Things to do on Mother’s Day

It is that time of year again when mothers begin to stock pile their Kleenex and practice their expressions of surprise and endearing smiles in the mirror.  When little ones bring home macaroni necklaces and Fruit Loop bracelets, clay plaques with imprints of their little hands, and priceless placements that claim mom is 20 years older than she really is….true story, my daughter claimed that I was 53 years old…I know I look tired but come on-haha!

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If you haven’t guessed I am talking about Mother’s Day!  Mother’s Day is a day filled with emotion, love, and sometimes a little added stress. While we appreciate every last Fruit Loops our little ones so delicately placed on that yarn it is the inevitable question, “what do you want to do for mother’s day?” that can send our heart rates racing. My first thought when I hear this question is, ‘WHY!’ As Moms we, well, make the world go around, or at least it feels that way most of the time. We are responsible for so many things, people, and events.  The last thing I want to do on Mother’s day, a day that is supposed to honor and celebrate all that hard work and responsibility we do year round, is be responsible or in-charge of that day too! But then again what is the alternative? Dad decides what we do for Mother’s Day?

 

 

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I have suddenly had a change of heart; I will gladly take on the responsibility of Mother’s Day. So I did a little research and it turns out there is so much to do on Mother’s Day. For example, did you know that moms get into practically every zoo, science institute, museum, etc. for free!! How awesome is that? Obviously all these places clearly appreciate us so much that they are giving us free admission for a relaxing day by ourselves, now that is a mother’s day.

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Upon further evaluation it has come to my attention that their intent is for a fun family day. To be clear that means you, your husband, and kids.  What was I thinking? I mean come on, what kind of Mother wants to spend Mother’s Day alone…like it’s all about her…not me that’s for sure!

So, I have collated a list of fun events, free admissions, and the like, in hopes of laying out all my options when it comes to how I want to celebrate Mother’s Day/weekend (some events are Saturday only):

Brunch….

Call up moms favorite restaurant or nearby hotel, lodge, etc. and see if they are serving a special brunch or meal for moms.

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  The Henry Ford Dearborn, MI

Elegant. Classy. Affordable. Delicious. A Mother’s Day to Remember. Treat Mom to an elegant Mother’s Day Brunch in Michigan’s most beautiful ballroom – Henry Ford’s private ballroom in Lovett Hall.
The meal is memorable. And the setting? One-of-a-kind. Crystal chandeliers, vaulted ceilings, a terrazzo lobby and a grand staircase. Magnificent! Just what Mom deserves. You’ll dine on a sumptuous menu prepared by The Henry Ford’s award-winning culinary staff.

Toledo Zoo info below

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Shopping….

The Town Center at Levis Commons…….

Levis Commons is here to make all your Mothers Day dreams come true.  One place to soak up all the “mom” time you can handle.  Venetian Nail Spa, Salvatore Capelli, endless dining options, and if you really cant ditch the kids for the day, Kidz Watch can take them off your hands for a few hours!

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Imagination Station….

Open from 12pm-5pm and when the kids come with her, Mom gets in FREE*!

Join us in Science Studio where you can learn about chromatography and make a special butterfly magnet to take home for your Mom.

Bring the whole family down and celebrate together, exploring, discovering and creating at Imagination Station.

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The Toledo Museum of Art…..

Sun, May 12, 12:00pm – 5:30pm

Free, fun, and open to everyone! The TMA Family Center, located in the education wing near the Plough entrance, is the perfect place for our youngest Museum visitors to make and take memories with their parents and caregivers. Drop in for themed activities that enliven the world of art for kids ages 1-10 (and even grown-ups!). Theme :Tell a story by creating symbols and shapes that represent something personal to you.

Art Hour: Create a Glass Flower- Sun, May 12, 4pm – 5pm and 5pm-6pm

Description:  @ the Glass Pavilion -Buy tickets ($15 members/$30 nonmembers; no refunds) in person or by phone during Museum hours starting the Tuesday before each session. Adults and children 14+ with an adult are welcome. Call (419) 254-5771 ext. 7448. NOTE: Most items created in Art Hours require a 24-hour annealing (finishing) process. Therefore, they must be picked up at a later date

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The Rep….

MOMologues Poster

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The Toledo Zoo….

This Mother’s Day, show your mom she’s the best—and show her the world! All mothers receive free admission when their kids bring them to the Zoo.

Give Mom a great Mother’s Day experience by taking her to the Zoo. You can also treat her to our superb Mother’s Day Brunch that takes place in our Nairobi Pavilion. Brunch details

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The Movies…..

Go out and see a movie with the family or stay in and watch home movies. Rave Motion Pictures…..Maumee Indoor Theater

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Mother Nature….

Pack a picnic and head to the park for the day. Go on a trail, explore, and enjoy nature with the family. Or grab your gardening gloves and get that veggie garden started. Metroparks of the Toledo Area

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Volunteer/service….

Spend time volunteering together.  Serve dinner at a locale shelter, donate items, help plant a garden, clean up litter, etc.

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Get Crafty…..

In2Art

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Open Saturday 11am-4pm Walk-ins welcomed

Paint your own pottery of make a wet clay project with the kiddos.

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Edible Art Work!

At the Sugar Shop can you choose from 3 dozen different shaped clear containers and fill the containers with any mix of the 150 available sugar flavors including, root beer, blue raspberry, extreme sour, cappuccino, peach cobbler, etc.

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The Scrap Box

Saturday 10am-2pm

The Scrap Box is a store filled with hundreds of interesting objects: ribbons; buttons; beads; paper; colorful rip-stop nylon; sturdy paper tubes 6 inches long; bamboo-like sticks; yellow spongy cylinders; and little foam squigglies.

Best of all: these items are for sale at very reasonable prices. 

 Using sticky-back foam to create an imaginary critter with plastic caps for eyes and shredded paper for hair is recycling at its best. It’s called upcycling, the ultimate form of re-use. Anyone can turn a recyclable item into something of greater value, and thus, do upcycling

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Go to the Library…..

Family – Mommy and Me Tea

Saturday May 11th 2-3pm

You are cordially invited to an afternoon tea party in honor of mothers everywhere. Children of all ages are welcome to attend with their moms or special grown-up lady friend. Dress your best and be prepared to enjoy games, crafts, and of course, tea and scones!

Location:  West Toledo Auditorium  (need to register)

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Have fun with the kids in the kitchen…..

Bake muffins or cookies and let kiddos decorate them just for mom.

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Super Suppers….

Sat, May 11, 12:00pm – 3:30pm

Super Suppers (map)
Description: Children ages 4+ can come make monthly menu entrees from *12-3:30pm every Saturday of the month. We hope to see you here!
*Appointments encouraged to be guaranteed entree availability (especially braided breads) or you can walk in and choose from entrees available to make that day. There are up to 12 entrees each month to make!
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And there is so much more…
So, what are your plans for Mother’s Day? Or, better yet, what would your dream Mother’s Day look like?

Friendships: Real, Fake, and Facebook

The other day the children had a friend over for a play date.  I was in the other room when I overheard one of the children claim that they would no longer be the other child’s friend if they did not give them a certain toy. I chuckled to myself. It is rather amusing how we regard friendships when we are young.  By simply sharing a toy, or, as my daughter has attested to numerous times, a treat from your lunchbox you instantly have a BFF. Now, mind you that same BFF will totally take back that status if you don’t have a treat or toy to share the next day. There are so many growing pains in life that revolve around friendships. Thankfully as adults we are more mature and we don’t have to worry about a person being a friend one day and unfriending the next. Wait! Nope. I take that back. While just last month I experienced that precise scenario on Facebook. Perhaps adults have not evolved far beyond preschool and elementary school when it comes to friendships? Or has the definition of friend simply changed?

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With the introduction of Facebook the natural process or evolution of a relationship has become complicated.  It used to be evident who an acquaintance, friend, best friend were but thanks to Facebook everyone is now a friend. Your neighbor, friend! The woman at the grocery store who had to have that recipe, friend! Your child’s music teacher, friend! You get the idea.  A lot of these individuals would be given the title acquaintance back before we had Facebook.  Now we quickly give everyone the title of friend without ever earning it.

It has taken me a few years but I have come to the realization that a friendship is something that is earned.  You can’t instantly be friends without earning the title, without putting in your time, nurturing the relationship.  Also, in order to have a true friendship you need to be a friend worth having. Are you honest, trustworthy, loyal, kind, compassionate, empathetic, a good listener? It can take time and energy to truly be a friend worth having. And it can take many trials and errors before you find a person who can reciprocate.  Unfortunately the pain of realizing an individual whom you thought was your friend isn’t doesn’t lessen with age.  In fact, I think it hurts more. Children don’t know any better, adults do. 

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I did some research on the topic and here is what I found.

Signs that your friendship is fake…..

 

  • A fake friend does not feel genuinely happy when you have positive news. Smiles in front of you but fumes with anger inside.
  • A fake friend will always find fault about you, and highlights your fault.
  • A fake friend will never be humble towards you. His/her ego is bigger than yours.
  • A fake friend is secretly happy to hear about your weaknesses and will use it against you, or worst, spread lies about you.
  • A fake friend will use you as a punching bag, whenever he/she needs an escape goat, he/she will talk down on you to feel good.
  • The worst case, a fake friend is suffering from mental issues, would hurt you verbally, emotionally, mentally and destroy you as a person, without rational explanation

Source

 

Fake friends always expect a person to visit, call and see about them, but they don’t want to give in the same effort. They think that it’s okay not to give their effort to put back into the friendship at all, which drains a person out…… Fake friends don’t keep their word! They always leave another person in the dark about something! This means that they don’t call to say that plans have changed, or they don’t call to say something has happened!

Source

Craves attention from your peers….Ever experience a friend adding a lot of your friends on Facebook to their own list? This comes after only saying hi to your friend once if they’ve even said anything at all… sounds like someone is jealous of your popularity and wants your friends for them.

Disappearing or shying away…..Have you ever experienced trying to make plans with a friend and suddenly they’re always too busy or don’t even call you back altogether. All of a sudden they never want to hang out anymore. Sometimes when people are jealous, they would rather stay away then face the fact that they feel bad about themselves in your presence.

Source

 

Signs of a Real Friend……

• If your car is off the road they will offer to drive you even if it means that they are going out of their way to do so, neither will they accept any petrol money from you for doing it.

• Even if you only see each other two or three times a year, when you are together it’s like you have never been apart.

• They will offer their unfailing support no matter what you try to do, even if they don’t agree with your choices they will support you in them.

• They won’t say anything behind your back or gossip about you when you are not there.

• They know about all of your insecurities but won’t broadcast them to the masses.

Source

In conclusion….

Though I have been hurt a few times and yes, even un-friended a couple of times, I have not lost all faith in mankind.  I believe people by nature are good, God created it so. However our society feeds the ego so much that the good can become difficult to find. Thus when making new acquaintances tread lightly and be cautious. And when you do find that true friendship hold on to it, treasure it, for it is an invaluable gift, and lastly do remember that we are all human, no one is perfect, and forgiveness is a necessity for any relationship to thrive.

What qualities do you look for in a friend? Have you ever found yourself in a fake friendship…what were the signs?  Please share your thoughts, idea, and experience.

Earth Day Miracle

In an effort to hopefully establish a better appreciation for the food on their plates the Easter Bunny brought the kiddos seed starting greenhouse kits for Easter. They were surprisingly really excited, which really shocked me because for Easter this year we went in a different direction. Instead of chocolate and jellybeans we went with organic snack mix and real fruit chewies. Oh, don’t feel too sorry for them, grandma and grandpa more than made up for the lack of candy at our house.  Easter morning was beautiful! And I didn’t have to worry about a child possibly throwing up during Mass due to an overdose of chocolate….it was a joyous day! He has Risen!!

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A week or so later, after the children had begged a half-dozen times to start their greenhouse kits we finally did. They were so adorable, each washed their hands, grabbed their shovels, gloves, and watering ducks to water their vegetables. 

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They had so much fun watching the pellets grow into dirt. They called it magic, haha! Then each carefully sowed each seed and tenderly placed the germination sheet over their seeds.

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The children were really good about not touching the kit that first week. They wanted their seeds to stay warm.  Then after a week and a half or so we glanced at them.  And what we found was disappointing. We found nothing. We glanced the next day and the next. Still Nothing! The children were growing frustrated and each started to blame the other for doing something that caused the seeds not to grow. It started to get ugly in this house. One child claimed the other looked at the dirt the wrong way. While the disgruntled dirt looker claimed the other child gave the seeds a cold. Then the child who allegedly gave the seeds a cold blamed the other for moving the sun. You get the idea. Things were bad. What was supposed to be a fun way for our family to come together and appreciate what God and this earth provides for us evolved into a sun moving, dirt hating, and cold giving blame game! Then things went from bad to worse.

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On day 15 I went to check on our seeds.  But this time was different.  I removed the germination sheet and something was growing! Something soft, almost furry like was growing. Mold! We successfully grew mold!! I didn’t know what to do. What would I tell the children? I decided to tell them the truth and let them down as best I could. Funny thing happened though, they still had faith. They still had faith that even after nearly a month of waiting and a nice layer of mold now covering the dirt that those seeds would sprout. As they exclaimed, we just need to pray. I had lost my faith but thanks to theirs I kept the greenhouse starter kits out and humored the children during their bedtime prayers.

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The next day a seed had indeed sprouted.  Imagine that! If the children had not had their faith I was going to get rid of the starter kits.  It is almost as if all the knowledge and experience we have as adults can infringe on our faith at times, causing us to doubt. And then you have the souls of young babes who do not go by logic or reason but faith. 

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While the tomatoes took off growing the sweet peppers have done nothing. That is until today, Earth Day! The kiddos check their plants every morning and today they let out a yelp.  A sweet pepper seed has finally sprouted, weeks after the package said it would.

opengym_plants 027And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith, and do not doubt, you shall not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it shall happen.

Matthew 21:21

Case in point

The other day I was in the kitchen totally rockin my ‘mom uniform’ (yoga pants, tank tops, and a ponytail) while preparing dinner. Our eldest was doing her homework, son was on the computer, and toddler was hosting an impromptu tea party.  It was peaceful and quiet, for all of five minutes. Then the phone rang.  And instantly the kiddos jumped to action.  As if the ring of a phone symbolized a call to action, like a drill or warning.  But this was no drill, suddenly a full on game of follow the leader evolved and unbeknownst to me, I was the leader!

Like all moms, multitasking is simply a byproduct of the job. So while I chatted I continued with dinner, laundry, spot cleaning the floors, etc. I walked from the kitchen up the stairs, back downstairs, to the basement; you get the idea, and all the while with three little shadows. It is a wonder we did not trip over each other.  

As I hung up the phone two things crossed my mind. Confusion, I know I just had a conversation with someone on the phone but what exactly did it regard? Did I just agree to go somewhere, or do something?  All this multitasking is quite distracting.  And secondly, my pre-mommy days when I had all the time in the world but didn’t know it…before I was ever introduced to yoga pants…ponytails were only acceptable when working-out, and I could have an uninterrupted conversation on the phone and  recall every word!

Sure I miss those days sometimes.  But I would NEVER go back; as exhausting and lonely as motherhood can be at times I am addicted!   Also, I have come so far since those days.  I have a clear understanding of what is important in life.  I have grown to appreciate my authentic self and that is something I will never give up, not even for youth, though it is nice to channel my pre-mommy days from time to time.

Thus, on occasion, in order to remind myself that I am more than the household cook, cleaning lady, chauffer, etc. I like to put on something nice, or basically, not yoga pants. Do my hair, and then grab the iPad and give it a little makeover too.  I shed the iGuy case that screams ‘I am a mom’ and replace it with my sassy pink case that says ‘who’s that lady?… Totally not a mom that’s for sure’. 

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Oh la la…no way those nails do the dishes, right!? 

Look at me being all sophisticated. Well, almost…busted!  Shhh….I am playing hide-n-seek. Like I said multitasking is a byproduct of motherhood.

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So, if you are looking for an easy way to feel sophisticated while in the throes of motherhood give your iPad a makeover….checkout all the fancy garb for your iPad here

So what do you do to give yourself a break from motherhood? 

Ridemakerz Extreme Customz party!

soccer_cars 008We started off the fun with each child receiving their very own Xtreme Customz starter kit! There were so many awesome cars to choose from including, Dodge Viper, Chevy corvettes, and “Hero” Ridez like Spider-Man and Batman, Extreme Customz clearly has a favorite for everyone!

The boys had so much fun putting their cars together, the moms on the other hand, not as much. But thankfully we did have a dad in the crowd to help out. I personally feel that the Xtreme Customz Cars are the perfect bonding experience for Dads and Sons; dads simply seem to speak the “car language” better than most moms.

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Seconds after the boys assembled their Ridez they had them on the hardwood floor racing. As they raced the children started to take note of each other’s cars and the cool features each car had.  To add to the fun the kiddos then had the opportunity to make Xtreme Scenez!

Each child created their very own scene for their Ride. It was adorable watching these little boys let their imaginations run wild. Each was given a shoe box, construction paper, glue stick, markers, etc. and what they created from those components included a speedway track, a city scene, a couple of junk yards, and more. After working so hard on creating their Xtreme Scenez the boys were parched so we ended the evening with a sweet treat, Xtreme Punch and Off-road Dirt cups, tasty!

I thought about having the snacks ready to go but where is the fun in that? So, instead the boys used their cars to help mash-up the dirt to place in their pudding, they had a blast! Here is a clip from the evening….

 

 

 

We had such a wonderful time. A special thank you to MommyParties for presenting this fun opportunity and to Ridemakerz Extreme Customz for sponsoring the fun!

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If you are in search of the perfect gift for a boy age 5-8 I highly recommend these, you can check out Xtreme Customz line website and also sold in Target and Toys R Us stores, Xtreme Customz is only $9.99!

Also, moms make certain you take a second to sign up at MomSelect to host rad MommyParties like this one!

Disclosure: We were given 10 Ridemakerz Extreme Custmz cars to share with our party guests.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Winners and Losers

Last weekend our family attended the Native Sons and Daughters’ Pinewood Derby event.  It was pretty exciting because this year our daughter and son each entered cars for the derby. And to add to the family fun the children’s grandfather, my father-in-law, assisted them with the making and designs of their cars.  It was priceless watching the three of them together and the excitement on all of their faces as they completed the cars. The day before the derby I spoke with the children. I discussed how cool it was that they got to work on their cars with grandpa. What a great memory that will be and hopefully they can do the same next year. And if their car doesn’t place that they will always have the memories with grandpa and the excitement of simply being a part of a fun event with friends….basically a whole life is a journey not a destination type of speech.

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So fast forward to the night of the Pinewood Derby and after they ran all the races and tallied up the scores I was surprised to hear that our son came in second place! He came in second place to our daughter who came in 1st!! I have to admit I was totally shocked…here I was preparing them for a loss, to look on the bright side, to take note of the memorable journey, and they won! I didn’t prepare them for that!

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This situation, paired with the fact that our daughter is currently playing soccer and son will be starting t-ball, really had me thinking.  The whole concept of keeping score/ winners and losers is it a ridiculous way to teach labeling from a young age, to harm a child’s self-esteem, or is there actually a valuable lesson to be learned?  I mean, isn’t it important that we learn how to both win and lose graciously from a young age? Because let’s face it, in a lifetime there will times when someone is better than you and times when someone is worse.  What if we used those times as lessons and learned from our mistakes, our weaknesses, from other’s strengths and victories?

So I went in search of some clarity, I Googled it! Here are just a few of many websites that beg….to keep score, or not to keep score, that is the question…..

“In my opinion, I think kids need to learn about winning and losing — even at a young age….skipping the scoreboard may end up making our kids less competitive and well…wimpy.” (source)

“We don’t think competition itself is unhealthy,” Van Auken says. “It’s how the parents deal with it. The kids deal with it just fine.”…… “Parents and coaches impose their values on children,” Engh says. “We’re the ones who create the standings and scoreboards. Do you really think kids would have world championships?” (source)

Life is full of wins and losses, and I don’t mean on the athletic field.  If someone earns a promotion at work, that’s a win.  If a promotion goes to someone else, that’s a loss.  If someone falls in love and stays married for the rest of their life, that’s a win.  If someone gets married and then has to get divorced, that’s a loss.  My point is that I learned how to appropriately deal with a win that I earned, or a loss that I suffered because of my youth sports experience. (source

 

What do you think? Should score be kept? Should there be winners and losers in youth sports and events?

Raising Responsible Kids

With summer just around the corner it can only mean one thing, Summer Reading Program!  My kiddos get so excited to see what the theme for the summer reading program is and the fun prizes they can win. Not to mention all the fun adventures to be had in a book!

And this year is extra special because we have a full-fledged reader among us, in addition to my husband and I, our 1st grader can read.  This is nice because it gives mom and dad a break. She can read to her younger siblings and she also models superb quiet time with a book. It is my hope that her younger brother and sister will follow her lead and one day naptime/quiet time will be reading time. But with 3 kiddos each checking out 10+books/items from the library how is one to keep up with all those?

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Well, I think I have come up with a fool-proof (hopefully) plan, Reading Responsibly Tubs!!  

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To make a Reading Responsibly Tub you will need:

  • 2 cups of coffee (for mom, optional)
  • 1 Tub (we used Rubbermaid tubs from Meijer’s, cost $2 a piece but I am pretty sure you can find them at most stores)
  • 1 pocket from kiddo’s old pants (we have enough around our house but you could get some at a thrift shop or garage sale)
  • Glue Dots
  • Fun stuff to decorate the tub with like: Buff paint, Glitter and Glue, Foam adhesive pieces, Stickers, you name it, just not washable markers because guess what? They will wipe right off.

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How to assemble the Reading Responsibly Tub:

  • Let kiddos decorate their tubs as they please.
  • Cutout pocket and use glue dots to place pocket on tubs.

 

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Here comes the responsibility part….

As soon as the kiddos arrive home with their books, CDs, etc. from the library they go directly into their own tub. In addition to the items they checked out their library card (all 3 of our kiddos have their own library card, yes, even our 2-1/2 yr. old…this is a superb way to start teaching responsibility from a young age….when given the proper guidance) and receipt with the names of the items checked out and when they are due back goes into the pocket.

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Fast-forward to a week later and it is time to go back to the library. Have kiddos take out their receipts and depending on their age; have them either count how many books need to go back and how many are in their tub, or, if you have a reader they can simply check off the books that are in their tub.  If there are any items missing the child is responsible for locating them.  We have a new rule in our home, if you do not return ALL items the next week you will not be able to checkout anything in the future until that/those items are located. And if there are fines that occur they can work off their fine by going above and beyond their chores and helping around the house.

A library card is a magnificent way to teach children how to be responsible!

Here are some additional sites I came across that have great suggestions for raising responsible children.

http://www.parentfurther.com/resources/enewsletter/archive/raising-responsible-kids

http://www.parade.com/features/doing-whats-right/raising-responsible-kids.html

http://www.examiner.com/article/parenting-toddlers-to-teens-tips-to-raising-responsible-kids

If you have any tips or resources, stories, experience, etc. please share

 

 

 

 

http://www.amamasstory.com/2013/04/mama-moments-mondays-link-up_8.html