Sunday, March 25, 2007

Basket Case

Easter is coming! I have been slowly collecting items to place in my children's Easter baskets. One thing that really frustrates me is the amount of candy children get in their baskets. I usually try and buy them many non-candy items because they get so much chocolate from their one grandmother. Since I have children spaced far apart, I try and be creative as to what I get them. Yes, I will buy each at least a med-large size chocolate bunny and a little candy but I also buy items such as activity pads, coloring books, crayons, jewelry, matchbox cars, trading cards, snowglobes, bubbles, chalk or anything else my child may find interesting. I usually try to create each baket to the child's interests and age. I don't usually like to buy those big store-made baskets because most times they put candy in the baskets my children don't even like.

One thing we do for our children that they eagerly anticipate every year is to give them each their own scavenger hunt to find their baskets. For a very young child I have created bunny footprints for them to follow to their basket. For the preschooler-kindergartener, I collect pictures or clip art of various things around the house to use as clues. For the early reader I write the word or a little phrase for where they might find the next clue and lastly for the teenager, per her request, I made the clues coded so she had to figure out the riddle or code before she knew where to find the next clue. The kids look forward to coming down every year to find their first clue and then go hunting for the next clue until they have found their basket.

An Easter tradition that my mother-in-law has started was to paint Easter Eggs. Instead of using real eggs, she buys wooden ones at a craft shop and supplies craft paint to the children to paint their own eggs. This gives the children and opportunity to keep the egs year after year and is a fun way to pass the time. Every year she also presents each child with a porcelin egg with a picture and the date on it to collect as a sentimental collection in rememberence of her. I know she looks forward to Easter as much as the children do. There are so many traditions and fun things you can do with your child around Easter. This year my thirteen year old daughter decided to make small baskets for her friends. I showed her how to make 3"x3" baskets from paper stock and she went out and bought candy at the local Dollar General.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Animal Kingdom

At any one time you can visit my home and declare it to be a zoo. Sometimes the children are as tame as manatees and there is peace in the household. Unfortunately that is an endangered species in my house. Most times activity at my house could be compared to a pack of hyenas sparring for the choiciest meat.
My children are distanced several years apart. I have a thirteen year old daughter, Nicole, an eight year old son, Tyler, and a four year old daughter, Lexi. The eight year old and four year old are the two who get into the most tumultous scraps. My preschool "angel", who tells everyone she sees that her real name is Princess, knows exactly which buttons to push to drive my son directly through the roof and into the stars above. Tyler, on the other hand, enjoys "parenting" her where he enjoys assuming the role of disciplinarian. He can be an extreme perfectionist and any disruption to routine or carefully ordered toys will send him on a temper tirade and lexi is often all too eager to disrupt that order. Of course, Tyler is more than willing to report the tiniest discretion to me even if his dad is sitting next to him.
On this particular day the children were sitting around the lunch table nitpicking over seating arrangements and who knows what else. Suddenly Tyler yells, "MOOOM! She called me a giraffe!"
Rolling my eyes and growling in extreme frustration I turn from the stove with a smile pasted on my face, "Tyler, Giraffe is not exactly a put-down. At least she isn't calling you a Hippo."
Disgusted by the constant bickering, I stalked to the living room from which I heard my four year old daughter quietly say, "Hippo!"
I spent the next fifteen minutes listening to the two of them exchanging names of wild animals. "Lion!" "Monkey!" "Elephant!" Meanwhile I had my own quandry to settle. Should I let all of my frustration out in the form of a scream so hideous there was no animal who could match it or should I allow myself to wallow in hysterical laughter. I chose the latter. They say laughter is the best medicine but my question is, "Can youoverdose on it?"