Inside Voices and Inside Feet

inside-feet-and-voices

 With your kids out of school for Christmas break is the activity and noise level way up at your house?  When things get loud, remember it’s useless for mom to yell, “Everyone be quiet”.  Instead remind your kids to use their “inside voice” when they are in the house. If they get chasing each other around the house you can tell them to use their “inside feet”.  If they want to use their outside feet, they need to go outside (this is when I’m so glad I don’t live where is snows a lot!).

Recently I was outside with my grandsons. We had just come out of the Dinosaur Museum (AKA the Museum of Natural History) in down town Mesa. The 3 ½ year old made a loud noise imitating a dinosaur then looked at me to see how I was going to react to the out burst. I said, “Wow, that was loud, it’s a good thing we’re outside so you can use your outside voice”.  For a second he just stared at me, apparently thinking about what I’d said and then a smile slowly crossed his face. Then he let out an even louder roar. I smiled at him and said that sometimes it was nice to be outside where we could use our loud outside voice. His 6-year-old brother saw what was going on and quickly joined the contest to see who could make the loudest noise. My husband was waiting in the car, a little distance away and said he could hear us while he was in the car, with the windows up – yes, they were loud!

Let kids know it’s okay to be loud, or fast, or rowdy, just make sure they know the appropriate time and place to use their loud voice/feet and when they need to tone it down. Using this method helps keep moms from constantly yelling at their kids to settle down in the house.

Is there really a Santa Claus?

Do you remember when you found out there was no Santa Claus? Was it your best friend who told you during recess on the playground? Was it your big brother or sister letting you in on a big secret?

 

Is-Santa-Real

These boys just found out there is no Santa, and they are not taking it well- or are they wishing there was no Santa? (My twin boys: 1984, they’re almost 2 years old)

I don’t remember any exact time being told there was no Santa Claus. But I do remember thinking, “How could one person get to every house in the world in one night?”  And I hate to admit it, but once I found out about Santa I think I liked the power I felt as I became the “informer”. I’m sure I ruined it for several small children whose mom’s were probably mad at me.

So if you have small children, how will you answer when they come right out and ask, “Is Santa real”?

When I had small children I thought it was very important for them to know I would always be truthful with them. Once they got old enough to and ask me, straight out, “Mom, is there really a Santa Claus” I never told them, “Yes, and if you don’t believe, you won’t get any presents”. I did not want them to think I would lie to them at times they came to me for the truth.

Some possible answers I would give were: “What do you think?” (This way you can judge their readiness, are they really wondering or did they just over hear something they don’t understand) or “Santa is the spirit of Christmas, he represents the spirit of giving”, or something neutral. Then, when there were old enough to really want it straight, they would say, “Yes, but is Santa a real person?”  Then I would answer, “No, he’s not a real person, but I still like to think of Santa as part of Christmas. You can be a Santa too, by giving secret gifts. You can give gifts and help keep the spirit of Christmas alive”. This type of answer helps them make the transition. I found it interesting to see how sometimes the kids like to be on the grown up side of knowing the secret.  It’s always good to encourage them to not ruin the excitement for younger children.

On a different (but still connected) note, I don’t think children should “be good” or obedient, to earn presents. I tried not to tell them that if they were naughty Santa would not bring them any gifts. I think behavior and making good choices should be tied to things other than Santa. True, it’s nice to have some extra leverage at times, but wouldn’t you really rather have a technique that lasts all year?

Here’s some other good information Is It Okay to Lie About Santa?  When Santa Stops Being Real  and Open letter to my kids about Santa

Merry Christmas! Enjoy your young children at this time of year. Christmas is so magical seen through the eyes of a child – for me the season is better just watching them.

Kill 2 birds with 1 stone

It’s more like “clean 2 things with 1 soap,” but either way here is another simple tip:

Simple-tips

Use dish soap to clean the bathtub. When I was little, bath time was one of my favorite times! We had play dishes and play food that we’d play with in the tub. I’d make imaginary soups and fill the tiny pitcher with water, which magically turned into punch or hot chocolate. It was even more fun if I got to have bubbles! When a bottle of dish soap was almost empty my mom would let us take it into the bathtub. We’d make bubbles, have a fun toy and bottle, and clean the bathtub all at once! If you use grease fighting soap it will get rid of the ring in your tub!

Children clean: check!  Bathtub clean: check!  Fast, easy, and fun; it’s the perfect combination.

Holiday traditions

traditions

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Traditions can really make the holiday season a fun, wonderful time of the year.  We want to share a few of our favorite traditions with you.  We have also gathered traditions from others.  We hope as you read you will be reminded of your wonderful traditions and possibly find another (or a few) to start doing.

Lindsey here.  I can’t express how much I love this time of the year!  I wait for it all year (and am already sad that it’s almost over when it just barely started…).  I thought I’d share some of my favorite traditions before we shared ones others have shared.

My family helps pass the LONG afternoon before Christmas Eve by playing football at the junior high school down the street.  Then we get Chinese food to take home and eat.

The day before Thanksgiving we make pies at my momma’s house.  This year the nephews joined us.

IMG_0547 IMG_0550

My mom and dad were introduced due to a gingerbread-making class my mom taught.  We now make gingerbread houses every year right after Thanksgiving.  Now that we are grown up, each sibling makes his/her own gingerbread, brings candy and gathers to decorate.

IMG_0559

IMG_0568-1

We debated putting our recipe and pattern here. We ended up not adding it, but if that’s something you’d like, leave a comment or shoot us an email and we’d be HAPPY to get it to you!

Christmas Eve we gather around the Christmas tree at bedtime, turn out the room light, and read the story of the Saviors birth from Luke 2 by the light of the tree lights.

There is a picture book called The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.  At some point during the season we read this aloud as a family.

Christmas morning (despite the fact that more than half my family lives away from home) we meet in my parents’ room around 6:00.  We have a family prayer then walk down the hallway to the living room together.  My dad always goes first so he can turn on the video camera.  We then go around and take turns opening presents.  We all watch as someone opens so that we don’t miss anything and it takes longer than if we all opened at the same time.

My husband’s family has a White Elephant gift exchange every year.  We bring food, eat, visit, steal gifts, and end up with a present at the end of the night.

My husband’s family also does humongous stocking!  You know the stockings that are 3 feet tall?  They use those.  Since they are so huge everyone helps fill them up.  Each family member buys a few things to contribute.  Late Christmas Eve we all go over and put our gifts into the big stocking.  They are usually filled with food, treats, gag gifts, small trinkets, and little gifts.

Whew!  That’s enough with me!  Let’s move on.  Thanks to those who shared their holiday traditions with us.  Here are traditions we have collected from readers, family, and friends:

A 9-year-old girl said they go to their grandparents’ house (in another state) to spend Christmas. On Christmas Eve all the grand kids build a “nest” out of blankets and pillows in the Family Room then lay in it. They watch Christmas movies until they fall asleep.

Several mom’s said their families drive around to look at Christmas lights then drink hot chocolate, on the way home or when they get home.

One reader wrote “Last year, we went Christmas Caroling to widows and widowers we know.  They loved to see our girls!  We sang a couple of song and gave them a card my girls helped make.  Baking was too much for me. We kept the list short so we could visit a few minutes with these sweet people who miss their closest loved one, especially during the holidays.  It was such a sweet experience for us and for them!”

“I like to have my kids make an ornament every year–it can be simple or complex–but have them write their names on them and the year.  My kids love putting them on the tree each year!”

One girl said that her mother re-married and changed all their traditions. She missed the things they used to do. So remember, if you’re blending a family there can be so many changes that keeping traditions the same can be an anchor for the children.

One family reads the book, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Another family eats Mexican food on Christmas Eve and reads the story of the birth of the Savior from Luke 2.

One family in my neighborhood has a number of fun traditions.  They open matching pajamas every Christmas Eve.  They then wear then to bed and match the next morning.  They also read The Little Match Girl by Han Christian Andersen.  During the holiday season, their grandma comes over with a batch of sugar cookie dough; they then cook and decorates cookies with her. In addition to all these wonderful traditions, they play the Right Family Christmas game.  I had never heard of this one and I love it!  They also invite a few family members over to dress up and act out the nativity.  Christmas Eve they always read T’was the Night Before Christmas in the Desert.

Another fun tradition that was shared was a family that goes to see A Christmas Carol every year at the Hale Theatre.  Some years they invite another family, sometimes they enjoy it with just their immediate family.

One of my good friends grandpa owned a hotel.  Christmas is one of the busiest days in that industry.  If her father’s family opened presents on Christmas Day, his dad would miss it.  So they would open presents on Christmas Eve.  Now, 2 generations later they still adhere to that tradition (even though the family is no longer in that business).  Santa still brings one big gift for Christmas morning, but other than that all the presents are opened the night before.

I heard from two separate families that they have a white stocking for Christ.  On Christmas Eve each family member gives a gift to Christ.  It’s supposed to be a way that you will remember Him during the holiday.  They write it on a piece of paper and put it in the stocking.  It could be anything from being nicer to a family member, to being more helpful to others.

Many families shared that they eat a fancy dinner Christmas Eve.  They have a ham, use China, and have a nice big family dinner.

A Christmas Eve hike with a fire on the top of the mountains is a tradition for one family.  At the top as they are around the fire, they talk about forgiveness and tell stories.

A couple families who have private pilots in their families fly over Christmas lights at night.

A friend told me about her sister who has an enchanting tradition.  She, her husband, and young child had just moved across the country for her husband to start attending Harvard.  Money was incredible tight that year.  Since they couldn’t afford a tree of any other decorations she decided to make her own decorations.  She took newspapers and old school textbooks and cut out paper snowflakes.  She hung them ALL over the house.  Since then (over 20 years ago), the whole family makes snowflakes each year.  They pick their favorite one each year, write their name and the date.  They have saved snowflakes from EACH year and when they decorate, their living room is covered with snowflakes from all the years.

What ever your traditions are, we hope that you have a wonderful season!  Thanks for stopping by and have a happy holiday!