Effing Four Year Olds, momlife, parenting, The Salties, Why We're Salty

Disaster at the Dentist

Back in the day, when I knew everything about raising children, without actually having children, I just knew how my kids were going to behave. I knew that they would never dare to defy me, that they would have occasional tantrums and the like, but that they would always know who the boss was, and that ultimately they weren’t gonna get away with nothing. And they’d eventually give in. After all, I literally spent years as a trained behavior therapist. I understand behaviors and their root causes, I know how to troubleshoot them, to identify them, and to fix them.  As a special education teacher, I always said I could outstubborn  a rock, and there was no behavior that I couldn’t solve eventually, with my determination and patience. I was known for getting through to tricky kids, kids with off-the-wall behaviors, and kids who were simply defiant or stubborn. I like to say that I have a Master’s Degree in getting kids to behave, and although the piece of paper says something fancier than that, it’s basically what it amounts to. So my own kids, of all people, would absolutely know better than to truly test me.

Ha. Ha! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

So the other day at the dentist. Continue reading “Disaster at the Dentist”

Kids' Activities, koefoe party of 5, momlife, parenting, Tips & Hacks, vacation

5 Tips to Survive Your Next Flight with Kids

This post contains affiliate links, meaning The Salty Mamas may receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking the link. As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are our own. Thank you for supporting The Salty Mamas!

When Cole was a baby, we went on a lot of trips. Before he was a year, he’d flown to Seattle, New York, Baltimore, and Hawaii twice. And generally, it went really well. Then we had Evie, and when she was about 4 months old we decided to try a flight as a family of four. But after a 45 minute flight to Reno, we swore off air travel. It wasn’t for us. We would drive, we would cruise, but there was no way in hell we were getting back on a plane.

Until now.

As a family of 5.

Going across an ocean.

It was time to get strategic. This isn’t a simple toss a baby in an Ergo, bounce and provide snacks type of production. And lots of the tips for road tripping with kids is applicable, but a plane has all. Those. Other. People. So here are plane specific tips for traveling with your band of misfit monsters darling children.

Continue reading “5 Tips to Survive Your Next Flight with Kids”

Effing Four Year Olds, momlife, parenting, The Salties

Torrez of the Day

A few weeks ago, in a fit of desperation, I had a rare stroke of genius.

“The kid who cleans up the most blocks gets to be the Torrez of the Day!”

My son, aged one and a half, pretty much did nothing. Because…aged one and a half.

But my Four Year Old? Whoa. Continue reading “Torrez of the Day”

Kids' Activities, momlife, parenting

Get Outside

This post contains affiliate links. The Salty Mamas may receive a small commission from items purchased after clicking the links.  Additionally, we’d like to thank SourceBooks for providing a book, “15 Minutes Outside,” for a giveaway. Thank you for supporting us!

Are your kids getting enough time outside each day? Find out here, along with a list of great ways to play outside with your kids!

According to experts, kids are supposed to spend at least two hours a day playing outside.

Stop and take that in for a second. TWO. HOURS.

Now this may seem crazy when you think about the amount of time your kids are at school, or the amount of time you are at work. But when you think back to when you were a little kid, it might not seem that ridiculous.  I remember getting home from school and taking off on my bike with my friends. Or exploring the creek next to our house for hours.  Or playing endless pretend in our backyard, or gardening with my mom, or swimming in our (above-ground) pool. There was SO much time outdoors, that it wasn’t even a thing. It was just something that we did. Do I think my mom worried about meeting the required two hours each day? Uh, no. Because that was not a thing back then. You just sent the dang kids out.

And we (I’m talking societally here), just don’t do that anymore.  Even when you talk about going “screen free” or unplugged, it usually means board games and books and hours of playdough play.  It’s not considered safe for kids to roam around on their own, and our green spaces are kind of being eaten up.  So we have to make up for it somehow, as forced as it may seem at times.  Because yes, it is another “requirement” of childhood, but from a scientific perspective, it is crucial (check out this article from the New York Post if you want to read more about this). Kids who spend more time outside are less likely to be obese and are less likely to be diagnosed with attention-related disorders.  Time spent in green spaces is good for anxiety and depression, and reduces stress-and that goes for little kids and grown ups alike. We were biologically just meant to spend time outside, and we have to make sure that’s happening for our little ones, and our bigger kids, too.

 

IMG_20170730_131845132I recently read a book called “15 Minutes Outside” by author Rebecca Cohen, that gives hundreds of concrete, easy examples on how to get your kids outside. And most of the ideas aren’t even that big of a deal. Take a basket of books into the backyard on a blanket and read there. Or eat your dinner at the local park. Take a nature walk through your neighborhood, or go on your balcony and make wishes on the first early stars.  I tend to think of outdoor play as an adventure, requiring prep and large stretches of time, but this book really helped me to see that those little stretches can add up over time and make a big difference. Not only in the amount of time you spend outside, which, obviously. But also in the amount of quality time spent together as a family.

So let’s all make an effort this week to get up, and get our kids out. Start small, and make a concerted effort to get out for just a little bit longer today than you usually do. The change of scenery may just do everyone some good.

 

Looking for more ideas on how to get out with your family and play? Here are six easy ways to get started.

  1. Take an Art Project Outside, like our friends at Little Mama Jama with this fun Minion footprint art. Read the instructions for this project here, or take any paints/crayons/chalk outside and create under a shady tree.
  2. Get Some Open Ended Toys. Here’s a list of really cool, open ended outdoor toys from Real Mom Recs. Most of them are fairly low-maintenance, low-prep ways to get your kids out and having fun.
  3. Put a Twist on Water Play. This little “fishing” game is the perfect way for your kiddos to practice learning to spell their name while they are getting wet outside.  It does take a bit of initial prep, but once you have it made, you can bring it out any time you need to change up your water play.
  4. Go On a Nature Walk. My kids had always been reluctant to amble around the neighborhood, until we put this fun twist on the standard stroll. Go on a nature walk- give your kids bags to collect items in nature (think flowers, leaves, etc.) and look for wildlife. You can even find printable Nature Scavenger Hunt checklists here to add some more fun and structure to your walk.
  5. Play some old school games. These little games have been around forever- and for good reason! Here is a list of old school games you can play outside with your children (or that they can play with the neighbors while you sit on the porch with a glass of wine lemonade. I’m just saying).
  6. Looking for even more outside fun? Imperfectly Perfect Mama has come up with a list of 50 fun and simple ways to get your kids outdoors.

 

Want to win your own copy of “15 Minutes Outside?” Share this post on the social media platform of your choice (buttons below!) and comment “Shared” here.  Giveaway is sponsored by SourceBooks, the publisher of “15 Minutes Outside.” Open to US and Canada only (sorry, International Salties!). Giveaway will close on Friday, September 29 at midnight PST and the winner will be announced by Sunday, October 1st. Good luck, and happy playing!

Our giveaway has closed, and our lucky winner is Lauren from explorermomma.com. Congratulations, Lauren! We’ll be contacting you soon to find out where to send your copy of 15 Minutes Outside, courtesy of SourceBooks. Thanks again to all who participated, and happy playing!

Effing Four Year Olds, momlife, parenting, The Salties, Why We're Salty

Taylor Swift: Look What You Made ME Do.

 

My daughter is a Taylor Swift fan. Like, a big fan.

She knows the words to pretty much every song on the 1989 album.  She knows what each song is about. She loves her music videos and her “fashion” and her pretty hair and she especially loves to dance to her TS jams. She loved Taylor Swift in the way that only a four year old can.

And now she doesn’t.

I let her listen to the song “Look What You Made Me Do,” recently, thinking she would be excited to hear something from her favorite singer. I thought the beat was catchy, and she could dance to it and learn the words easily.  I knew the video was dark, but I thought as long as I just played the song, the lyrics would be subtle enough to fly right over her head. I figured she’d be bopping and singing along in no time.

But you know what she said? “How come Taylor Swift got mean?”

If you haven’t heard it or seen the video yet, you’ll need to know that it is dark and edgy and the lyrics are full of bite. There are zombies and burglaries and car crashes.  The song is a lot more bitter and a lot harder than anything she’s put out before.   Clearly, she’s trying to reinvent herself.  And look, it is not up to Taylor to be anything for anyone but herself.  It is her life, and her brand, and she can do what she wants with it. That’s her right, and I stand by that. But Lila? Lila doesn’t.

And you know what? I’m kind of with Lila on this one.  You don’t have to get edgier, and sexier, and darker with each album. It’s okay to be kind, and sweet, and keep your optimism no matter what life throws at you. I’m tired of artists feeling like they have to constantly evolve.  You can have a truth and stick to it. You don’t need to keep up with the  Joneses Katy Perrys.  You don’t have to get mean in order to stay popular.  In fact, it may just end up costing you, and some of your fans, a little something in return.

So we’ll keep rocking 1989 in the car, and we’ll keep Shaking it Off. But otherwise, I think we’re done here.  Thanks for the fun, Taylor. It was good while it lasted.

How Taylor Swift's new song,

 

Effing Four Year Olds, momlife, parenting, The Salties, They Said WHAT?

A Teacher Gift You Should Start on NOW

For many of us, school is just getting started.  End of year teacher gifts are FAR off of our radar. We are miles away from Teacher Appreciation Week (thank goodness. It has turned into such a circus, but that’s a post for another day.) The last days of school? Please. Let’s just get through Back to School Night first, am I right?

My teacher has a voice like a buffalo

Except then I had the CUTEST idea. On the first day of school, when I asked Lila how her day was, she said “I need three popsicles. And a nap.” The second day, she said, “When Mrs. D gets mad, she sounds like a buffalo. It’s AWESOME!” And it made me think about all the funny/silly/sweet things my students must have told their parents about me and my classroom, and I desperately wished I could have heard what those things were (I mean, the nice things, of course. I’m not a glutton for punishment. I don’t want to hear about how the kid said I’m a monster, obviously).  

So I decided that I would keep track of the little things Lila reported about at school on a  cute little paper somewhere, and then at the end of the school year, we could gift Mrs. D with a collection of the sweet, crazy, funny little moments that stood out most for Lila. Along with a fat gift card to Target. Because TARGET.

And I can’t just keep something like an adorable printable to myself, so we’ll go ahead and share it with our friends (aka YOU!).  Download the free printable HERE and put it in a safe place where you can add to it throughout the year, and we’ll check back in with you in the Spring to see how it’s going.  Follow the blog to make sure you don’t miss out on the update! End of Year Teacher Gift- Quotes Page

 

Want to make your printable even cuter? Click the link below to purchase a custom copy that includes the student and teacher names of your choice.

Custom Quotes Printable

This custom printable will take your gift to the next level! Simply click through to purchase, and you will be contacted for the names you would like included. We are also willing to make changes to the months and questions for no additional fee.

$2.00

Do you have a kiddo in school? We’d love to hear the funniest thing your child has said about their classroom or teacher in the comments below.

Wow your child's teacher with this easy, printable gift idea from thesaltymamas.com

 

 

Effing Four Year Olds, momlife, parenting, The Salties, Why We're Salty

My Daughter Went Feral (And Not in the Way That’s Trendy Right Now)

My daughter just went full on feral at a birthday party.
One minute, we’re laughing and taking pictures, and the next she’s screaming and clawing and BITING. All because someone “took” the seat she had planned to sit on. I guess I should be grateful she took it out on me instead of the clueless offender, or else I’d never be able to show my face in that circle again. But it’s hard to be grateful for anything when you’re wresting a gnashing alligator that used to be your child in front of a group of people whose opinions and parenting styles you respect.
I mean, what the HELL. If she was a dog we’d be talking about whether or not it’s safe to keep her, but because she’s human, I don’t get a say in the matter. I have to keep her. Safe surrender at a fire station is only good for babies up to three days old. Not that I checked or anything.
But I don’t have to let her keep her cupcake. That bad boy is going right in the trash. It is quite literally the VERY least I could do, on a scale of cupcake tossing to orphanage, so frankly she should be grateful.
Now I’m gonna go nurse my wounds (figurative, luckily, thanks to my seven year career as a bite-dodging-teacher) with a diet Coke the size of my head. Maybe with some vodka in it this time.
Kids know exactly how to embarrass their parents...like by going feral at a birthday party. Read what this hilarious mom did next at thesaltymamas.com!
Effing Four Year Olds, koefoe party of 5, momlife, The Salties

Summer Send-Off

The Salty Mamas reflect on their summers, and they made you this sweet little printable so you and your family can record your summer memories too!

Summer may not officially be over until September 21, but let’s face it: It’s over for us. The kids are in school, the lifeguards are working their last weekend at the beach, and there’s football on the TV today. For all intents and purposes, it’s fall. But before we put on our cozy scarf and grab a pumpkin spice latte, we have a tradition of sitting down as a family and doing a Summer Send-Off.

And now, you can join us! Snag this printable and take a few minutes to capture the best, worst, and most memorable events from your summer!

Record your family's summer memories with this sweet, free printable!

What’s your favorite vacation memory?

Jaymi: We spent an amazing three days at a cabin on some remote coastal property in NorCal. The road trip there was intense, but man was it worth it. No TV, minimal internet, no work, not even toys… Just our little family and our friends, spending the days hiking, rope-swinging, roasting S’mores, and playing at the beach. Pure, unplugged magic.

Christine: On a whim, we decided to go down to San Diego for a night to go to the zoo. They were going to have bands and lights and a special bubble show off this giant bridge and it all sounded like fun. But all my kids wanted in the whole world was to see the hippos. So we walked around, we did the bus tour, but still no hippos. They were on the very very very far side of the zoo through very steep and windy paths. And we were pushing a thousand pounds of stroller. I really wanted to shut it down. We could see them next time. But the kids were insistent. We had to see the hippos. So right before the zoo was closed, we made our way to the right path. And it was DARK. This isn’t like some amusement park where they light everything up – no, this is like the wild. And it was a little spooky. And there were animal noises everywhere. You could barely see. And then we came upon the hippos. And there was no one there. Just us and one beautiful hippo swimming back and forth and back and forth. And my kids were the happiest I’ve seen them in a long time. I was so glad we went looking for the hippo.

What’s something from summer you’d like to forget?

The unnecessary stress I put myself through. I get too worked up over things that are supposed to be all fun and get caught up in the details. I need to try to relax a little!

The Great Potty Training Debacle of Summer 2017 – wherein my 2 year old, who we thought was ready to potty train due to one successful declaration of “I need to pee!” She was NOT apparently because upon us making the effort to train her she decided to go on a two week stint where she would poop consistently – and EXCLUSIVELY – in a pool. Not cool.
 
What will you miss most about the summer?

I am going to miss all the opportunities for free or cheap kids’ activities. Cheap movies, wading pools, late evenings at the park, days at the beach. Anything that got me out of the house and having fun with my kids! And I think I’m going to miss having Lila home with us everyday (I mean, you never know. I could be like, “Thank God It’s Monday” on the regular. Only time will tell!).  Having her home gave us so much flexibility, and so many opportunities for fun, that I know that I’m going to miss her. But summer will be here again before we know it!

I’ll miss our pool being warm enough to swim in everyday. Poop incidents aside, the pool is our favorite thing. And this year I had the added bonus of the big kids both being completely confident swimmers so I could sit on the side and watch them have a great time – and get hella tired. Early morning swims as the sun rose, hot midday swims while the baby napped, sunset swims where I had to beg them to get out to eat dinner and late night y’all should be in bed already swims. Soon the pool will be too cold for us to swim whenever and I’ll sure miss it.
 
What was your best moment of the summer?

 An evening at the wading pool. Hands down. So simple, but I was already nostalgic for it while it was still happening.

Is it so absolutely terrible if my best moment totally did NOT involve my kids?? During our staycation, we had the genius idea of getting a babysitter at the hotel. Vacations are wonderful, but all that togetherness and kids and hotel rooms and everything that makes it into a trip can be forgotten for one brief shining night when you get a babysitter! My husband and I went to Disneyland and went on rides and ate food without managing the needs of the tiny people and had conversations without interruptions and it was the kind of night that makes you realize why date nights really are that important. Which is why over after dinner drinks and some chocolate bread pudding that was bomb.com we decided we needed to make date nights a “thing.” So we did. And I definitely credit it to that one perfect summer night.

 

Now it’s your turn- download the printable and spend some time with your family talking about your summer highs and lows, and then share a little with us in the comments below!

Kids' Activities, parenting, The Salties

10 Amazing Picture Books (That Happen to Feature Children of Color)

This post contains affiliate links. We will get a small percentage off of purchases made off of clicking one of our links. Thank you for supporting the Salty Mamas! We are also thankful for the sponsorship of Sterling Children’s Books, who provided a book for us to give to YOU! Check the bottom of the post for details on how to enter!

As the mother of two children of (varying shades of) color, I am always on the lookout for books that feature main characters of diverse backgrounds. Considering how important it is for kids to see people who like them in print and in the media, it is actually pretty shocking to me how few books feature characters that aren’t white (or aren’t animals for that matter, but that’s a different thing).  And while I love books that explicitly teach kids about differences (Happy in My Skin and It’s Okay to Be Different being two of our favorites), my favorite thing is finding great books where the child’s ethnicity/race/culture is not the focus of the story, but simply a part of who the child is. The character might (and should!) live in a world that is cognizant of their culture, but they are going through things the common kid goes through- like getting a new pet, being scared of monsters, or participating in the school’s science fair.

So, here’s a list of our favorite children’s books that just so happen to feature children of color in a starring role.

Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match

1. Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown

This book may seem to be all about culture (it is written in both English and Spanish), but it also has a great storyline about a little girl who can be whatever she wants to be. From her red hair and brown skin to wearing green polka dots with purple stripes, Marisol McDonald doesn’t care if she matches, as long as she’s being true to herself.

Flower Garden

2. Flower Garden by Eve Bunting

This book is simple but oh-so-sweet, with gorgeous illustrations full of color and short, rhyming verses. It’s a fun, short read that my daughter just loves.

Monster Trouble

3. Monster Trouble by Lane Frederickson and Michael Robertson

When Winifred Schnitzel runs into some Monster Trouble (She’s not afraid, they’re just not letting her sleep!), she puts on her thinking cap and finds a way out of the problem herself. She is a bold and clever little lady, and the rhyming words are fun for me to read. One of Lila’s favorites, for sure!

Too Many Mangoes

4. Too Many Mangos by Tommy Pakai and Don Robinson

This is the sweetest little story about sharing. When Kama and Nani have too many mangos to eat themselves, they share them with the neighbors, and get lots of fun surprises in return. The pictures are just too cute, and there’s plenty of culture without making a thing of it, if you know what I mean.

The Bot That Scott Built

5. The Bot That Scott Built by Kim Norman and Agnese Baruzzi

I love this book, for both the storyline and the STEM tie-ins. Scott builds a spectacular robot for the science fair, but all kinds of chaos starts happening as soon as he introduces it. Luckily, he and his robot are able to save the day. Fun story structure and lots of silly happenings made my daughter giggle out loud, which is actually a rarity.

Mice and Beans

6. Mice and Beans by Pam Munoz Ryan

Abuela is trying to plan a birthday party, but things keep going astray. Little does she know the mice that she is fighting so hard to get rid of are both the problem AND the solution. Very cute, with just a few Spanish words sprinkled in, but the story is what really sings here.

City Shapes

7. City Shapes by Diana Murray

This story has illustrations that are just AMAZING.  The pages are bright and simple, and each one focuses on a different shape for kiddos to find in a cityscape. It’s almost like a seek-and-find book, but with a storyline, too.

Not Norman

8. Not Norman by Kelly Bennett

Poor Norman is a little salty about getting a goldfish as a pet, when what he really wanted was a dog. Through the course of the story, he falls in love with his new pet, and so did my daughter.

You Can Do It, TOo

9. You Can Do It, Too by Karen Baicker

We love this little board book that features a big sister helping her little brother to participate in her daily activities. It’s just a portrait of a normal day, but honestly, that seems to be what my kids relate to most of all (Especially since Lila is on a daily mission to mother her little brother within an inch of his life).

Ada Twist, Scientist

10. Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beatty

Ada is a little girl with a passion for science. She is full of curiosity and “why,” and is a strong and bold little lady who goes after her dreams with abandon. A wonderful role model for kids everywhere, and once again, we are loving the STEM tie-in here.

Thanks to Sterling Children’s Books, one lucky winner (US and Canada only, thanks!) will receive their very own copy of “The Bot that Scott Built.” And trust us- you’re going to love it! To enter, all you need to do is follow our blog (the button is in the sidebar on a desktop, and below this post on your phone) and then comment below with your favorite children’s book.  The contest will close next Friday, September 8th at Midnight, PST. Good luck, and happy reading!

Giveaway closed! Thanks to Sterling Books, who will be sending our lucky winner, Anitra, her own copy of The Bot That Scott Built. Thanks to all who participated, and make sure you are following our blog to ensure you never miss out on a Salty Mamas Giveaway!

Tired of the lack of diversity in children's books? Us, too. Read to find out our favorite picture books featuring lead characters of color.
Effing Four Year Olds, momlife, The Salties, The Wonderful Ones

Introducing the Salties (Part One)

I know every mom thinks their kids are the coolest, and I’m no exception. Mine are pretty awesome.  I mean, most days anyways. Other days I threaten to throw them both in the trashcan twice before 8 am. But that’s for another post. This post is for introducing you to my two little salties, the little cuties that made me a mama and the reason I drink have so much to say on this blog.

lila.jpg

Lila, Age Four- Lila is something.  That little girl started acting up in the womb, pressing her little booty against my tummy and shaking it for all the world to see. We promptly had to change her name from the sweet, demure Caroline we had planned to the takes-on-the-world-and-makes-no-apologies name Lila.  And she has not disappointed. Lila is petite, has this tiny voice, and has an incredible spark. My daughter is smart and fierce, she catches attention everywhere she goes, and is incredibly bossy shows amazing leadership skills. She loves making new friends, and can play with them for hours. She loves fashion and makeup, has five boyfriends at any given time, and loves nothing more than putting on a show for people.  She was born a diva, and she’s still going strong.

abra

Abram, Age One- Abe is still a baby, MY baby, but that doesn’t stop him from taking on the world. He’s a fully grown man trapped in a baby’s body. We call him The Meatball, and I am obsessed with his chubby little cheeks. He is bright and athletic, and is the boyishest boy the world has ever seen. He loves puppies, basketball, and cars. He wants to run, climb, and explore. He is easygoing, but adventurous.  Thank goodness he balances all that male energy with a soft, cuddly side that keeps him within mama’s reach most of the time.  He plays hard and with abandon, and then wants to snuggle in for some hugs and kisses before he’s off again.  He’s as quick with a smile as he is a pout, so Abram is sure to keep you on your toes.

 

So those are my two little Salties, but there’s more where that came from. There’ll be a whole other set of Salties to learn about tomorrow! In the meantime, we’d love to hear more about YOUR little Salties. Drop a comment to tell us about your babies below!

salties