Saturday, October 30, 2010

Harry Potter Here We Come!

The anticipation is building. We've read, renacted and will soon see it for real! Harry Potter's Wizarding World will unfold live in front of us in a few days

Oh yes, we plan on doing a few other things in Orlando such as Epcot, swimming, playing with Grandma and Grandpa and a worthwhile IT conference, but nothing can move forward until our three little wizards set foot in Hogwarts.

Even Dave and I are excited to see our children so united and to witness this magic unfold in front of them. Geesh, lucky kids; no one we know has been there, but also lucky parents to be able to do this with them. Their ages are full of magic and this is the time for it! Full recap on its way!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What to do with all that Halloween candy? Consume or Get Creative!

We are soon entering the biggest treat week of the year. Halloween. I love the rituals of parties and Trick or Treating, but the amount of candy the kids come home with is mountainous. I wish I had the willpower to keep it stashed away and bring out at opportune times, but that's not how it works for me. My willpower usually goes out the window around sweets. I know, I know...its for the kids...

...but so are these fun ideas of what to do with candy instead of consuming it!

1. Plan a visit from the Candy Fairy. After trick or treating, my kids pick out 12 of their favorites (they keep them and are free to eat them whenever they want). They leave the rest on the doorstep and voila, the next morning the candy fairy has left a much desired non consumable. This year it will be glittery purses for the girls for our big trip and a new Thomas train for Max.

2. Some dentist offices will pay $1 per pound for the candy. Great saves the kids' teeth and they make a little cash. We tried this last year and want to caution you a bit. The kids were so excited about this as they had big bags of candy. They left a little disappointed with their $2.00. Four pounds of candy seemed like so much!

3. Do some science tricks! We are especially excited about this one this year Check out candy experiments and see what you can do with chocolates and skittles.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

25 Grocery Shopping Secrets

Take a look and see if you learn something new!

I agree with almost all and was happy to have more validation with#5 (Beat the Breakfast Blues). I am fortunate to be home with my kids most mornings and we usually have eggs/toast or oatmeal. I have found that it is generally more filling for them the cereal/PB toast routine they have on the mornings I teach.

Come to find out that by eating eggs, not only are they getting a more nutritious start to their day, but it is also 3x less expensive then cereal. Never looked at it at the way, but its nice to know that this particular "whole" food is less expensive then the processed.

Now, if only I can get them to love #25 (lentils). I even tried them BBQ style on Sunday and made them similar to a BBQ sandwich. Well...evidently not similar enough yet, but I am not giving up. I love 'em! Check out other grocery shopping secrets and surprises here.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sharing Solutions

As my children get older, I sense a shift of parenting approaching. I don't want them to need the direct instruction on what they already know is right. When they were younger, they did need to be told exactly what was expected. That was how they learned... "Share with your sister." "Give your brother a turn."

Now, I really want my oldest children to just know what is the right thing and to internalize it themselves. That way they will gain independence with their choices and not begin to "tune out" a nagging mom (which we all know what eventually happens).

I tried a line the other day when Megan was having a hard time sharing with Lucy. Yes, I could make her share, but what is that really going to teach in the long run? Instead I said, "sharing must come from our hearts or else its not real sharing." Megan looked at me for a split second, returned playing and five minutes later asked Lucy is she would like a turn.

Not sure if it was internalized for eternity, but for once it didn't involve me being the mediator and we all ended up happy.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Make Each Moment Count

Look what we found on a family walk out of town! A hopscotch painted on the sidewalk. Naturally, we had to let the kids jump right in!

We are all busy throughout the day, but one thing I have been working at is to make make an active effort to "be present" when I am with my kids. It can be easy to tune out as they are explaining in great detail where each Silly Bandz came from or an exact verbal layout of what is on their playground at school, but I realize how limited our time really is together. If time is short, it is all the more important to make the most of what you have.

I really do miss my kids when I am teaching or doing other things and am always absolutely in awe of how fast the days and weeks fly by. I absolutely can't wait to pick up my daughters at school. I love bringing them home, giving them a good snack and hearing all about their days. It is really one of the most enjoyable half hours of my day.

From there the day marches on with homework, chores and various activities, but we all had a reconnection time which everyone was an active part in.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cut Calories without even Noticing

My motto is that I rather cut them here or there then spend the extra time burning them!
78 Ways to cut fat calories from Your diet. Check it out here!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Savvy Shopper Alert

I remember seeing a list like this when I was younger about the best months to buy everything and thinking it was just brilliant for those who like to plan ahead, shop and save.

I like to think of myself as organized, but this is true organization to the max. Usually when I shop for these types of items it is on a "as needed basis," but now as I have found "the list" I could try to keep it in mind more. Check our the "best time to buy everything" list here!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Top 10 Foods to Avoid Completely

In honor of 10-10-10...

Quick! How many can you name? Are you thinking anything fried, fatty and overly sugary? Check and see if you are right here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Mother/Daughter + Camping = Back in Time

After school I am packing up my girls and heading out of town. Where? Camp Hantesa located in Boone, Iowa. Its a mother/daughter overnight and I don't know who is more excited, me or them.

# I get to spend time with my favorite "not so little anymore" girls
#2 The nostalgia is just getting to me! I went to camp there as a young girl, went on these overnights with my mom every spring and fall AND I was a camp counselor there in college. I just LOVE this kind of reminiscing stuff.

Bring on the bugs, night hikes and camp songs. We are prepared!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Easy Healthy Low Calorie Snack Ideas

Instead of chowing down on "fake health foods" Check out these healthy snack ideas. Yes, some take a little prep, but are definitely more filling and fueling to your body.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

7 Fake Health Foods

Hungry for a protein bar? Yep, there on the "fake health food" list. Like most "convenience foods" its all about label reading and not all protein bars are created equal. Sadly I read this after buying a months supply of Zone Protein bars at Costco. I did look at the label, but then the "marketing monster" got me and I thought, its "The Zone" bars...they have to be ok. In truth, there are candy bars that are better for you then these.

Check out more fake health foods here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

$10 gift card on birthday

Sign up for your local mall’s email club and you’ll get a $10 gift card for your birthday. They’ll send you an email and you just print it out and bring it to your local mall’s customer service desk to get a free $10 gift card.

I just signed up with Jordan Creek Town Center and will let you know in a few months.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Tire Swing Sets it Right

I have been a little reflective this week and I think it was only a matter of timing. I was feeling the pull of a hundred different directions and struggling with what I really wanted for my family. You get one chance to raise your kids and they only have one childhood.

I am not implying I have it all figured out, but at least I am aware and trying to be proactive in my thinking and actions. Helping families feel more connected and maximizing time spent together is what I am passionate about.

The kids haven't really done much with our swing set for over a year now. It is one of those signs that childhood is fleeting. For the past two months, I had been on mission to find a tire swing. Not just any old tire, but one that would hold all three kids and allow plenty of room for bumper cars and some high flying swinging.

Papa came to the rescue with an old tractor tire from his job (thank goodness for small farming communities) and we picked it up last night. Dave (and Max!) spent two hours cutting chains, drilling holes and assembling the swing. The rest of the afternoon? Spent swinging away. Everyone.

The shrieks and squeals wafting in from the open windows, let me know there is still plenty of childhood left...for all of us.

Friday, October 1, 2010

North Family Walks for NAMI

At the Weis household we are welcoming the weekend of boycotting all soccer/ softball games and will instead be exercising for a much different and much more important cause.

Its a 3 mile walk in memory of my sister, Becky, and to help raise awareness for mental illness. We jumped in with this last year and you can read about our fundraising efforts here.

This year The North's & Weis' took a different approach to fundraising and partnered with Pizza Ranch in Jefferson. The kids bussed tables, refilled drinks and washed dishes while raising almost $700 in one night. I was so proud of my kids, but knew that they didn't need compensation or recognition. They were happy just helping out and that they accomplished.

Here's to a beautiful walk tomorrow and the promises of the future!

Great American Cookie: Free Chocolate Chip Cookie today Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy Friday! Ready for a treat? Stop by any Great American Cookie location today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to get a free Original Chocolate Chip Cookie.

You can also get a free cookie of your choice by stopping by anytime during the month of October and donating a new or gently-used book. All books collected will be donated to a local public library or charity. Limit one cookie per person per day.