From an early age, I have always been both a teacher’s pet and an overachiever. I passed all the tests. I got all the awards. I always often came in first. For years, I’ve eagerly been awaiting my own kids’ turn. I told myself that I wouldn’t be pushy, wouldn’t assume my kid would be the best and the brightest, and was determined to let her go her own way. When the first few award ceremonies went by and Lila didn’t get an award, I tried my best to shrug it off. That’s okay! Everyone can’t get an award, or they would be meaningless! I mean, she has her moments, but she is fiery and passionate and smart and funny and AWESOME. Her day will come!
And today, when I opened up her homework folder and saw that slip of fancy copy paper, with the hint of a fancy border showing- well, I just knew. Our Her day had finally come.
“Congratulations! Your child has been selected to receive an award. Please join us for a ceremony on Tuesday, as Lila is recognized for… Alertness.”
As Moms we have a thousand “WTF just happened???” moments. Whether they happen in a kids play area with strangers or at our own family functions, we’re constantly exposed to other people’s opinions. It happens so often we need to become ducks and let that ish just roll off our back. Or we’d never make it. But some stories stick with us months later. And we just. can’t. let them go.
This is one of those.
This story starts as most annoying ones do….with me, minding my own business, trying to check out of a Target. Cart full of diapers and impulse purchases, Izzie in one arm the other just trying to scan my stuff so I could pay and get on my way.
As a preschool art teacher, I have to say that I strongly favor process-based art for kids. The research all shows that the true benefit of art for kids comes from the process of making something- mixing colors, experimenting with lines and swirls, and getting hands-on experience with creative expression. Your average Valentine’s Day art projects, with their prescribed colors and shapes and outcomes, are typically not in line with process-based activities.
I’m also a mother. I want some art for my dang refrigerator, gosh darn it.
So I’ve created this fun, process based art activity that will end with a product that you can display. By limiting the colors you present the kids with (pink, purple, and red for example), you can ensure that the project stays on theme- and the kids will be none the wiser. (Or feel free to go rogue here- this project can be accomplished with any colors and any shape of paper- including a plain old rectangle.) Continue reading “Valentine’s Day Marbled Print Art”→
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Whoa! This week was full of ups and downs for The Salty Mamas, but it’s the weekend now and we are gonna have FUN, gosh darn it. So let’s start the day off with some positivity- here’s what’s making us happy this week!
2. It is CAMELIA SEASON. These little flowers have brought me so much joy over the years, especially because they bloom right around Lila’s birthday each year. I was kind of obsessed with having fresh-cut flowers in the house when Lila came home from the hospital (because irrational pregnant woman) and they’ve been part of the centerpieces at her birthday parties ever since. She turns five today, and she loves the camelias as much as her mama does (well, she loves tearing them up, but STILL.)
3. This simple, pretty swing dress from Amazon. It was on a lightning deal this week, but even when it’s not the price is right. And it has POCKETS. Dreaming of the day when I can wear it on my MomSquad cruise! (Hey MomSquad- you should all get one, obviously, so we can be matchy-matchy.)
4. If you haven’t tried this Balsamic Pork Tenderloin that’s been floating around Pinterest lately forever, please cook it up this week. It’s so simple but SO full of flavor. Serve it up with roasted potatoes and a green veggie, and you’ve got yourself a delicious meal that is gluten-sensitivity-friendly. (Which, don’t even get me STARTED on my beef with gluten. It’s a whole post for a whole ‘nother day.) As a bonus side note, the whole meal costs about $5 to make, assuming you are buying your ingredients at the right time. Looking for more simple meals? Check out our post here and our Pinterest board here.
5. We are currently crushing on fellow mom-blogger Lindsey from Every Day Above Dirt. She is so sweet and so real, and her Instagram feed is full of cute babies and puppies and real life. Check her out!
6. Finally, this little video. Because YES, and because we needed a giggle this week.
What took YOU to your happy place this week? We want to hear about it!
In our house, Mommy is home with the kids all day, every day, and Daddy goes off to work every morning. Like a man going off to war, mornings are full of hugs, tears and promises that he will return soon. After the last hug, the last kiss, the kids rush together climbing up the couch – and over each other – to press themselves against the window to get one last glance of Daddy as he heroically drives off to his job. Then they turn and look at me as if to say, “So it’s just you and us again?” Mommy No-Fun is here. I enforce breakfast rules, make everyone change out of pajamas and into clothes and chase them around with shoes and lunch bags and beg them to just please get in the car already. It’s often chaotic, but for the most part we have our routines down.
We repeat this process for the next five days until finally the weekend hits. We fall into our Saturday routine – breakfast, errands together, something fun as a family. But eventually we hit a bump in the road. Maybe the kids spill some crackers, make a mess, and have a total freakout. Maybe Cole and Evie get into an epic swordfight over who gets to pick what show they watch while I’m cooking. Maybe Cole REALLY doesn’t want to ride in the shopping cart and throws an epic fit.
It’s winter- glorious, chilly, wholesome winter. Time for scarves and boots and, most importantly- soup. I don’t know about you, but I only have about three really good soup recipes. And while they are REALLY GOOD (especially this Minestrone Soup Recipe!), you can only eat the same soups so many times before you get sick and tired of the same old thing.
So when one of our friends suggested we hold a soup exchange, we eagerly hopped on board. The idea is simple: you and a few friends each agree to make four meal-sized servings of soup. You keep one, and exchange the rest with the others. Everyone leaves the day with four soups- a family favorite, and three new recipes to try.
In our case, we decided to meet at the park. We executed our soup swap quickly, stowed our meals away in freezer bags, and let the kids run around together for an hour or so. While we chose to include the kids, you could easily arrange a wine night or girls’ night in that would serve the same purpose. Whatever works for you!
And just in case you find yourself without soup-swappin’ friends, don’t worry. The Salty Mamas (as always) have your back. Try this Minestrone soup recipe that has been in my family for generations my mom swindled from a favorite restaurant before it closed. It’s simple enough for everyday, hearty enough for a meal, and even tasty enough to serve to company. A single batch typically renders enough for two meals for my family of four with some leftovers. We keep half to eat that week, and I freeze half for another time (the pasta and zucchini are slightly affected by freezing, but we still think it’s just as good as when it’s served fresh. And you can always add the pasta and zucchini after thawing instead if you’re bothered by small texture changes).
Once upon a time, when it was just the two of us, my husband and I were younger people with lots of energy. We could stay up late, watch TV, talk to each other, enjoy a cocktail and, well….you know what happens next in the RomCom that was our “Once upon a time.”
Then we got married. Had kids. Became chronically exhausted. And some elements of those younger people’s lives slowly fell off the radar. We stopped watching multi-season television series and settled for single season commitments like Survivor or American Horror Story. We were maybe the only people NOT pissed off about Game of Thrones being only seven episodes this season because it was manageable enough that we could finish it. Half the time one of us is asleep by the time the other gets back from putting the kids back in bed after their philosophical inquisition/demands for water/”one last hug.” Conversations are often about said kids, our upcoming schedule, or what needs to get done around the house. I’m too tired to even drink wine, so I’m not going to spell out for you what else I’m too tired for. Continue reading “The Romance is Dead. Sort of.”→
Confession: My favorite part of fast food lunch is the part where my kids play in the play area while I relax with a soda and, hopefully, one of my besties.
This is about as close as I get to a vacation day hour.
And as luck would have it, I got to spend some wonderful time doing just this thing today. As I sat down watching all three of my kids playing happily, I thought, this is the life. The Cherry Coke was perfection. The French fries, life changing. And the conversation with my friends – PRICELESS.
Raising a bilingual child is so important these days. Many of our friends are choosing dual immersion schools for Spanish, and some are even sending their kids to school to learn Mandarin. For some, it’s about preparing kids to participate in a global economy. For others, it just happens to be the best program around. In many cases, parents just want children to be able to converse with their families.
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I don’t know how it works in your circle of friends, but in ours? We are heading full-throttle into what we affectionately call Birthday Season. From now until the end of April, we will likely be attending anywhere from one to four birthday parties every.single.weekend. And my kids LOVE it. But my budget? Yeah, it doesn’t.