koefoe party of 5, momlife, parenting, Tips & Hacks

Four Family-Focused Things to Consider When Buying a Car

Sponsored Post

This holiday season, The Salty Mamas are going to be logging a LOT of car hours. We’re only one holiday in and we’ve already driven hundreds and hundreds of miles. (Okay, Christine’s family is maybe at nearly 100, but Jaymi has totally made up for it). Between Christmas tree and present shopping, schlepping to holiday parties, and visiting out of town friends and family, we spend a lot of time in the close quarters that are our cars. All the more reason to make sure we LOVE our cars!

Last year at this time, we were trying to decide on what car we needed for our new family of 5. Here are some of the unique things to consider when picking out your perfect family car: Continue reading “Four Family-Focused Things to Consider When Buying a Car”

Caffeine, Married with Children, momlife, parenting, The Daddys, The Salties, Why We're Salty

The Kind of Tired a Nap Won’t Solve

When my husband asks me what’s wrong, there’s about a 97% chance that I’ll say, “I’m just tired.” And God bless him, 61% of the time he responds with, “I got this – go take a nap.” Then, being the tired complainer I am, I get irritated. Because I don’t want to nap when you decide to give me permission! I want to sleep when I want to!

Which isn’t fair. He’s being nice. And I go and be nasty in return. And then it dawned on me, I’m not just tired. I’m exhausted. And it’s a kind of exhaustion that all the sleep in the world won’t solve. Because I’m not tired of not getting sleep. I’m tired of the Mom jobs that I’m saddled with. They aren’t going away anytime soon, so maybe if I vent them out – hear what makes you exhausted – and hide with my tribe for a few minutes, I can slam a cup of coffee, shake it off, and push through.

Until I cry because they’ve all left me for college.

But for now, here’s why I’m tired:

Continue reading “The Kind of Tired a Nap Won’t Solve”

momlife, Why We're Salty

Apologies on Behalf of My Mommy Brain

Once upon a time, I was a fully functioning adult. I could remember all sorts of things without a thousand reminders. I never rarely lost my car keys, stored non-refrigerator things in the refrigerator (I’m looking at you TV remote), or forgot how to drive to my house.

Then I got pregnant. And had kids. And never slept. And Mommy brain took over and ruined me. So I owe a few people my sincerest apologies.

***********

Dear Friends,

Continue reading “Apologies on Behalf of My Mommy Brain”

koefoe party of 5, Married with Children, momlife, The Daddys, The Salties, They Said WHAT?

The Best $30 We Ever Spent

You’ve walked by it a hundred times. And if you’ve walked by with your kids, no doubt you’ve had to fend off cries of, “Please mama, PLEASE buy me the giant bear we absolutely do not have any room for in our house!” (Or at least that’s what you hear). You see it and think “Holy God, that one stuffed animal is bigger than most of the stuffed animals in our house put together!”

And it is.

And if you’re me? One day, your well-intentioned husband, who feels moderately guilty about the extra long hours he’s been putting in at the office does the unthinkable and says, “Yes kids, we WILL buy you that giant bear.” Before you can pick your chin up off the floor, it’s been hoisted into your cart and you know from the sparkles shining out of your children’s eyes that this cannot be undone.

You live with this bear now.

You walk through Costco trying to be happy about the new member of your family. I mean, sure, its larger than you are, but you don’t have to feed it and it doesn’t poop. So really, it could be worse! Right?? On the other hand, you need to cram it in your car somehow…so that’s gonna be fun. Still in shock, you take pictures of the kids grinning from ear to ear, because when they forget about this bear in 3 hours you’re going to want to remember how happy it made them for 17 minutes. Then, you send the pictures to your Mom/sister/bestie – basically anyone that will feel sorry for you and commiserate.

23432635_10215055579689249_538413517_o.jpg

They all do. Because YOU OWN A GIANT BEAR NOW. And even if your husband doesn’t get it – your people do.

You move the bear into your house and find him a room (because he’s that big). The kids try to show you that he was worth every penny by playing with him for a little bit. You start to warm to the big guy, now affectionately known as Tootles by the way, but remember that he is the enemy. Because you need a scapegoat and it’s better than thinking your husband is the enemy.

One day goes by, and then another. And then a strange thing happens. The kids keep.playing.with.Tootles. They lay on him when they watch TV. They feed him food they made in their kitchen. They ADORABLY ask you to take “family photos” with him. And wouldn’t you know it – those kids play with that bear EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Maybe their dad is paying them in candy to prove me wrong. Maybe they remember that I grumbled through Costco that “they better freaking play with this bear or it’s going in the alley.” Or maybe, they just really do love it. And it makes them happy. And it teaches me that I need to lighten up and say “yes” once in a while. And that maybe that means the bear was the best $30 we’ve ever spent.

How one bear made me a better parent
Effing Four Year Olds, Kids' Activities, momlife, parenting, The Salties, Threenagers

4 Myths About Play-Based Preschool

When I first sent my son to preschool, he went to a traditional preschool – the kind I remember. A carpet with letters and spots for each kid to sit. Charts on the wall showing the alphabet, calendar, weather. Super cute crafts for every holiday, with a Pinterest perfect sample of what they would be making that day. But he wasn’t learning his letters. He wasn’t great at sitting. He wasn’t participating in the crafts. So we moved him over to a play-based preschool. And he LOVED it. But everyone else? Well, they thought we were crazy. And I learned there are a LOT of myths about play based education.

Continue reading “4 Myths About Play-Based Preschool”

Mama Mojo, MicroLuxuries, momlife

MicroLuxury Monday: Get Lost in a Book

Growing up, I always had an enthusiastic love of reading. Self-taught at four, my parents didn’t even believe I could read, and instead assumed I had deftly memorized the books they read me so often. Challenged to read from the newspaper, I stunned them all by reading straight from the page. Then came school, and reading for fun quickly fell out of fashion. I was required to read so much that the thought of adding extra “work” voluntarily seemed silly. So I took a two decade long hiatus from my hobby. Through high school, college and graduate school, I read what was required of me, no more, not much less. After grad school my brain was broken. I had used up too many brain cells digesting the works of Foucault and Aristotle, Kenneth Burke and bell hooks. Some loved, some….not so much, but brain cells just the same.

I needed a BREAK. So I bartended. I went out at night. I spent lazy days on the beach flipping through magazines. I rode my bike wherever I could as much as I could, especially on the weekends when I made it a point to not get in my car unless it was absolutely necessary. I found myself riding my bike past a huge, beautiful library, both inviting and intimidating at the same time. On a particularly hot day I decided to go inside even if it was just for the cool, yet musty, air. I walked the aisles, my hands gently touching the spines of the books. Always a tactile person, the idea of reading a book any other way was borderline offensive. The smell, the feeling, the colors of the books called me in a way I couldn’t resist. Continue reading “MicroLuxury Monday: Get Lost in a Book”

Cheapskating, Kids' Activities, microhustle, momlife, parenting, The Salties, Tips & Hacks, Traditions

Micro Hustle Monday: The Pumpkin Fairy

Today’s Micro Hustle won’t actually make you any money, but it can save you big bucks, and isn’t that kind of the same thing? Also, it’s a Hustle on your kids, which – I think it’s safe to say – we’re all on board for every once in a while! Enjoy! 

Ask any Mama what she loves about the fall, and nestled somewhere between a Grande PSL and putting on a cozy sweater will be taking the kids to the pumpkin patch. Because kids and pumpkins are adorable. Need proof? Fine.

1555440_10203034761816315_1258666613_n

Moving on…

The pumpkin patch is AWESOME. Whether yours is in the middle of a city and has carnival style rides, a petting zoo and a concession stand or is out in the country and has apple launchers, a corn maze and homemade cider, every one is full of fun for the family.

Also, EXPENSIVE PUMPKINS.

Yes, the seedy underbelly of the pumpkin patch operation is insanely expensive pumpkins. And while you’re there for the adorable photo ops, your kids are probably there for the expensive stuff – like the rides, treats, and pumpkins. The pain that I feel in my heart – and my wallet – as I hand over a credit card to pay $20+ for a pumpkin that I can get for $3.99 at the grocery store is palpable. But what else can you do? It’s a pumpkin patch – you can’t just leave without a pumpkin!

But you can leave without a GIANT pumpkin…..

Enter…..The Pumpkin Fairy!

Oh you don’t know about the Pumpkin Fairy? Well let me introduce her to you! Because she may very well change your life at the Pumpkin Patch this year!  You see the Pumpkin Fairy is a beautiful and magical fairy that can turn tiny (read: cheap) pumpkins from the pumpkin patch into big, beautiful pumpkins – overnight!

Confession: The Pumpkin Fairy isn’t real, folks. But it can be real in your house this year if you follow these steps!

First – you gotta sell this to your kids. Start laying the groundwork immediately. Tonight, when you put them to bed, don’t forget to tell them about the legend of the Pumpkin Fairy! She’s beautiful, with orange hair and a dress made from pumpkin seeds and the stringy stuff inside the gourds! And every October she visits all the little children to turn their baby pumpkins into big magical pumpkins! (This may be harder if your kids are used to picking out a giant pumpkin at the patch, but you can talk them into it – I believe in you! I mean, who wants one of those big pumpkins, when you can have a pumpkin that has been made out of magic???)22523653_10214869927088050_2006313105_n

Then you go to the patch. Remind them of the new plan – tiny pumpkins kids! The cheaper smaller, the better! Let them pick any pumpkin they want out of that bargain bin!

When you get home, find a nice easy spot to put your pumpkins! Don’t do something stupid like put them under pillows. The Pumpkin Fairy is a LOT bigger than the Tooth Fairy and isn’t as good at sneaking around- especially after a glass of wine or two. The porch is an excellent spot.

Then, tuck the kids in.

Have a glass of wine and watch Real Housewives while you wait for them to fall asleep. You’ll be kicking yourself next year, and spending big bucks, if you get caught. Then – swap out those pumpkins with the grocery store ones you’re hiding in the trunk of the car. If you want to get REAL fancy, sprinkle some glitter around. Fairies are notorious for getting glitter on everything.

And that’s it! You saved a ton of money and made a Pinterest-worthy tradition that will have you looking like a) a money saving genius and b) Mom of the Year.

 

#fall #pumpkins #pumpkinpatch #pumpkinfairy #cheapskate #savemoney #momlife #falldecor
Let the Pumpkin Fairy help you save big bugs this year on your trip to the pumpkin patch!
Bouncing Babies, Effing Four Year Olds, Kids' Activities, Terrible Twos, The Salties, The Wonderful Ones, Threenagers, Tips & Hacks

9 Ways to Play with Rocks

My kids have thousands of dollars worth of games and toys and arts and crafts and I even am not above allowing some indulgent screen time. But the fact is, at the end of the day, they love dirt and sticks and rocks. Yeah, rocks. Which – don’t get me wrong – I love. I love SO much, I want to pass that love of rocks on to you! So here are nine fun ways for your little ones to play with rocks.

  1. Paint them. Rock painting is so in right now. Seriously. It seems that it’s t22447575_10102454468377797_269538747_nhe hot kid  craft on Pinterest. And it’s hot for a reason. Because kids love to paint rocks. Whether your kids want to paint ladybugs or pumpkins or just go nuts free form, kids will love it. Plus, you can do it outside, which is extra awesome because you aren’t going to ruin your dining room table. We even have some friends whose kids love to paint rocks with WATER. I mean, you literally can’t get a cleaner craft than that! It’s. Just. WATER. And rocks. World’s easiest cleanup ever.
  2. Tic-Tac-Toe. My 4 year old is obsessed with Tic-Tac-Toe right now. Which means there are sheets of paper all over my house like confetti with scribbles all over them. So you know what’s boss? A reusable tic-tac-toe board. Even better? One that’s in my yard, that I only have to draw once, and then can use rocks for our “X’s” and “O’s.”
  3. Stacking. All three of my kids love to stack things – anything! They also love to compete with each other. Who can make the highest stack of rocks? Who can keep the tower balanced? Who will knock it over? There are so many variations even in different ways to just stack the rocks. And endless entertainment!IMG_20170826_103408267
  4. Carrying them back and forth. Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, this list just jumped the shark. These chicks think my kids will be entertained by carrying rocks back and forth across my yard.” And maybe you’re right. Maybe your kid won’t do it. But we’re here to tell you that we literally sat in Jaymi’s backyard and watched our kids carry rocks from a bucket to a pile AND BACK AGAIN for like 45 minutes last week. I think they made some sort of a secret game out of it, but they didn’t clue the adults in on the rules. All I know is those rocks were on the move in the hot little hands of our kids. Kids that got wiped out from all that rock carrying. So, SOLD.
  5. Rock Hunt. This one’s pretty simple: Do just what it sounds like. Hide those rocks and let the kids find them. As one of our kids’ friends announced the other day, “You don’t have to wait for Easter to do an Easter egg hunt!” True that, Muriel! Egg hunts are great one day a year, but rock hunts – those are a classic the other 364.
  6. Steal the Bacon. Remember sweating on the blacktop waiting for your number to be called so you could race to grab a blackboard eraser? Well, we’re fresh out of blackboard erasers at our house. But we got rocks! And whether it’s a group of kids at a playdate or just two of mine facing off head to head, a race for the rock is a big hit. More bonus points for this one being another tiring activity. With basically no setup, no cleanup and the only parental involvement being to yell, “GO!”
  7. Rocks as Cooking Ingredients. Stone soup isn’t just a classic story about a selfish
    IMG_20171005_160834699_HDR
    You can never have too many cooks in a stone soup kitchen!

    town that is tricked into sharing their soup. It’s also a culinary classic in our backyard. Stones, leaves, dirt all create a “delicious” base to be stirred with sticks. This one takes some more parental involvement (I admit I’m wayyyyyy over pretending to slurp soup and report how delicious it is) and can be significantly messier than some of the other options, but my kids are all about getting messy, so bring it on!

  8. Story Garden. A story garden is the perfect way to bring your kids’ imaginative play outside. This one’s a two parter, but worth it! First, see #1 and paint those bad boys. You can paint anything you want on the stones – houses, animals, boats, foods, cars, bugs, rainbows, shapes, people – you name it! Then, make stories! The possibilities are ENDLESS with what you can create! Here’s a few ways to play with them compiled by The Artful Parent and we’re partial to this cute Hungry Caterpillar set which is perfect for retelling.
  9. Rock Toss. Only to be played if you trust your kids won’t chuck the rocks straight at your head, their siblings heads, their friends heads, etc. Once that’s established, my kids dig this one. We use a hula hoop as the place to toss rocks and we start a foot or two away from the hoop. Each kid gets to toss a rock into the hoop. After they make that shot, they step back. And back. And back. And back. Until they miss at which point we start over. My competitive little kids love the challenge of this. Once the hula hoop has been mastered, you can always make smaller targets with anything you have around the house!

Now go find some rocks, and have some fun!

#rocks #paintedrocks #stonesoup #pretendplay #childhoodunplugged #toddlers #preschoolers #kids #outdoorplay #imaginativeplay #getoutside #letthembelittle
Get outside and have fun with these EASY ways to play with rocks – that your kids will LOVE!

 

Married with Children, The Daddys, Why We're Salty

If You Give a Daddy a Task…

If you give a Daddy a task, he’ll smile and say sure.

He’ll start to unload the dishwasher, by putting away the glasses.

When he gets to the cabinet, he’ll realize there are a lot of glasses we don’t use.

He’ll go unload the Amazon box of baby’s birthday presents to use for storing glasses to donate.

Once he starts with glasses, he’ll think about the vases you can probably get rid of too.

Looking at all that nice space in the cabinet, he’ll remember that the cabinet above the refrigerator could use some reorganizing as well.

In that cabinet, he’ll notice that he doesn’t really use the mini kegerator as often as we used to, and will suggest that we sell it.

The kegerataor will need to be set up somewhere with good lighting, so he can take a picture to post on a trash and treasure sale site.

Since someone comments right away, he’ll need to spend 25 minutes texting back and forth with the guy about beer refrigeration and tubes and keg prices.

Now that he’s on the internet, he’ll see an article he needs to click on.

And another.

And another.

And since he’s fallen down the rabbit hole, Mommy will need to go unload the dishwasher.

All because you gave a Daddy a task.

#momhumor #momlife #dadlife #childrensbooks
What happens when you give a Daddy one little job to do? Spoiler alert: Everything gets done – except that one job.
Crafty Mamas, Mama Loves a Party, The Salties, Tips & Hacks

Putting the GOOD Back in Goodie Bags

I.Hate. Goodie Bags.

There I said it.

Controversial? Sure. But true. SO FREAKING TRUE. I just want them gone. But as I stare at an ominous October calendar that has a giant star on October 8, my youngest daughter’s first birthday party, I start to waver in my conviction. Because as much as I don’t want to make them, I know there will be kids that expect them. Hell, there will be parents that expect them.

I’ve given into the Goodie Bag monster before. At my sons second birthday I made little 11401548_10207121368018916_8004798448923372245_ncanvas bags, complete with each child’s name on them. A dinosaur themed event, each kid got “fossil dig” brushes – each with painstakingly Cricut-ed labels – and of course, the homemade salt dough fossils to go with them. There were bubble wants and homemade crayons in the shape of dinosaurs. And I’m not gonna lie, it was ADORABLE. But looking back, Good God was it a lot of work!

By the time I got to my second child’s first birthday party at the end of December, each kid got one coloring calendar. Because easy.

Three days away from the seventh birthday party in my resume, and I’m ready to throw in the towel and say eff it. I’m afraid I’m not going to get my dream of saying goodbye to the goodie bags, so here are a few Do’s and Don’ts for putting the GOOD back in Goodie Bag! Continue reading “Putting the GOOD Back in Goodie Bags”