Tag Archives: wahms

How-To’s Day: Five creative coloring crafts

On a good day my kids will spend a half-hour or more at the table with their crayons and blank paper, creating original artwork. But most days straight coloring doesn’t get quite the enthusiastic reaction it used to. So, I’ve been trying to get creative with our coloring. Forget the scrap paper and coloring books; we’ve been working on a few ideas that will get your kids begging for their art supplies.

1. Paper plates. Or lunchbags or whatever funky paper products you have lying around. For whatever reason, coloring on an irregular paper surface multiplies the excitement level by at least three.

2. Butcher paper on the wall. I picked up my roll of white butcher paper at Paper Plus in Mesa and I tape it to the table, the wall and any other crazy surface I can think. The kids love coloring on the wall and fill every square inch on the paper.

3. Cardboard Shuttle Imagination from KidsCraft Playhouses. My kids had an absolute blast with this space shuttle! And so did the rest of the neighborhood. They spent days decorating this thing between trips to the moon and I had neighborhood moms calling to ask me what their kids were chattering on about. For girls or boys who are not so interested in space travel, KidsCraft Playhouses carries a Creation Cottage playhouse.

4. Gift wrap. For the most part, we don’t buy wrapping paper. My kids make it. For big gifts we use the same butcher paper I use to tape to the wall. For smaller gifts we use sheets of packing paper, also found at Paper Plus. The kids use crayons, markers, water colors, glitter and whatever else we have handy. If they know their work is going around someone’s present my kids get extra creative and artistic.

5. Sock monsters. My friend the super-midwife, Brittani Hamilton, suggested this one a couple of weeks ago. We cleaned the sock drawer of old and mismatched socks and the kids each picked one to decorate. The holey ones are the most fun because fingers can poke through, acting as horns or claws.

If most of your crayons are busted nubs, be sure to check out how to create your own Recycled “Swirly” Crayons right at home.

Disclaimer: Shuttle Imagination provided by KidsCraft Playhouses for media review.

How To-sday: 8 ways to keep your kids busy so you can get stuff done

For me, working from home doesn’t mean I have a nanny in the other room watching my babies. I don’t have my husband at home working in the other room. For me, working from home means I am mothering and working at the same time.

So, you might ask, where are my kids when I’m interviewing mompreneurs or neurosurgeons or child welfare program directors? Today I’m going to tell you.

Please note that these methods can also be applied when mommy needs a shower, some space, or to finish the last couple of pages of her book. I will ask again, does this make me a bad mom? I don’t think so. I think it makes me a resourceful mom who gives her children lots of opportunities to grow their independence. At least that’s what I tell myself. So here are my 8 keys to freedom, in no particular order:

1. Play-Doh. Moms don’t love Play-Doh. Why? Because it’s messy, it’s messy and it’s messy. And it travels. I find Play-Doh all over my house; on the bottom of shoes, under couch cushions and smashed into bed-sheets. So I don’t get it out too often. When I do, my kids are glued and I can get through almost 15 minutes of a conversation before I am interruped. 15 minutes! That’s like two-and-a-half days in mommy time.

2. Butcher paper. I keep a big roll of butcher paper in my closet and once every so often (not too often or the shine wears off and you will lose minutes) I tear off a sheet, tape it to the wall and plop a bucket of crayons down next to it. It’s been really cool to see the things my kids have created together this way. Unfortunately, crayon tends to stray off the edge of the paper sometimes but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

3. SpongeBob. I don’t like SpongeBob but my kids do, so we compromise. I don’t let them watch it regularly but once every few weeks when I really need some time. And I get it!

4. Pbskids.org. Or “p-b-s dock ord,” according to Jack. This is brilliant because my kids will sit right next to me, one computer over, quietly sharing and learning for as long as I will let them.

5. Print some coloring sheets of your kids’ favorite things — for mine, it’s dinosaurs or Bakugans — and put them at the table with the crayons. Just google “dinosaur coloring sheets” or “spiderman coloring pages” to find just the right thing.

6. Keep a box of toys up out of your kids’ reach (for me it’s a special set of Legos) to pull down only on occasions when you need their attention completely diverted.

7. Believe it or not, this one really works and is my favorite for obvious reasons: Give your child a wet washrag or two or a small stack of baby wipes and assign him or her to wipe all the smudges off the walls. You will have to point them out in the beginning but this is one of my kids’ favorite things to do and will keep them busy for quite a while. And since they are only cleaning up their own handiwork you can feel like you are teaching them to take responsibility for themselves as well.

8. Popsicle sticks! Popsicle sticks and glue, popsicle sticks and markers, whatever the combination just add popsicle sticks and you’re good. Throw in pipe cleaners and it’s a party!

Once the fun of any of these activities wears off, be ready with a small stash of fruit snacks, string cheese, fruit leather or anything that will give you just a minute or two more to wrap up your project and you’re set!

I know I didn’t think of everything, so I will likely run a similar list again. Work-at-home-moms, what did I miss?

What good moms do

I left my kids to go to work today. Not with their dad or grandma… with a sitter. This is something I swore I would never do. I’m a stay-at-home mom. That kind of mom. I’m not a go-to-work and leave my kids kind of mom. If I only go once a week does that really count? And when I work at home and I can’t cater to my kids every need and they are sitting in front of the TV what kind of mom does that make me?

When my oldest son was born I had very clear ideas of what attitudes and behaviors warrant placement in the good mom and bad mom categories. Good moms, I ascertained, are excited to stay home with their kids all the time. They sit on the floor and engage their kids in stimulating cognitive activities, shape sandwiches with cookie cutters and plan arts and crafts to foster those fine motor skills. Good moms don’t need hobbies or distractions or any kind of personal fulfillment because their kids are fulfillment enough… top priority at all times. Good moms never complain about motherhood or anything attached to it. They don’t need to get away from their kids, ever. Moms that do, of course are selfish and unenlightened. Right?

As usually happens in any aspect of my life where I have things “all figured out” I turned out to be oh so very, very wrong. It is true that good moms do many of those things listed above. And many feel very fulfilled doing just that. Other good moms go to work every day to teach children math or build airplanes or enforce the law. Good moms love their kids. They love them wherever they are every where they go.

When good moms must leave their kids, they take great pains to make sure they are safe, well cared for and enriched. Good moms take care of themselves. They chase dreams. They teach their children to do what inspires them, to work hard and never to give up. When good moms go home, they snuggle with their kids, learn about their day, and make up for lost time.

Do I have to be a particular kind of mom? Don’t make me choose. Can I just be a good mom because I love my children, pray for them and do everything in my power to raise them right? I want to be a good mom. But I also want to be a good me. A happy me. Can the two co-exist? I like to think so.

What do you think?