Minimalist Parenting In Part 1 of this two part series, I painted a picture of the pressures put on both moms and dads.  I've felt it myself in varying degrees throughout the thirteen years I've been a mom. Often there's the nagging feeling that I'm not doing enough, or maybe I'm just not doing "the right" things, whatever the experts or well meaning friends may think is right at the time. Minimalist parenting operates on the knowledge that right now, you have everything you need to live the family life you want.  … [Read more...]

Minimalist Parenting: Is The Pressure too Much?

Are you an Overwhelmed Parent? Read this two part series on Minimalist Parenting.

This is Part 1 in a two part series on Minimalist Parenting.   Don't you think there's a lot of pressure on parents today?   I mean, for goodness sake... Read to your children. Sing to your unborn children. Prepare healthy, nutritious, range free, sustainable, renewable, organic, local meals. Organize your home. Let the dishes go, because for goodness sake your children are growing up fast and you're missing it, because you're dawdling in your organic, sustainable home garden that's producing enough food to care for the needs in your neighborhood. Play with … [Read more...]

Suddenly, I’m the Camp Counselor

FringeKid picking blueberries

Yesterday began early, very early.  So early that I had to stop for coffee on my way out of town. I wasn't going out of town, like in we're headed for some sort of vacation or voyage or anything.  I was just headed to a neighboring town to visit the community college.  My daughter was attending camp there. She was super-psyched about camp and the moment the passenger's side door shut, she began talking.  About everything. "The light is green.  You should go.  I really would love one of those pink chandeliers for my locker.  {huh?}  What do you think we'll do in camp today?  Do you … [Read more...]

because parenting takes creativity, we’ve got Butt Roots

humor with children - because sometimes

Last night I was lamenting photo-less weekend.  "Now I won't have a Hello Monday post for tomorrow." My son, the one who used the word auspicious in conversation just moments earlier said, "Have a Mom Monday instead." Now that's not a bad idea, but it would require my children to do something funny, because let's face it, the only mom moments you want to hear about involve laughter, or at least a snicker.  My kids just aren't that humorous any more.  They grew up and now I live with little alien beings, who of course know it all and use three syllable words in conversations. No … [Read more...]

Birthday Party in The Park

kids with water balloons

After a pretty spectacular birthday party in the park this weekend, I'm joining Lisa Leonard in saying Hello to Monday. I'm ready to officially change my children's birth-dates to a summer month, because sunny skies are way easier to work with than snowy roads. I cannot tell you how thankful I am that Saturday was gorgeous.  I woke up early and the skies were ominous, but the weatherman promised it would clear and be beautiful, so I said a prayer and boiled lots of hot dogs. My son is really good at hula-hooping.  When he was as little as six or seven, he could get two … [Read more...]

Haunted by A Kazoo

500 Miles with A Kazoo - Why mom's should NEVER hide noisy toys. Learn from my mistakes.

  Have you ever heard "Taps" played on a kazoo? No? Me either, until recently. The tune is about as mournful and haunting as a kazoo can be, and believe me, I’ve been haunted by a kazoo for a quite a few years now. One of my earliest childhood memories is of my mom, eyes wild with the look young mothers get when they are torn between selfless love and wanting to eat their young. She stood above my brother and me, we must have been around five and seven, and held up my brother’s plastic kazoo. My brother loved this kazoo like Mozart must have loved his grand piano. The sound … [Read more...]

Why I’m Not Getting The Mother-of-the-Year Award

silly FringeKids

The only two goals I have for summer are sleeping late and going swimming.  For real. I don't even need a whole pack of markers to write those two things on a poster-board and make a fancy summer list, and it's a good thing, because the markers have left the house.  Seriously.  Once there was a whole bucket of markers and now there are none.  It's one of those family phenomenons that I will never understand.  Kind of like why there are no matching socks and why the laundry is never done. Suddenly I feel like it's full on summer.  I'm sweating and everything.  I would be loving life, … [Read more...]

To the Mom who Doesn’t Recognize The Woman in The Mirror

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms who don't quite feel like themselves

  "You're just not yourself.  You haven't been yourself in years." I remember someone saying that to me during my early years of mommy-hood. I didn't really understand what they were trying to say to me back then.  I knew I was still me inside, but I was also overwhelmed, crazily hormonal, and tired, really, really tired. The other night, my daughter asked to look at some old pictures.  We went through the scrapbooks first and then I pulled down the box.  You know the one.  I'm sure you probably have a "box" sitting on your closet shelf too.  It's the place you keep all the … [Read more...]

No Fuss Parenting – Bedtime

5 Reason I put my Kids to bed Early - Mostly because I need to keep my sanity.

    I put my kids to bed early, especially when they were younger. I'm not gonna lie to you, this was mostly for my sanity, but I believe it was good for them too.  The jury is still out. I'm terrible at keeping schedules, and I'm not even sure if I have any routines in my life.  Each day is a new adventure and there's no telling what may happen before noon, but the one thing I know for certain is my children's bedtime.     5 Reasons I Put my Kids to Bed Early   Kids need sleep. I need mommy time. My husband and I need grown-up … [Read more...]

No Fuss Parenting – Teach Kids to Sit Still

How I taught my kids to sit still in church

    Teaching my kids to sit still is the best thing I ever did as a parent, and by sit still I really mean to sit quietly on my lap or beside me with minimal fidgeting. Let's face it, sitting still is hard work, even for adults. This teaching process happened by accident.  It wasn't a genius act on my part. We were attending a church with a very small nursery.  They had lots of babies and had to make a rule that all children over the age of one year (you heard me right - 12 months) had to sit with their parents.  The children who could walk were becoming a danger to all … [Read more...]

No Fuss Parenting – Discipline

Discipline does more than correct bad behavior, it teaches good behavior - Win your Child's Heart

Part 1 - No Fuss Parenting   ***********     Discipline divides. It draws a line in the playground sand, and separates the good parents from the bad parents. At least that's how we think of it, more often than not. I've been at the playground when a child acts up and twenty pairs of eyes stare holes into one tired woman a few kids call mom. Better yet, I've been in church when my son was sword fighting with some paper towel rolls and managed to poke another kid in the eye. Friends, it is worst case scenario when an adult pulls you aside and tells you to … [Read more...]

No Fuss Parenting

No Fuss Parenting - How I am Rearing my Kids

The internet is chock-full of parenting advice, maternal coping mechanisms, balms for the soul, guilt assuagers, rest for the weary, and pick-me-ups for the gloomy. It is an overwhelming place for this mom who doesn't put that much thought into her daily routine of rearing her children.   No Cost English Lesson:  We rear children and raise cattle.  It's not how we usually speak, but it's a rule.  Every time I break it, I feel guilty.   Does that sound terrible? Should I be heaping guilt upon my head like I heap ice-cream into bowls? Am I bad mom who lacks all the … [Read more...]

On Parenting, Boys, & Top-Secret Information

FringeKid in Black & white

There's a lot going on in my head and none of it is making its way down through my fingers and out the keyboard. It's spring break in my part of the world and my daughter is in Myrtle Beach with her best friend's family.  Ya, that was a difficult decision.  It's a post in itself, but I haven't written it yet. I've been too busy trying to have some fun with my son during the first rainy week of spring. No complaints from me.  I'm just glad it's not snowing. Sorry to all my friends in Minnesota, Kansas, and those other places that are buried in feet of … [Read more...]

April Fools – Family Style

April Fools - Blue Milk

"Mom, something happened to the milk.  It's blue!" My daughter reached for an ice-cold glass of milk right after school on April Fools. We laughed and she told me I was the best mom ever for turning her milk blue, but then she paused before pouring and asked, "What's in it?" "Food dye, of course.  What did you think?"  I questioned. "Well, I thought it could have been one of your concoctions." Huh? What am I, the wizard of fringe? I don't stand around all day mixing potions, not unless we're talking dinner and I am cooking. If you follow The Domestic Fringe on Facebook … [Read more...]