Having kids is a big responsibility. You hold your tiny baby and think, “I’m going to teach you letters and numbers and colors, how to throw a ball and how to read” and it can feel overwhelming and exciting all at the same time. Kids are constantly learning and part of our job is to facilitate this amazing experience for them. And then they take off their pants in a Chick-fil-A and you realize you’ve been focusing on all the wrong things. And there’s a whole world out there of things you NEVER thought you’d actually have to teach your kids.
So here are seven things we learned the hard way that you absolutely MUST teach your kids.
Have you ever done that thing where you want to do ALL THE THINGS, so you tell everyone yes and you don’t tell anybody no, and then it looks so PRETTY in your color coded Bullet Journal, but then when it comes to actually living that plan, you are EXHAUSTED and wondering what the hell you were thinking?
No? Just us?
At any rate, it was a busy, fun, exhausting week, and in the end we wouldn’t change a thing. Here are a few of our favorites.
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1. Impromptu Playdates
What do you do when you have leftover supplies from the preschool Easter Party, and are wondering what to do with all of those pudding cups? Invite over your besties and throw yourselves a party! We made these adorable handprint chickens (Ducks? Whatever. Birds.), ate pudding, and then the kids spent a surprisingly long time coloring these adorable Easter Egg Coloring Pages from Real Mom Recs. So if you’re looking for a last minute Easter activity, she’s got you covered! Just print, cut apart, and set them out for some kid-friendly fun that will (hopefully!) keep them occupied for a good, long time.
2. Being Prime Moms, Not Pinterest Moms
Okay, we take that back- we are a little of both. But Jaymi got so busy making cutesy projects (that she actually enjoyed making) for Abe’s upcoming second birthday that she couldn’t stomach the thought of one.more.project. So when it came time to decide what he’d wear to his party, she thought she’d check Amazon real quick and found out that they actually have a PERFECT shirt for a sports themed second birthday party. How amazing is this cute little tee? And it cost about the same as it would to make it yourself, and saves about 7 hours worth of work probably, so WINNING.
3. Gluten Free Cookies
Jaymi hasn’t had a ton of luck finding a Gluten Free flour substitute she loves, so she finally decided to google “flourless cookie recipe.” Which brought her to these AMAZING chocolate meringue cookies that somehow manage to have that real-cookie texture with none of that floury nonsense. We’ve got more recipes (both GF and regular!) for you to check out on our Baked with Love Pinterest board.
4. Wandering Wednesday
We participate in a link up party over at Confessions of Parenting called “Wandering Wednesday.” Every week, bloggers drop their best posts on the page, and this week our post “Open Letters to the People that Make Us Salty” was chosen as the featured post. The link up is open to new bloggers as well- you can find out how to contribute your own piece here.
5. Have You Had That Baby Yet?
We have a few close friends expecting babies soon- like, YESTERDAY kind of soon. And yes, they are getting sick of hearing “have you had that baby yet?” and “any baby news?” We humbly suggest that they refer all inquiring parties to HaveYouHadThatBabyYet.Com. Try it- it’s fun.
6. This Wine Glass
Because honestly, it’s been a week, and this wine glass makes us smile. Especially when it’s filled with our favorite white.
I was at the Aquarium, Izzie on my hip, one eye on Cole and the other on Evie. Wait – where’s Evie? Oh, there she is! Yes, one eye on Evie. Check. A woman with a toddler caught my eye and exclaimed, “Wow! I’m not even brave enough to bring both my kids to the Aquarium and you’re here with three!”
I never know how to respond to these confessions from other Moms. As a Stay-at-Home-Mom, if I didn’t brave the outside world and leave the house with three kids, I’d never leave. So hiding inside doesn’t seem like much of an option. And sure, some places we go are much more painful than other places. (Yes, I’m looking at you Costco and Trader Joe’s). But a place specifically made for kids? It’s not always fun and it’s basically never easy, but I promise you that if I can do it, so can you.
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The Olympics have kicked off and Christine’s family is ALL about it! So here are the six things we’d give our Gold Medals to this week!
We hate saying we have a favorite kid, but sometimes you can prove it based on things like how long they sleep or which one’s being moderately rational that day. And sometimes they do something so incredibly sweet. Like when Cole kept stalling like he didn’t really want to finish reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. (Which is ridiculous, because when we finish we get to go to Universal Studios!) But the truth is that he was okay with that book being over, but he didn’t want the snuggling in Mommy’s bed for some quality time with a good book to be over. Lucky for you little man, there’s a whole world of books for us to work through! But we’ll start with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for now.
2. We may be The Salty Mamas, but we can admit that we’re equally into sweets. So we give a gold medal to these Chocolate Fruit Cups from the Peachee Pear. You’ll want to check out this adorably easy and beautiful dessert – and probably make it this week. Bonus points: It’s so easy even your kids can help!
3. We’ve been doing a LOT of online shopping for bathing suits for the cruise, and while we found some super cute ones (like this one and this one and this one) Christine can’t help but have this one be her favorite. Because it literally makes her laugh every time. And we take the use of the word “literally” very seriously.
5. There are prescriptions for EVERYTHING, so Christine and Jaymi were thinking there should be a pill to cure chronic grumpiness. We’ll take two, thanks.
6. And finally, in the spirit of the Olympics, this cautionary tale: If your husband is on a ski trip during the Olympics and your son knows that there’s skiing IN the Olympics, he may go around telling everyone that his Dad is skiing in the Olympics. So be warned.
I’m not gonna lie- maybe my favorite thing about having a baby (besides getting the baby, obviously) is decorating that sweet baby’s new room. Is it necessary for an eight pound person to have a space of their own? Of course not. But when you’re a creative person, there’s something magical about prepping for your baby by getting a space ready that’s just for them. When Abram was born, we knew he’d be sharing a space with our guest room (and my crafting space- yeah, there was a lot going on in there), so we decided to go for a feel that wasn’t too “babyish.” We chose to make a blue and gray nursery for him that used lots of letters and sweet, homemade touches. We finished the space just in time for his newborn photo shoot, and were lucky to have Biancca Wallace Photography capture them for us.
2017 was a tough year in the KoeFoe house. My husband’s uncle passed away from terminal cancer. My husband’s grandma passed away from complications from surgery. And then my Nana….just…..passed away. Wave after wave hit us, but seemed to miss our children, who weren’t close to these family members. Until Nana.
Every Tuesday night, since before our son was born, we had Taco Tuesday’s at Nana’s. We ate, watched Jeopardy, the kids did somersaults, sang into microphones, performed and were given chocolate and ice cream and cookies, oh my! At 93 years old, Nana even “babysat” Evie (with the help of her home health nurse) every Friday for a couple hours. She was a constant fixture in our lives, until one day, she wasn’t.
We knew we had to talk to the kids, but didn’t know quite how. Izzie, at 8 months was too young to know anything was going on. Evie, at 2 years, knew something was up, but certainly couldn’t comprehend. But Cole? Cole, we found, was a wise – albeit brand new – 4 year old. He had questions, and we didn’t always know the answers.
When the end was eminent, I remember sitting with Nana. Tears in my eyes, she told me that crying was okay, that she was going to be fine, that this was God’s plan. I told her, “I know it is….I just don’t know what I’m supposed to tell Cole and Evie.” My pain was so profoundly compacted by the idea that I would also have to manage their loss, that at times it felt suffocating.
I’m not sure what we did was best, or right, but here are some tips that worked for us. I hope that you don’t need them, but if you do, that they help.
Once upon a time, when Lila was a littler girl, she became obsessed with all cold drinks. First it was the condensation on our soft drinks, and then we transitioned to Jamba Juice smoothies. Pretty soon, we introduced our family’s favorite summer sipper- Icees. And slurpees, and freezes. Whatever you wanted to call them, it didn’t much matter. She was in love with the icy cold sweetness, and at about a dollar a piece, they were a cheap and easy treat on a hot day. I have given her far more Icees in her short little life than I would care to admit. Somewhere along the line, the differences between Jamba Juice whole fruit goodness and sugar-filled-crushed-ice got blurred, and she decided Icees/Slurpees were called smoothies, too. It wasn’t something we did intentionally, but my GOODNESS does it make me look like a better mother. Continue reading “Smoothies”→
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.”
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.