My kids have been bugging me for months to watch a bunch of YouTube videos by some German guy named Flula. Apparently he lives in America and has a bit of trouble figuring out the idiosyncrasies of our language. Finally I caved and watched some of these videos. They’re pretty funny, although he’s no Sweet Brown. This one was my favorite. These are a lot funnier if you have preteens to watch them with. (For some reason this guy alway tapes videos in his car. Kind of weird. And he is a DJ part time, hence the headphones.) If you want to see more of the German Guy his “Rock, Paper, Scissors“ and “Jennifer the Party Pooper” vids are also really good.
Because I am a total expert on all things involving children, my opinion is extremely valuable. Which is why I was consulted for this story on a local news channel.
OK, fine, I’m not a parenting expert.
I just happen to be friends with a reporter (Jen from Baby Making Machine). And if she’s doing a story that involves teens, guess who she calls?
So you should watch this and learn about teens on Facebook. Also, check out my sweet ‘do. I had no idea I was going to be on TV; I just coincidentally looked cute that day. I love when fate smiles on me like that.
Welcome to my first video how-to! (Do I have to tell you how much I hate my voice?) This is a tutorial on one of the most common problems in everybody’s house: a leaky toilet that’s constantly running. This is such a super easy problem to fix. Anybody can do it!
I am not a believer in luck. I mean, lucky things happen. But I don’t believe in it as a “force” exactly. But I do believe in the Magic Circle. I have a Magic Circle. I was having lunch with some friends today and we started discussing what exactly the magic circle is.
The Magic Circle is good things happening in your life. It is the bread usually landing butter-side up. It is winning prizes and free trips. It is an invitation to The Universe to share its generosity and goodwill.
I don’t know whether everyone has a Magic Circle. But I suspect a lot more people would have one if they believed they did. Mister, for example, has more of a raincloud that perpetually follows him around. “Believe in your magic circle!” I chirp, usually as he is muttering curses and sulking about something.
“There is no Magic Circle,” he says. To which I say, “You are right. If you believe you will have bad things happen, that’s what you will get.” But the Magic Circle is about believing good things will come your way: things, friends, happiness. And they do.
At least, that’s how it works in my life. Obviously there are bad things and unhappiness and regrets. I’m not talking about life in general. I’m talking about the cream on top.
Do you think there is such a thing as a Magic Circle? Are some people just lucky or unlucky? Do good things beget more good things? While you think about that, here is a hilarious video that Mister forwarded to me. It seems I am in good company.
My kids started driving me crazy the day after school got out. There was the constant squabbling, playfighting, and watching each other play the wii for hours on end ( I loathe that, but it’s just so peaceful while they do it, that it’s hard to crack down and turn it off). Some people go cold turkey and turn off all screens during the summer, but I think it should still be a fun time of year (especially since we really limit TV and video games during the school year). I just needed to figure out some sort of system.
My friend Amy and I escaped for lunch a few weeks ago. She told me about the system she uses in her house and a giant light bulb went off over my head. I took her idea and ran with it, expanding on it to fit our family’s needs.
This is how it works:
–Our house is divided into six stations (Art, Reading, Computer, Puzzles, Academics, and TV).
–Each station is in a different part of the house (or in separate parts of the same room) so there is very little annoying and teasing of siblings going on.
–Stations last for 45 minutes each (sometimes if we have other plans for the day we’ll only do stations for 20-30 minutes a piece). Then the kids rotate to the next station. Each child goes to all of the six stations every day, Monday through Friday. We usually begin in the late morning after everyone has done their chores.
–Everyone gets a chance to choose which station they would like to start with. Yes, they will all have a chance at every station, but you know how much siblings like to compete with each other. Currently we are picking popsicle sticks labelled with the kids’ names. I draw one and that child picks where they’d like to begin.
Here are the details:
Art (at the kitchen table):
Everyone has a sketch book, so there are minimal amounts of loose paper floating around. All coloring and watercolor go on sketchbook pages. We also have Shrinky Dinks, pipe cleaners, Sculpey clay (for the older kids), Play-Doh (for the younger ones), and brand new sets of watercolors, crayons and markers. I stocked up on the fabulous coloring books that Dover Publishing carries. We also have an assortment of drawing “how-to” books and creativity-building exercises.
Puzzles (on a card table set up in the Mudroom): I bought ten new puzzles of all different skill levels. I also got one of those roll-up puzzle savers so the older kids can work on the same puzzle day after day. We also have Sudoko, crossword, and word-search books of different skill levels. My friend Amy and I will be swapping puzzles after a while to keep things fresh.
Academics (on the coffee table in the family room):
There is a real variety here since Jasper barely knows his letters and India is taking AP classes. Probably our favorite item is the Flashmaster. It’s a fantastic gizmo that quizzes kids on their addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. They can be timed or not timed, and the computer remembers which problems they got wrong. It’s been wonderful since my younger kids have never been required to learn their math facts very well. You can get Flashmaster on Amazon for $50.
We also have a Geography Globe from Oregon Scientific, the Phonics Firefly (perfect for helping the younger kids learn their letters and sounds), and some educational Leap Pad sets.
In this category we also have workbooks (the great kind sold at Costco that are full of worksheets), handwriting practice sheets and spelling word quizzes. I try to get items that the kids can do on their own so I don’t have to sit there all day. The older kids are working on assignments they were given at school to complete over the summer.
Reading (in the Living Room which is where our bookcases are):
This is read-alone time. Every few days I rotate the supply of kids’ books so they always have something new to look at. Library books stay in here too. The older kids usually have a novel they’re reading.
The kids can play whatever they want without someone claiming that “she took my turn!”; I don’t really care what it is, whether it’s Webkinz or something educational (Finn has been doing a teach-yourself-German program). This is their entire computer time for the day. This would probably include Nintendo DS time, if you have those at your house.
TV (in the playroom where our only TV is):
This includes video games and DVDs. Whatever takes place on a TV, this is the time to do it. The best part of this system is that you don’t have children sitting around watching their siblings play games(one of my major pet peeves). Occasionally we’ll watch a movie as a family in the evening, but for the most part this is their entire allotment of video games and shows.
You could tailor the stations to suit your family better. If you all play instruments, you could do music time, for example. Or you could do an outdoor station. With our blazing summer temps, though, the kids stay indoors most of the day but we spend evenings playing outside or swimming. This system would work with a smaller family, too. For the last week India and York have been visiting their grandparents in Oregon and we’ve been rotating four kids around the six stations. It’s been fine.
We have been doing Stations for a couple of weeks now and it has been phenomenal! The kids never complain about being bored and they bug each other so much less. My house is actually quiet during the day! It’s a miracle!
York got me hooked on this cute video by the Japanese band Sour. I have no idea how they managed to do it. So simple but so complicated (Plus the song is pretty good too).
I pretty much think my treadmill is a waste of time. It’s great that I have a computer hooked up to it so I can blog and watch movies. But the fact is, it’s barely exercise. It’s way too easy to be a wimp on the treadmill.
I’ve been riding my bike off and on for the last couple of weeks, but I have a crazy, somewhat rational fear of being run over by a teenage girl who is texting while she drives (or a mom who is trying to toss animal crackers into the back seat, or other such scenarios). I just can’t get over it, so my bike riding is limited to small neighborhood roads.
You guys, I don’t want to be in a triathlon. I think we’ve already had this discussion. Don’t suggest swimming or running to me because there are certain things in a person’s life that are just not going to happen.
I had completely forgotten about my favorite form of exercise–videos. How could I have forgotten about these? I love them! I used to have quite a collection but who knows where they are now. I’m on day two of having my butt kicked by Jillian Michaels. I’d estimate that nearly every muscle in my body is hurting today. Hurts so good, though, right?
And to celebrate my two-day milestone I ate two donuts for breakfast.
This really made me laugh. The guy’s name is Louis C.K. Don’t bother trying to watch his other stuff on You Tube because he has quite the potty mouth. Guess I’ll have to stick with his network appearances.
Here is why I am trying to get everybody on board with food storage and 72-hour kits. Highly recommended viewing (although it’s definitely Mormon, if that freaks you out.)
*My friend Darlene, a lovely Evangelical Christian, has this bumper sticker on her Hummer. It cracks me up every time I see it. She also has another bumper sticker that says, “Don’t let the car fool you. My treasure is laid up in Heaven.”
I was so aghast and horrified that my very own sister has never seen Mr. Bean that I figured there may be others of you who haven’t either. Mr. Bean is British, in case you didn’t know, and rarely speaks in his little skits. He is just kind of bumbling and awkward in a very 10-year-old-boy sort of way. My children are absolutely passionate about him. He is pretty funny, I must agree. Here’s one of my favorites. The ending is the best part. Gather your kids around; if they didn’t already like Bean, they will now.
And here is York’s favorite: