Monthly Archives: December 2010
Happy New Year to you and your family!
Thank you for spending part of 2010 with Kolcraft. We look forward to celebrating with you all that 2011 has to offer from Wally and Wanda Wonderbug and other baby products to those special moments of your parenting journey that you share with us.
May 2011 bring you and your loved ones health and happiness!
2010 is coming to a close and 2011 is right around the corner whether we are ready or not! With a New Year comes an opportunity to start anew, to get a fresh take on old habits and have a change for a good old fashion “do over.”
We asked the parents and grandparents at Kolcraft to let us know what their parenting resolutions are for 2011. We wanted to share them with you. Some of them are very creative and give a wonderful start to 2011.
- Family Traditions – My New Year’s resolution as a mom and grandma is to carry on more traditions and to document more events and family history. Simple traditions like decorating the family tree together or building a gingerbread house form memories that last forever. I often wish I had kept more photos and asked more questions of my dad, grandparents, and also my husband’s family, who have all passed on. As you get older, you get more curious about family history, and much of the information gets lost from generation to generation. I am going to keep more photos and journals for my family. -TH (editor’s note. We LOVED this resolution because it leaves a legacy for her whole family to enjoy!)
- Taking Time – My resolution is to be more patient with my kids by taking a few minutes each day to recharge my mommy battery. - MS
- Going High Tech - Our grandson lives 6 hours away and we don’t get to see him nearly as much as we want to. We are going to get a video camera and connect with our son via skype so we can see our grandson more often! -RB
- Date Nights - It’s easy to get caught up in the kid’s activities and schedules that my husband and I find it hard to spend time on our marriage. We are going to try to have date nights once a month. They don’t have to be expensive, it may even be having a glass of wine together after the kids go to bed, but it’s time for us to nurture our marriage. -NL
- Healthy Meals – I am going to try to plan our family menu out at the beginning of the week so I plan healthier meals. If I don’t plan, I end up relying on fast food. – PM
- Hugs - I will hug, smile, and tell my child I love them at least once a day. -CS
- Education – I will encourage my grandsons to study hard and work towards college. – CH
What parenting resolutions do you have?
Starting the year together as a family can be fun and doesn’t have to involve waiting around until midnight. You can have your very own ball dropping to ring in the New Year with a few kid-friendly activities.
- Set your clocks ahead a few hours so you can have a countdown to midnight without having your kids up past their bedtime.
- Make a New Year’s buffet made up of your children’s favorite finger foods.
- Have a board game challenge. Set up board game stations around your house. Play one round at each game and keep the night moving with everyone having a turn to play their favorite game.
- Spend some time sharing as a family your new year’s resolutions. You can make a special new year’s resolution jar where each member writes down their resolution and puts it in the jar. Throughout the year you can pull out the jar and remember the one thing you want to do that year to improve yourself.
- Create your own ball to drop from a stairway or have an adult stand on a chair and drop it. All you have to do is blow up a balloon and decorate it with glitter glue for a sparkly New Year’s Eve ball drop at “midnight”.
- Make your own noise makers (craft below) and crowns to wear at your countdown.
Her is a fun DIY New Year’s Eve noise maker for your family that you may remember from your kindergarten days.
Materials you will need:
- Empty plastic water bottle or dish soap bottle
- Beans, beads or other items to place inside (be sure these are not accessible to children under 3 years of age)
- 1 sheet white tissue paper
- Scraps of tissue paper in various colors, cut into small squares
- Non-toxic glue
- Scissors for adult use only
- Place a handful of beads or beans inside the clean, dry water/soap bottle. Run some glue around the mouth of the bottle and replace the cap.
- Make a mixture of 1/2 white craft glue and 1/2 water that will be enough to cover the bottle a few times over.
- Tear white tissue paper into large chunks, approximately 4”x2”.
- Paint a small section of the outside of the water bottle with the glue mixture. Place a torn piece of white tissue paper onto the glue mixture and paint over it with the glue mixture. Repeat this process, covering the entire bottle with 2-3 coats of white.
- Apply small colorful squares of tissue paper randomly over the white tissue paper to resemble confetti.
- Cut ribbon and carefully tie one of the pieces around the neck of the bottle. Repeat with other lengths of ribbon. Use scissors to cut each length to about 4” hanging length, and then cut upwards into thin strips. Allow to dry for several hours.
What ideas do you have to ring in the New Year with your children?
It’s that time of year when we all make resolutions to eat healthier, exercise and live a more stress-free life. Sometimes by January 2nd our best resolve fizzles in a heap of tiredness. Staying fit as a mommy and especially during pregnancy doesn’t have to be impossible. We love the following sites that have some easy-to-follow guides to becoming your most fit self!
- Fit Pregnancy has prenatal and postnatal workouts that are sure to be a hit for the New Year!
- Baby Center sheds some light on pregnancy workouts.
- New Parent shares some reminders of how to embrace wellness after you give birth.
- Parenting provides a weekly workout schedule to keep you fit and firm!
- American Baby site has a wealth of information from treadmill workouts to mommy yoga.
What is your favorite workout or way to keep fit in the New Year?
My Silly Monkeys is a blog full of humor, inspiration and great giveaways. We recently had the chance to catch up with Jess and chat. It’s no easy task since she is mom to 5 beautiful little bundles of energy. We were glad we were able to get to know her a little better and we know you will enjoy her too!
You have been a single mom, are now running a full house with 5 children, and are with the love of your life, raising a large family. What surprises have you found on this journey?
Life is full of surprises! I have learned to always expect the unexpected. In other words, never think you know everything in life because things change in the blink of an eye. I never expected to be a divorced single mom to 3 little boys or to be where I am today! I think our biggest surprise has been finding out that our last baby was a girl! After myself having 4 boys and a step-son I never imagined I would have a baby girl!
What family “lessons” would you say you are all learning by bringing together you and your fiancé’s families?
You have to keep an open mind and learn to trust your partner. I think every family, no matter the dynamics or size, has their ups and downs. You just have to figure out what works for your family. Our biggest struggles have been figuring out parenting styles and teaching the children to get along. I’m not a huge religious person but in the end I always have to remember that love is what keeps me going and to trust in God.
What has been your biggest challenge and your greatest joy as a mom?
My biggest challenge is finding time for myself. The greatest joy of all is the love I not only feel in my heart, but also the love I give to my children. They are my life and when they come running up saying “I love you, Mommy!” it’s the absolute best feeling in the world!
What is your secret to raising a large family and keeping perspective?
I never dreamed of having such a large family. Growing up I always wanted 3 kids. I never hung out with anyone with a large family, and my family only consists of 3 kids, so this has been a totally new experience for me. Finding time to work with each child individually is very important! I want my kids to grow into successful, respectful adults which means I have to be consistent and respectful of them. I would never say that I am the best mom in the world, in fact some days I feel as though I have failed miserably as a mom. Raising kids is hard, but with much love and respect I can hope that my children will grow into fantastic human beings!
Your blog is quite popular. What excites you the most about your blog?
I am so grateful for all of my readers, the companies I work with, and the friendships I have because of my blog, but the thing that excites me the most is the joy of others. I feed off it and it makes me so happy to make someone else happy.
Any upcoming events that you are looking forward to on your blog?
YES! January brings A Blogtastic Extravaganza! (A.B.E. for short) I have put together a group of about 100 blogs that all will have awesome prize packages to be won! My specific theme is “A New You!” focusing on products to be a happier, healthier you in 2011! I also have my daughters first birthday in March that I will be putting together an awesome event for!
Jess at a glance:
What is something that is always in your fridge? 2 of our favorite meals are tacos or spaghetti so I’d have to say tortilla shells or Parmesan cheese!
What is your favorite Kolcraft product? About 5 years ago I bought a Kolcraft Contours Options Tandem stroller that we have loved. It’s great for trips to the zoo, park, etc. For cuteness factor I think the WonderBug activity center would have to win!
What is your best “sanity” break to recharge your parenting battery? Being a mom is hard stuff! I hardly ever have a minute truly to myself so when I do get that minute I tend to dive into a good book or bake!
If someone was going to make a movie of your family’s life, what would the title of the movie be? My Wild Life With 4 Boys & A Girl…or just My Silly Monkeys
Thank you for sharing your parenting journey with us! If anyone has questions or comments for Jess, feel free to leave them on our blog!
Last week Kolcraft celebrated the holidays with good food, sing-alongs, raffles and lots of laughs. We love to celebrate our Kolcraft family and all our wonderful customers who inspire us to put out must-have, quality baby products.
Here is a little glimpse into our celebration.
If you or your kids still believe in Santa, we thought you would like the NORAD Santa tracker. It’s a fun way to get your kids excited about the upcoming holiday(as if they need any help!).
The site counts down the days until Santa comes, has a Google Santa tracker and has all sorts of fun SantaVillage games such as Holiday crosswords, mazes, etc.
Check out the site with your children and watch the magic and delight of Santa light up their faces.
What ways do you get your children exciting about Santa’s visit?
Those Holiday spirits can be tempting this time of year, but if you are pregnant and trying to resist alcohol you may feel at a loss of what to do. Not to fear, our list of 6 yummy preggo cocktails is here!
We love these drink alternatives found at Babble.com. Another added benefit? Calorie savings!
Check them out here – tasty festive drinks for pregnant mommies.
As parents we all deal with a lot of challenges. We have so many choices as parents – what can I do to keep my child healthy, how do I share with my child family values, what is best for their cognitive development, what about their social development? And the list goes on…. Imagine for a moment all your parenting responsibilities and then thrown on top of it dealing with an incurable disease. We met such a mom on Twitter. ShakyMommy is dealing with Parkinsons – a non-curable disease that attacks the neurological system. There are no cures for it; only medications with terrible side effects to control it. That doesn’t deter Brandi who is a loving mom to 3 beautiful children and a baby boy on the way.
You were diagnosed back in 2009. Were you feeling ill? What brought you to get tested for Parkinson’s disease?
I have had a tremor in my right hand for years. It had progressively become worse and more noticeable to those around me. I was chronically exhausted and had muscle aches that seemed to be unrelated to my daily activities. When I started falling down stairs, and even just falling down while walking, we realized there was something wrong with my balance. My husband began to think that my symptoms might be related and encouraged me to see a neurologist.
What was your first reaction when you heard the news? How did you tell your children?
I was just relieved to have an answer. Parkinson’s is rare in people my age so I had to see several doctors before getting a diagnosis. After searching for a cause, it was nice to have a doctor recognize that the symptoms were connected and give me a name for it. To officially diagnose the Parkinson’s, I was placed on the medication that treats it. So for the first time in years, my symptoms had gone away and I actually was starting to feel somewhat “normal.”
My kids are still young, so I have not had to tell them very much. My oldest, who just turned 8 and is by nature a very curious child, has had the most questions. She had noticed my tremor and picked up on the fact that I was going to the doctor a lot. When she asked, we told her that I have a disease inside my brain that makes me shake and that it sometimes makes me very tired and sore. We reassured her that I am not going to die and that I will be around for a long time to take care of her. I feel like the most important thing I can do for my kids, especially at this stage of their life, is make sure they know that I’m going to be here for them for a long time.
Would you say Parkinson’s has impacted your parenting? What have been the challenges? Have you experienced any hidden blessings?
Parkinson’s has definitely impacted my parenting. The biggest challenge I have faced is in not being able to do everything I want to do. For example, we took the kids to an amusement park this past summer. We had only been there a couple of hours but it was a hot day and became too much for me and we had to leave. I felt like I had ruined the day! We have since learned to plan our outings in smaller increments and to be realistic about what we can accomplish. We also have learned that PD is unpredictable. I might have a really great day and be able to handle hours of activity or I might wake up that morning and be so sore I can’t leave the house. My kids are great – they have been very flexible and understanding when we have to cancel or shorten outings.
As for hidden blessings, I’m definitely more grateful for the good days when I’m feeling good and make a point of doing fun things with my family on those days. If it weren’t for the bad days, I might not appreciate the good days as much as I do.
You are pregnant now with a baby boy due in February. Pregnancy has so many ups and downs. How have you be able to cope with pregnancy and Parkinson’s challenges?
I don’t really look at it as coping. This is my life and I try to live it the best I can. I went through a time when I was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s when I was constantly thinking “This isn’t fair!” as I would encounter situations or tasks that were becoming challenging for me. When I thought I might not be able to get pregnant because of Parkinson’s, I was disappointed and angry. I really wanted a baby. So once the doctors told me that Parkinson’s would not affect a baby’s development, I wanted to go ahead and get pregnant. I was determined not to let Parkinson’s dictate every step of the rest of my life. We have had to make some accommodations for this disease and will likely continue to have to do that in the future, but I didn’t want it to steal away my dreams.
Knowing this is my last pregnancy, I’ve tried to just enjoy being pregnant, even when that means being uncomfortable or sick. I have learned to focus on the things that really matter each day, like taking care of the kids and myself. I have learned to let my husband do more for me and I have learned to change my expectations of myself. When I first got pregnant with this baby, my husband would caution me to take it easy and I would start to remind him how much I did during prior pregnancies. I was trying to go through this pregnancy with the same expectations of myself and quickly learned that I can’t do things that way. With my other pregnancies, I didn’t cut back on any social activities; I didn’t take naps or do anything differently. I had the nursery decorated and set up by the time I was 7 months pregnant. I haven’t been able to do things that way this time. I’ve learned to pass on extra activities. I lay down as soon as I start to feel tired. In general, I just focus on growing a healthy baby and letting my body get the extra rest it needs right now.
Any advice for parents who are struggling with sickness while they parent?
Don’t let your illness define you. Enjoy the good days with your kids and take advantage of opportunities to teach them that while your illness may be an obstacle to be overcome, it’s not the end of life as you know it.
Brandi at a glance:
What is something that is always in your fridge? Lemon juice- I use it to flavor my water and my green tea.
What is your must have product during pregnancy? I have a few: crackers and almonds for nausea, a doctor who trusts my instincts, and a very helpful husband
What is your best “sanity” break to recharge your parenting battery? My favorite way to recharge is with a trip to the beach. Even when we take the kids with us, the beach is just so relaxing for me! We aren’t able to get away often, so when at home, I recharge by getting lost in a good book.
If someone was going to write a book of your life, what would the title be? Shaky Mommy Surprises Herself