Monday, August 29, 2011

Good-Bye Jerry - I Love You!

I will be out this week. My Uncle Jerry passed away last night of cancer and I am flying out this afternoon, with my sister, for California to help my mother with his affairs and bring her home. Death is never an easy thing on a family, but ironically it is one thing that can bring you closer together.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Know Your Children's Parents

Guest Writer: MJ Smout

Being a single parent I found it important to become friends with the parents of my children’s friends.  No matter how hard a person tries, it is impossible to raise a child entirely alone.  Extended family can be a great help, but friends are also valuable.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Man Cave: The First Ten

Regular Man Cave readers already know I'm big on spending as much time with kids as possible in order to seize teaching opportunities when they occur. Since it's the kids who choose them they can be tough to predict, but I've found certain moments to be more likely than others.

Especially the first ten.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Schedule Time Together

Aaron and I took off last weekend together.... alone. I bought a Groupon voucher months ago for a buy one, get one night free, to a neighboring city and we finally used it. It was so nice to be away from everything: kids, phones, work, house chores - just out with only the two of us. 

Whether it's a weekend or an hour, scheduling time for each other is really important.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Make A Splash Kid Style

It's hot. You want to cool off. Hmmm.... what to do. I have the answer. Head out to the store and buy one of those cheep little kid pools and fill 'er up. It's amazing how cool you will get just sitting around in one of those babies. It's inexpensive to buy, doesn't take too much water to fill and is perfect.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Go To The Drive-Ins

Remember the days of yester-year, when you would get on your jammies, pile the back seat of the station wagon with pillows and blankets, cram a bag full of popcorn, Jr. Mints and Woppers and head off to the dive in? Create those memories today with your kids.

Friday, August 19, 2011

5 Great Popsicle Recipes

I just got done creating a new office for myself. I am LOVING it. I moved all of my stuff into my dining room and created a smaller eating area in the kitchen. It is suiting our needs much better now that it is just Aaron and I most of the time.

I am sitting here at my computer, in the sunshine. That is the best part of this whole move, it is super open and sunny here in this little spot. It has me craving a Popsicle of all things - who'd have guessed. So, in honor of my craving, here are 10 recipes for you to try.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Man Cave: My Name is Aaron, and I Was Bullied

I was a scrawny kid. I was a poor kid. I was a kid who wore thrift-store clothes and home-style haircuts. I was also a very smart kid, hand-picked for the school's "gifted program". Until the fifth grade I lived in rural Idaho, where such "flaws" were more easily overlooked. Despite my resume I was well-liked and had many friends. When I was 11 my family moved to a rough neighborhood just south of Seattle.

That's when I became a new kind of kid: a target.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Head Off To The Aquarium

Pack a lunch and head out to visit some of our water friends. Make it more of an adventure by researching some of the animals you will be seeing before you go. It will be more fun for the kids to know a bit about each animal as they watch them.

Monday, August 15, 2011

6 Safety Tips: Kids DO Die In Hot Cars

With us being in the full swing of August, and most of the country having record high temperatures this year, I have been slightly nagged to do a blog post on infant deaths in hot cars. The statistics are staggering, and they are not all cases of neglected kids left for hours in a car while mom is out having a good time. Most involve normal kids from normal families, and could have been prevented with just a few simple safety measures.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Star Gazing

We are heading out for an overnight camping trip and are going to get to do one of my favorite things of the summer: lay outside in a sleeping bag and just gaze at the stars.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dropping My Baby Off At College Isn't Gonna Be Easy

I'm a wreck this week. I was wondering if it was the weather just really starting to bring me down, lots on the "to do" list or just being burned out. I did have an epiphany yesterday though, and I think I have nailed it down. I will be loosing my best friends soon. (tears!)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Man Cave: Playing it Cool, Grandpa Style

I got a new car last week. It's red.

Sitting in the "closing room" at the dealership I couldn't help but think back to the first car I ever bought. My grandpa cosigned. I remember being overwhelmed and nervous, while grandpa sat there in his ostrich-skin cowboy boots, one leg kicked over the other, looking as cool as the other side of the pillow.

Now I get it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Show and Tell - Summers Past

I ran across this picture the other day, and since I am in full swing with summer here on Family Strong, I thought I would share it. My little chick-a-dees getting ready for a day at the beach.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sponge Ball

Here is a great way to have fun playing catch and cooling off all in one. I have seen this idea floating around for a few years, but have just never gotten around to making one. Don't ask me why, it's simple and so inexpensive that I really don't have an excuse as to why: you know how it is. But, seriously, next time my niece and nephew are here on a sunny day, we are totally doing them. Get ready Marylinn, cause you're goin' down!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Camping In The Backyard

Like I talked about yesterday in Mini-Marshmallow Madness, doing something out of the ordinary can turn a regular activity into something even more fun. To keep the kidos busy and happy for a day or two, set up the tent in the backyard and let them have a camp out.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mini Marshmallow Madness

It's amazing how fun a regular activity can become when you put a simple little twist onto it: like roasting mini marshmallows instead of regular ones.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Drive-Through Hopping

I went out with Jess yesterday, and we did something that was actually much more fun than it sounds. We went Drive Through Hopping.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Swim In The Tub

For most of us in the country it's down right sweltering outside. I have seen temperatures out there soaring into the Mid 120's - guess I won't complain any more about our weather in the mid 70's ;o).

No time to go to the pool or lake and the kids complaining of the heat? Here's an idea: put their suits on and just stick them in the tub full of cold water. Worked for my kids when they were little. It's cool, unusual and fun.... and kids are usually easy to please. Win win. They are cooling off and you have time to get some things done around the house.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Man Cave: Practicing Integrity

That phrase "man of integrity" is akin to "anything worth doing is worth doing right". It is one of those glib, grandpa-inspired quotes cheapened by overuse. Too often used, too seldom analyzed.

So let us go boldly where no man has gone before....

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

National Chocolate Chip Day

Well, apparently chocolate chips are so important they get two days per year. In trying to figure out which day is really chocolate chip day, I just gave up and decided - why not celebrate on both days?! May 15th and August 4th seem to be the two days in question. But, since tomorrow is the latter of the two, here is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe for you to celebrate with. Enjoy chocolate chip day!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

3-2-1-Blast Off!

Remember the days of yester-year, when you were in grade school, and you spent meticulous hours building and decorating your rocket for science class? Then the day came: launch day. The excitement in the classroom that morning was electric and every kid proudly displayed their creations and couldn't wait until their turn, to boldly go where all the kids before them went. Create that excitement in your home by launching your own rockets.

Monday, August 1, 2011

August Holidays

The last month of summer. Hopefully everyone has been having a great time with family while the kids are home from school. Here are some ideas to keep you going for the rest of the season until the kids head back to the classrooms.