You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2016.

Spring is officially here! The days are lighter longer and starting to warm up. It’s the perfect time to start planning a garden. Every year I say I’m going to grow everything and I make a plan, but someones cat will crush my tomatoes, or the pumpkins grow into the zucchinis. Learning to grow things can be frustrating. But, I really want my girls to see where all the veggies (they refuse to eat) come from.

I ordered this growing kit through a Scholastic classroom fundraiser. My kids could not wait to rip it open and get started.

It comes with it’s own seed packets, a double sided poster about plant life and a little growing box. My kids really don’t care what we grow, they just want to watch it grow. This little see through box will give them that experience! Not sure who is more excited here. Garden kit

Here is what our project looked like:

garden poster.jpg

We read the plant poster to kick off the science part of it. But, my girls were just too excited to hurry up and plant the seeds.

We pooled our materials: potting soil, gloves, shovel and a tray to catch all the dirt that spilled over the sides as we scooped.

We filled the growing box with dirt, poked a small hole in the soil big enough to fit our seeds in. Covered it with a light layer of soil. We lightly watered so our seeds had plenty to grow on.

garden beans

garden carrots

We covered our garden growing kit with a Ziploc bag. The instructions say to use Saran wrap or plastic wrap. We had neither. So Ziploc baggie it is! This is just to help the soil to retain moisture and create a little greenhouse inside the box. After 12 days we should see the germinated seed start to sprout. Until then we check it every day and mark on the poster what progress we see.

garden kit cover

I thought we did everything right. That is until my kids pointed out that we forgot one very important step. We forgot to add the love. So, this picture is of them sprinkling their tiny seeds with love to make them grow faster. They are right. Everything we do should be done with love!

Are you building a garden this year? Do your kids like to help? Please share gardening tips with kids below!

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

flotsam-948679_640

Living with a toddler is a lot like living with a pack rat. My daughter Sydney is completely mesmerized by shiny objects or any objects that don’t belong to her. She brings them from room to room and we spend hours trying to find them later. Even if you don’t have a toddler, chances are you find yourself on an all-day hunting trip through your house looking for lost items at least once a week. I have no idea how or why moms seem to be the keepers of their family’s stuff. I’m also constantly amazed that I often know the answer to, “Mom, where’s my _____.” Fill in the black with everything from socks, shoes, brush, toy, the list goes on and on.

There are always the usual hiding spots and sometimes you can guess where something is simply based on the person who lost it. For instance, if my husband lost something, nine times out of ten it’s in his car. While I’ve already admitted that my mini-van is my purse, my husband most definitely needs to recognize that his car is his wallet, sports locker and closet. He almost had a heart attack when the Girl Scout money he collected from his co-workers went missing. Luckily, after 17 years together I know him well enough to know to check his car first. Sure enough, the envelope was tucked safe and sound in his glove box, which makes sense as his car is his secondary wallet.

My kids they are constantly losing things. Socks are number 1 on the list. They end up absolutely everywhere except the hamper. No matter what you’re looking for, here’s a list of surprising places your family’s stuff may be hiding. Thanks to the moms in my Facebook mom’s groups for their hilarious stories and insights.

1. Between the Bed Rails – I have found numerous small toys and socks stuffed between my children’s mattress and the bed rails. Also, check between the mattress and the wall. A mom on Facebook shared that this is where her son’s glasses turned up.

2. In the Couch Cushions – This is the black hole of the house. Everything seems to gravitate to this spot from the TV remote control, socks, money, candy, crackers and cereal. If you ever come to my house, whatever you do don’t look under the cushions.

3. Toy Box/Toy Pile – Toddlers aren’t so good at putting toys away. Sometimes big kids aren’t either, but a lot of items that go missing seem to end up mixed in with their toys. Each of my kids went through a toddler hoarding phase where they put all their toys in big piles.

4. Garbage Cans and Toilets – It’s wet, mysterious and awe inspiring to a toddler. Since they don’t yet use it and don’t know what it’s really for, it’s like a mystical pool of enchantment that they just can’t wait to try out using your stuff. When Hannah was a toddler she liked to throw my makeup compacts in there. Thankfully I got to her before she tried flushing them. We don’t always get that lucky, do we parents? If it’s not supposed to be thrown away or flushed, it’s a pretty good place to check for lost stuff. As a kid my mother once found her lost diamond ring in the bottom of the garbage can. Lucky for us, she lost it or we might have gotten in trouble.

5. Wood pile/ stack of pellet bags – It’s already like a mini-fort with at least one wall, what kid can resist? And of course you can’t play in a fort without first bringing some cool stuff for the housewarming, whether it’s yours or not. When Hannah was a toddler my birth control pills mysteriously vanished from the bathroom counter. After two weeks of searching, I found them behind a stack of pellet bags in the basement. She was a good climber that one. If there is anything you don’t want lost, it’s probably this.

6. Freezer – I would have never thought to check this hiding spot if it weren’t for Alicia from Red Hook who shared this hilarious story with me: “We rented a movie from Movies To Go in Red Hook and stopped by the grocery store. We put everything away and then a week later the rental place called for the movie. We couldn’t find it! We searched for days. We finally paid the late fees plus had to purchase the movie. We found it in the freezer taking out meat for dinner 2 months after we rented it. We’re now the proud owners of some random movie we still haven’t watched!”

7. Your Kids’ Dresser Drawers – When my son was 3 his shoe vanished. After hours of searching for it, I found it in his dresser drawer. I don’t know why, but kids love to store anything in there and shoes are the hot item to lose. My friend Laura shared with me how she borrowed a diamond necklace from her mother for a wedding, which her eight year old daughter absolutely loved. After six months of frantic searching for it, she finally found it in the back of her daughter’s sock drawer inside a sock. Good thing she found it before she had to come clean to her own mom.

8. In Bathroom Cabinets – For whatever reason the bathroom is just mystical to kids. Maybe it’s because it’s the only place mommy gets to be alone. HA! Just kidding; we all know moms can’t get privacy there either. When my toddler’s shoe went missing just as we were heading out the door, I never thought to check the bathroom cabinet. Sure enough, I found it in my master bathroom.

9. Toy Purses, Music Boxes, Banks – Pretty much any toy that opens becomes a lovely hiding spot for special trinkets, like say mommy’s keys. Kids are very clever. A mom shared with my on Facebook that after hunting for her lost keys for three days, she finally found them in her child’s toy. It was a toy that she didn’t even know could open. Thank goodness for spare keys! Maybe it’s a good idea to hide/throw away those plastic Easter eggs right about now.

There’s also a real danger of us parents losing things while we’re busy multi-tasking or distracted by attending to the many demands of the little dictators in our house. It’s best to scan every surface, even up and down walls as you backtrack your journey through the house. One mom found her son’s packed lunch sitting on a shelf in her office. That will teach us to always be properly caffeinated in the morning.

So if it’s your coffee that’s lost, check the microwave, a shoe then check a cabinet or dresser drawer, but if it’s your sanity you’ll just have to invent a time machine and go back to your pre-kid years to find that one. What’s the strangest place you’ve found your lost item?

Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found writing on her blog The No Drama Mama and Hudson Valley Parent when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her three adorable kiddos. This “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow her on Facebook or Twitter for her delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails. Her work can also be found on Money Saving Mom, Mamapedia, and Worshipful Living.

 

Easter was never about over the top gifts and decorations when I was a kid. My mom always made it personal and special. From the individual loaves of Italian Easter Bread to the carefully assembled family Easter basket, we all knew she put some time and effort into our holiday. It was very different than the average $146 per person parents spend today!

For us, it is easy to dismiss the grand gifts and excessive candy stash. We do celebrate the religious aspect of the holiday, but we also like to celebrate the coming of spring. Our Easter baskets usually reflect the season and what my kids currently need like raincoats and boots. Little kids tend to grow out of things quickly, so Easter is a good time to buy the things my kids currently need and fill in their Easter baskets.

I saw this posted on Facebook several times in the last month and I am inspired to recreate this with things my kids can actually use! It happens to be perfect timing as my girls have been asking for their OWN umbrellas (at least 3 times a day each time it rains).umbrella basket

Here is what we are adding in our umbrella baskets this year:

Books: You can select any book your child will enjoy. In the past I’ve purchase books at the dollar store. My kids LOVE books on CD! I hosted a Barefoot Books party a few months ago and was able to snag some beautiful books with CD for a steal! Books my kids love at a price I live? Win-win!

barefoot prince

Bathing Suits: With summer right around the corner it is the perfect time to buy new ones to have on hand the moment the pool is ready!

bathing suit

Flip Flops: My kids would go barefoot all day every day if I let them. But, they will compromise and wear flip flop sandals. I hit a lucky clearance sale and picked up a new pair for each of them at $2.00 a pair. I’m talking bedazzled and sparkly just the way they like them!

flip flop

Sunscreen: I’m already going to shell out the money for this. Buying it now means I’m just ready to roll once the bathing suits come out!

sunscreen

Bunny Socks: Kids always need socks! I don’t know what the heck my kids do with their socks, but one day we have a stock pile the next day we have 2 and a half pairs left. Plus, you can find these in most dollar stores, or the Target dollar section.

easter socks.jpg

Bubble Wands: What kid doesn’t love bubbles? They can use them any where at any time. No waiting for the sun to come out, or the weather to warm up! Just open and enjoy!

Leggings: A little something to add into the wardrobe is perfect! Seems like a gift, but it’s really something they are going to wear over and over and over again!

Candy: We really limit the amount of candy we put into our baskets. Not because we are super strict about dyes and sugar, but because we are lucky to have so many generous friends and family who give our kids treats. We also participate in a couple of egg hunts which means we come home with plenty of candy.

Stuffed Lovies:  Beanie Boos to be exact. My kids have so many stuffed animals already we could have seriously opened our own stuffed lovey adoption agency. But, they can’t help falling in love with every Beanie Boo they make eye contact with.

Umbrellas: (Obviously) it’s a gift holding the gifts. I don’t even have to go into storage to find baskets!! Everything will be put away in its own place and I won’t have to worry about tons of little tiny plastic things scattered on the floor and ultimately end up in the garbage.

That’s it. That’s all they get this year. I’m not even including decorative grass because I don’t like the mess it makes! No jelly beans. No peanut butter cups. No excessive amounts of candy that I’ll end up eating or that they can beg me for a million times a day. For the record, our grand total this year is $88/$44 for each kid.That’s $100 less per child than the average per person cost!

I love the less is more approach to our Easter baskets. I feel like if we present things the kids already need like clothes and shoes, paired with a few wants like bubbles and chalk in a unique way, they feel like they got enough “stuff” to celebrate the holiday. And, I feel like I gave enough without compromising my wallet or my values.

What kind of fun things do you include in your child’s Easter basket?

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Related posts: Funny Bunny Photo Booth Glow In The Dark Easter Eggs Egg-less Easter Funn

 

Spring break is a great time to get out of the house and explore the beauty of the Hudson Valley. Hannah’s Girl Scout Troop recently visited a farm on the Center for Discovery’s Hurleyville campus. Though it was a bit chilly, the kids had a blast.

Maple Syrup 1Maple Syrup 2

How Maple Syrup is Made

The kids learned how maple syrup is made by tapping sugar maple trees and how the timing has to be right. They have to wait for freezing temperatures when the sap moves up from the roots of the tree and into the trunk and branches. They enjoyed learning about the entire process from collecting the sap to cooking it and turning into the finished product you see in the store. Of course the best part was tasting a sample.

Maple Syrup 3Syrup 4

This was the official Maple Weekend where New York State producers open their doors to the public. You can still get in on the fun by finding an event in your area this weekend, April 2nd and 3rd.

Eggcellent Pre-Easter Hunt

As many of us are preparing to head out to local Easter Egg hunts, it was awesome for the kids to collect eggs directly from the chickens (sorry Easter bunny). My kids thought it was neat that they were still warm. They also got to feed the chickens, which was fun for them.

Chickens

It’s also not too late to find great Easter Egg hunts in the Hudson Valley.

If you’re hoping for a special photo op with the Easter Bunny himself, check out his Hudson Valley tour schedule.

Now that this weekend is over, I’m feeling at a loss for how to keep my kids entertained for the next week and a half that they’re off from school. I know we can always check out our local library for kids’ events and to check out some new books to keep the kids reading over the break. We’ll probably also visit our local parks to get all their pent up energy out.

Hannah’s Girl Scout troop was invited up to Albany by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther after her recent visit. She’ll be heading up for a tour of the capital today and the girls will even be introduced on the floor of the legislature. This is a fantastic opportunity for the girls to learn how laws are made and they’ll be earning participation in government badges.

As for the remaining days of spring break, I’m going to have to get creative. I know that I can always visit My Family Trip Planner to find local attractions, restaurants, and play places to keep them busy. My kids also really love all kinds of experiments so we’ll try a few of these simple science experiments using what we already have in the kitchen. I know the key to my sanity is keeping them busy.

What are your spring break plans?

Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found writing on her blog The No Drama Mama and Hudson Valley Parent when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her three adorable kiddos. This “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow her on Facebook or Twitter for her delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails. Her work can also be found on Money Saving Mom and Mamapedia.

These absolutely delicious scones come from gluten-free goddess Nicole Hunn of Gluten-Free On a Shoestring (who has a recipe for just about everything).  They’re amazing, and one of favorite breakfast treats.  Paleo eating has become quite popular lately, whether for health reasons or just to try something new.  We like to mix it up in the mornings, focusing on protein and fruit, and sometimes, we skip the grains.  This recipe is wonderful because it doesn’t taste simply like almond flour (many Paleo recipes do) thanks to the addition of the tapioca flour.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Scones

Chocolate Chip Paleo Scones

I like to share our favorite recipes with the gluten-free community, whether they are my own or not.  There are so many recipes out there, but sometimes when we try them, they leave something to be desired.  With the cost of gluten-free ingredients (sometimes five times more than traditional ingredients) it’s always nice to come upon a recipe that comes with a tried-and-true guarantee.  What’s fabulous about this recipe is that I didn’t need to alter the ingredients one single bit, which isn’t always the case.  It comes gluten-free, dairy-free, and ready to go.  My girls wanted to make these for my husband’s birthday a few weeks back, but it fell on a weekday, and he leaves at 7:30 am.  I found them easy to prep in advance before bed, so that in the morning I only had to combine wet and dry ingredients, shape, and pop into the oven.  Having a special morning breakfast in your back pocket is enough to earn you the title of Supermom (cape sold separately).

If you have a easy Paleo breakfast recipe that you’d like to share, please do so below.  To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook.  Happy Spring!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!

This week has been all about rainbows at our house. We’ve colored rainbows, made macaroni art rainbows and now we are making homemade water color paints in rainbow colors of course!

Have you watched that video going viral on Facebook of how to make water color paints out of pantry supplies and ice cube trays? Well, I thought with the amount of painting my girls do it would be economical to make our paints in large cubes. Plus, it is a fun project to keep them busy. So, here is a look at what we did!

Recipe: 1 cup of baking soda

3/4 cup vinegar

2 TBSP Corn Syrup

1 cub corn starch

Food coloring

Start by adding baking soda to glass measuring cup or bowl. Next slowly pour in the vinegar (it will get fizzy which the kids love). Add in the corn syrup and the corn starch next.

mixture

Have you ever mixed cornstarch and water together before? It makes this crazy consistency of a solid that kind of melts into a liquid. It’s pretty cool to play with. Don’t be alarmed that the more you try to stir this the less it seems to mix together. It will go between a solid and a liquid between stirring. Don’t worry you’re doing it right!

paint whisk

Next pour the mixture evenly into ice cube trays. Be careful not to fill all the way to the top! Once you add in your food coloring and try to stir you will spill all the colors into one! Paint mix

There was plenty of this mix to make two trays of paints. The first tray we made a rainbow of colors.

rainbow mix

The next tray we made all green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day (and because the kids used all the red dye in the first tray of paints).

green paint

Once you have mixed all your colors, leave the trays out over night to dry. I attempted to freeze one tray to get it to dry faster. But, it just melted and became liquid again. So, I left both trays out on our counter. Both trays still have a fine layer of liquid color sitting on the top of each cube. I think that is from the corn syrup. These paints look just as shiny as the new sets at the store.

This is a really great activity to pull out on a rainy day. What better way to brighten your day than to paint a rainbow?! This is a messy project so be sure you use a tray, or newspaper underneath. Food coloring does stain so wipe up any drops right away so you don’t leave behind spots on your counter tops. When the kids are ready to paint make sure they are wearing clothes that are OK to get messy in.

This was a really fun project to make with the kids. They enjoyed making their own paints and getting to be a part of the process. If only they were as excited to clean up after these sorts of projects.

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

 

New Mom

I was petrified when the time came to take my first child home from the hospital. I timidly asked the nurse, “Will you show me how to change her before we go?” I had changed a few of my niece’s diapers, but this tiny little helpless being was mine. I looked at her precious little face and thought about all the ways I could screw up. Over time, I figured out how to really listen to my intuition and take other people’s advice with a grain of salt and you will too. New mamas, here are 6 tips to get you there faster.

1. Listen and Observe Your Baby – The best thing you can do to hone your natural maternal instincts is to listen to your baby’s cries and observe his or her behavior. You will be the one who knows your child better than anyone so when it comes time to answer questions about your child’s health or development you’ll be ready with the answers.

Before you rush to pick up your crying baby (if you know they are safe) take a second to stop and listen. Pay attention to what the cry sounds like. Is it long or start and stop, is it muffled or a full on wail? Then once you figure out why your baby is crying, you’ll be able to associate the sound with the cause. The more you observe, the quicker and easier it’ll be to tell whether they are hungry, sleepy, need a diaper, are in pain or just need a cuddle. You’ll also be able to answer your doctor’s questions about behavior that is unusual for them.

2. Save The Panic For Later– Babies are actually surprisingly resilient. When my first child was about eight months old she was sitting on the couch next to me and when I turned my head for a split second she went bounding over the back of it just out of my grasp. She fell onto the laminate floor with a sickening smack and for a second I couldn’t breathe. It took the longest second of silence ever, but then I heard her cry and my heart flooded with relief. I called the doctor and she told me to watch for signs of a concussion, but since she didn’t lose consciousness she was most likely fine.

While you have to be especially careful with newborns, as they get older the probability that they’ll get minor injuries goes up. The trick is to save the panic so that you can get them help first. You can freak out afterwards.

Oh and P.S. injuries to the mouth bleed like crazy. I spent $100 in the ER for that little piece of advice when my daughter cut her gum in a minor fall. No stitches were even done. Perhaps if I took a little longer to freak out, I would have thought to call the on-call pediatrician instead of racing off to the ER.

Again, you’ll need to answer questions about an injury or illness so it’s important to assess the situation and get the details before panic empties your mind.

3. Stay Off The Internet – Two days after I brought my first child home, my husband insisted we bring her to urgent care because she made a grunting sound in her sleep. He’s the one to jump on the internet to consult with Dr. Google and come to the worst case scenarios when it comes to our children’s health. If you really want to know what that rash is, make a doctor’s appointment and for the love of all that is holy stay off WebMD or Google. You’ll save yourself loads of unnecessary worry. Her grunting in her sleep was perfectly normal by the way.

4. Trial and Error Are Your Friends – You don’t have to have it all figured out to be a great parent. Don’t be scared to try something new or abandon a long standing technique that is no longer working. I always tell first-time parents, “Do what works, until it doesn’t anymore.” I co-slept with all of my babies until they got to an age where it became counterproductive and we both got less sleep instead of more. Then I moved them to the crib. Be wary of anyone who tells you definitively “this is what works.” Every baby and family is different and they can only tell you what worked for them, not what will work for you or your child.

5. Ease Up on Your Expectations – I see so many good moms totally beating themselves up when they don’t live up to their own expectations. When I was pregnant with my first child I told myself, “I will try to breastfeed.” That’s the extent of the promise I made to myself and as such I wasn’t going to be devastated if it didn’t work for me or the baby. It ended up being a great experience for me, but I know many women who really struggle with breastfeeding. So temper your expectations by saying, “I want to try to do this” instead of “I’m going to do this” when trying something new. You’ll be less hard on yourself if things don’t go according to plan and you’ll be a happier mom, which is always the best gift you can give your child.

6. Accept Help of Any Kind – Sure, maybe your mom’s fussing over the baby is getting on your last nerve, but if she offers to give you a break of an hour or even overnight, TAKE IT. When I was a new mom, my mother offered to come up once every month or so and watch my daughter downstairs overnight. Those days gave me the sleep I so desperately needed so that I didn’t feel like I was falling apart. We may want to do it all or feel we need to, but if someone offers to help, take it without shame or worry. The truth is that none of us do it alone. It’s too hard. When they say it takes a village, it’s because it’s true. Bottom line, if you can’t get a hot meal, shower or some sleep once in a while you’ll feel like you’re losing your mind. You can’t fine tune your maternal instincts if you’re not taking care of yourself.

I have a special place in my heart for new moms. I see them in the store with their tiny babies. Sometimes they ask me with weary eyes how long it took for my kids to sleep through the night. I often don’t have the answer that brings them comfort, but I want to tell you new moms, you WILL survive the baby years. You’ll wake up one day to a chubby faced toddler racing through your house, then a tall and independent child, and then a moody teenager. Motherhood is a roller coaster. It’s frightening, exciting and goes just as fast.

Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found writing on her blog The No Drama Mama and Hudson Valley Parent when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her three adorable kiddos. This “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow her on Facebook or Twitter for her delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails. Her work can also be found on Money Saving Mom and Mamapedia.

 

Before it gets too warm for soup, I had to sneak one more in there.  My favorite thing about soup is how many different vegetables I can include, and that everyone says, “Yum,” as I fill the bowls.  Soup is filling without being too heavy, and usually a healthy meal.  It’s also easy to vary the protein (beans, shredded chicken, mini meatballs, sausage) to keep it fresh.

Tuscan Sausage Vegetable Soup

20160308_163403

I came across some local, fresh zucchini on sale this week and it was the inspiration for making this soup.  My kids typically love vegetables but turn down zucchini, unless it’s in soup or zucchini bread.  I spent some time online looking for a soup recipe that included zucchini other than our usual Minestrone, and found one that called for tortellini.  While I love, love, love tortellini, it’s not easy to find gluten free and super expensive at the health food store.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to get any before making the soup, and had also seen a recipe for a similar recipe that used sausage instead of pasta.  I decided to make the substitution this time around.

Following this recipe quite closely, I made almost no changes.  I used oregano instead of rosemary, and Trader Joe’s chicken sun-dried tomato sausage (no pork casing- yeah!) in lieu of the tortellini.  I sautéed the sausage separately and put slices of it into each bowl when serving the soup.  I’ll try it with the tortellini next time, but plan to cook it separately rather than in the soup itself as the author mentions.

By the way, the soup was delicious.  I made an herb focaccia bread to go along with it (Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread) and it was perfect for dipping.  I had to pack the soup in thermoses and bring along since we had to eat dinner in between my kids’ evening activities, and none of us could wait till it was dinner time.  I’ll definitely make this one again, and leftovers were great for a quick lunch.

To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook.

 

 

 

We're All a Little IrishOne Day a Year

Hello fine friends and readers! Are you gearing up for St. Patty’s Day? Maybe you are ready to breeze passed the day like any other day. Well, this year my kids are so beyond excited to celebrate! They have created an elaborate “top secret” plan for a Leprechaun trap. I’m not even allowed to share their plans with you here. But, I do have permission to share with you some of our favorite and simple ways to celebrate the day!

Pancakes– how easy is that? You can dye your pancakes any color you want as you start off the morning. Go with green, the dominate color of the day; or go with yellow to represent the gold at the end of the rainbow. Or, if you are really ambitious go ahead and make rainbow colored pancakes. Your kids will just be happy to have pancakes on a weekday!

Untitled design (10)

Milk Shakes– ever have one of those classic McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes? Those were great when I was a kid, but now I’m all like, “what? Where is the nutrition?” That’s because I’m a mom and obligated to say that. I did find a fun way to make healthy shamrock shakes at home to serve with our awesome pancakes. I am not hopeful my kids will like it, but I’m willing to give it a try before we hit the drive thru later.

Decorate– keep it simple with green cutouts from the dollar store, or go all out. There is no wrong way to decorate. My kids think they are going to trap a leprechaun; well the trick is on them because this year the leprechaun (Sean) is going to trap them! We are creating a barricade with green crepe paper. I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces when they try to get out of their rooms in the morning!

Wearing of the green– of course we will wear something green. Don’t worry if you don’t have something that says St. Patty’s day on it. You will see lots of moms go all out for the holiday with customized t-shirts, but you don’t have to. A simple green shirt or a pair of green socks will do! Whatever is the most fun for the kids!

Irish t shirt

Music– this is our biggest tradition! Each year I am on a hunt for authentic Irish folk music. Not only because we have Irish heritage, but it is just really fun music! Most often we have to visit a pub, or an Irish bar to find it. We just try to go during the day before the drinking starts. If taking your kid out on St. Patty’s day isn’t your speed then you can easily find some great Irish folk music, or fun rock on a digital station or YouTube.

Brave the Shave– Our newest tradition is finding a St. Baldrick’s event near us to support. Last year we volunteered at our local event, but this year we are heading home to watch my 17 year old niece (and 14 year cancer survivor) braves the shave. St. Baldrick’s events are held to raise money for pediatric cancer research. These events raise millions of dollars each year to help fund researches to find a cure. Find an event near you and I promise your heart will never be the same!!! Click here to learn more!

Print

If you choose to celebrate this holiday just know there is no wrong way to do it! Even when you see all the other pics on Facebook of what other moms are doing with their kids don’t stress! This holiday comes every year and your traditions are unique to your family! You can change it up any way you want! Just enjoy the fun with the kids while they still believe in the magic of leprechauns!

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

 

 

I find myself longing for the birthday parties of my youth. They were simple and fun. There only needed to be cake, ice cream and friends to have a great time. One of the birthday parties I loved was at a friend’s house in a tent outside their house. It was a banana split party so every child brought a banana and prizes were given to the “oldest” banana, the “youngest,” biggest,” “smallest,” you get the idea. As a parent I now find myself losing an entire weekend day to one of my children’s friend’s birthday parties and sometimes I am completely drained afterwards.

birthday cupcakes

Over the last two years we just started moving our kids’ parties to outside venues. We’ve entered the three ring circus that are kids’ birthday parties and I sort of wish we could put the lid back on Pandora’s box because now we’re stuck in the cycle. The whole process of spending weeks researching venues, paying deposits, ordering cakes and sending out invites is exhausting. I miss when they were little and we called friends or did a Facebook event and said “Hey, join us at our house for some food to celebrate our child’s birthday.”

Party Disaster

My oldest daughter Hannah’s party last year was a disaster, but taught me a great lesson. We decided to have it at our town pool since her birthday is at the end of August. I paid the deposit, she invited all her friends from summer camp, ordered $75 worth of pizza not to mention the cake, drinks, party supplies etc. As soon as we got there we were informed that the pool was closed as they had no lifeguards. They had trouble retaining lifeguards with kids going back to college or working at different local pools. But nothing prepared me for finding out fifteen minutes before the party that our whole theme/entertainment just went down the tubes with no time to change it.

Box Car Race Saves The Day!

Thankfully my husband built these awesome cardboard box race cars for a fun race inspired by the one we participated in on our camping trip just a few weeks earlier. We set up little flags for the track, a pit area and fun pit stop activities. In the first lap our cars had to stop to get their windshield cleaned (kids got squirted in the face with water and then dried with a towel). Then they had to stop to get a fill up (the kids had to drink some water). Then on the last lap they had to stop to change their tires (the kids had to put on a pair of my old sneakers and try to make it around the track without stumbling). It was a simple idea that saved us from having absolutely nothing to do for her party as we were counting on the kids swimming all day. I’m not going to lie, it was hotter than hot, but we even convinced the parents to run the race and we managed to pull off a decent party.

Kids Bring the Fun

It taught me that we really don’t need to go so crazy with kids’ birthday parties. Kids bring the fun with them. We’re the ones who try to control everything. We stress about how beautiful the cake looks, if all the food will stay hot, if too many people will show up or none at all. We put our very high expectations on our kids. But the truth is, they already have everything they need in us. We love them and we are giving them the gift of celebrating how much they mean to us and how they changed our lives when they were born.

The Express Party Plan

This year we’ll be on vacation at the Jersey shore during her birthday so we hatched a plan to make her party less of a hassle. We discussed our ideas and gave her choices. I think it’s important that she be a part of the process. We’re going to take her to a water park on her actual birthday while at the shore. That’s her big gift and I’m actually glad it’s not anything that’s going to be forgotten about within the month. She still wanted to celebrate with her friends, which is tricky with camp being over and school not having begun yet. So we decided to do an express party in September so that she could celebrate with friends.

Could Less Mean More?

We’re going to make it clear on the invite that this is going to be a cake and ice cream party. We aren’t going to spend a boat load of money on food. We’re also not going to go crazy trying to come up with party games and activities. They’ll be no bouncy houses or fancy entertainment. We’re going old school this time. It’s just going to be some sugared up kids, playing whatever they want.

The best part is that it’s not going to take all afternoon so parents can actually keep a good chunk of their Saturday to spend with their families. After all, working parents don’t get a ton of time with their kids to begin with and we don’t want to take a whole day from them to celebrate our child’s birthday.

Hannah just attended a birthday party at Hoopla in Middletown. It was an hour-and-a-half of choosing their favorite flavors of frozen yogurt and toppings and she absolutely loved it. All the kids got a bracelet and they could eat all they wanted for $4 per child. So guess where Hannah’s having her party this year. That’s right, no muss, no fuss, but just enough Hoopla!

Could you get on board with the idea of an “express” party?

Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found writing on her blog The No Drama Mama and Hudson Valley Parent Magazine when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her three adorable kiddos. This frugal, “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow her on Facebook or Twitter for her delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails. Her work can also be found on Money Saving Mom and Mamapedia.

About Me!

This blog is where we comment on the issues and topics Hudson Valley parents deal with every day. We invite you to join us! Please leave us your comments.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 59 other followers

Categories