Tuesday, May 19, 2015

CAPTAIN TOTO


Anyone heard of Captain Toto? If you don't know him, you should. He travels the world and then reports back to your kids by mail with fun and educational and incredibly cute stickers and a letter about his travels. 

 First of all, kids LOVE to get mail.

Second of all, parents love for education to be fun and it to keep kids' interest. 

Third of all, if you're going to create an educational product, it might as well look crazy good, as these stickers definitely do. As you know, I am a sucker for great illustrations, and these do not disappoint. 

So if you're in the market for points 1, 2, and 3, look into a Captain Toto subscription for your kids. Or it would be a fantastic gift for grandkids! My kids are fans. In fact, after reading the letter and playing with the stickers, Silas said, "I hope Captain Toto writes to us again!" That's the kind of reaction you want after a learning experience. Am I right?!

And as a bonus, the illustrations inspired my kids to get creative and draw. Major bonus, as far as I'm concerned. 

Thank you, Captain Toto, for being so cool and for including my kids! I wish you safe travels and success in your ventures!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

THAT WAS SO ONE KID AGO


I was talking with a friend the other day, a mother to five boys, FIVE, and we were discussing keeping up with fashion trends, and she said to me, "That was so one kid ago." As much as I hate to admit it, she was right. I care so much less about fashion than I did one kid ago. In fact, a lot was different one kid ago.

No matter how many people tell you another child won't alter your life all that much, it does and will, and they are lying to you. With each new addition you bring into the world, your life, as you knew it before that child, changes. You give up a little more in order to GET a LOT more. That's the cost. It's just part of it. And whether you're having your first or your second or your tenth, you WILL at some point find yourself thinking, "That was so one kid ago."

In my case, going from three kids to four changed life exponentially. For instance...

Getting invited to friend's homes for dinner. So one kid ago. Eating out without spending a small fortune and/or remembering and fully digesting what you ate. Going to the movies for under $100 a show. Making due with one hotel room for overnight stays. Being 10 pounds lighter. All so one kid ago. 


Setting up the toys on the kids' shelves in their room like they are decoration rather than throwing them anywhere they are out of the way, that sometimes being giant trash bags that then sit in the garage until you forget about them.

Knowing the years your kids were born. Knowing their current ages. Knowing their names.

Wanting to buy your kids toys. Looking forward to Christmas. Elaborate birthday parties. So one kid ago.

Regular hair appointments. Regular blogging. Regular baths. Regular anything, other than laundry. Matching socks. Knowing current events. Being cool. Having plants that live. Trying to be perfect. 

Being on time. Fine. I've never been on time. But having any hope of being closer to on time. One kid ago. 

Daily dressing myself in cute-ish clothes. My kids having pajamas that match or pajamas at all for that matter. All the organic everything and no processed foods. A loaf of bread going further than one meal. Leftovers. Feeling that leaving all your kids with someone isn't burdensome. ONE KID AGO! 

There are some perks of which you let go in order to be what you need to be for one more person. But can you imagine this picture without that little ball of spunk on the end? Our number 4? One kid ago was different. Less expensive. Less inconvenient. Less chaotic. But one kid ago was incomplete, less colorful, less interesting, and undeniably less happy. I'll trade you all the movie theater popcorn and matching pajamas in the world for this little human who turns three this week. Three years of four kids on Friday. We will celebrate with store-bought cupcakes, because baking was so one kid ago. 


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: NATURE ANATOMY BY JULIA ROTHMAN

I break my blogging hiatus for only the best of the best. And this, my friends, is just that. I don't know when I've enjoyed a book so much. If I'm honest, I don't know when I've enjoyed a book. I'm not an avid reader. I like pictures. That's why this book, Julia Rothman's Nature Anatomy is great for me. It's sneaky, because while I'm looking at all the pretty illustrations,  I can't help but devour the oodles of information about nature that is included alongside the beautiful eye candy. It's one of those books that makes you want to read and know stuff. 

As is the plight of all crazy homeschoolers out there, I'm always looking to find great informational books that make you want to jump in and learn. Well, look no further, fellow crazies.

I asked Enid to sit down with this book so I could snap some photos of her looking at it. She of course was all huffs and puffs over having to do something SO demanding, but I loved watching her bad attitude melt away once she opened the cover and started getting lost in the pages of this wonderland of a book. I mean, look at these faces! Totally sincere.



And in came her brothers... Not many books are so captivating as to draw in an 8 year old and 3 year old alike!  



My kids have asked me countless times about the sun and moon and Earth and why there are seasons, etc. Typically, I respond with, "We need to look that up," because I can never remember this kind of information! And it honestly is just really hard for me to comprehend. I need someone to draw me a picture! That's precisely what Julia Rothman has done for her readers in this book. And it's simplified so even dummies like myself can understand it and relay it to my kids. It's not super duper in-depth, but it's basic. It's the stuff you remember after studying in-depth about subjects like this.

I highly recommend getting this book. Be it for your mom, your kids, or yourself, it's a purchase you will not regret. And if you homeschool, it's a no-brainer. 

Find her book here, and check out her other publication, Farm Anatomy while you're at it. It's on my book order short list! 


Monday, January 26, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: CHILDREN ARE NAUGHTY

Tom is 2. And he acts every bit of it, some days worse than others. And, honestly, I often don't have a clue what to do about it! Now, that's not to say he doesn't have his supremely sweet moments. He most definitely does, but when he is bad, he is very, very bad.

When I was a kid, my mom created a story about a bad kid and a nice kid, highlighting the differences in how they reacted in certain scenarios. Being the fab artist that she was/is, she made a little story flip chart with coordinating pictures and would read it to us when we were needing a little behavioral reminder. One day I'm gonna get that story published, but until then, I have found this little gem: Children are Naughty by Vincent Cuvellier and Aurelie Guillerey, published by Flying Eye Books. 

This book hits the spot, for sure. I can actually see it clicking in Tom's head when we read about how some of these naughty children act. He realizes that they are him, that he is they. 


Naughty kids draw all over the house...



Naughty kids pull hair and push...


 Naughty kids don't obey...




Naughty kids yell and scream...


For us, this has been a fantastic book to add to our little library! It teaches a lesson that kids desperately need to learn and parents need help teaching! And my older kids also love it and love copying the illustrations. As you can see for yourselves, the illustrations are out-of-this-world incredible! For parents of small children, this one's a must. To order a copy of Children are Naughty, click here, and don't forget to check out the other quality material published by Flying Eye Books while visiting the site! As for us, Tom is currently having a meltdown, so we will be giving this another read ;) 

Monday, January 12, 2015

BEING SELFISH IN 2015


Well, it happened. My mom and sister have been saying it would. They were correct. I hit the wall. 
As it turns out, there really is only so much one person can take on. Parenting, wife-ing, keeping up a house, homeschooling, blogging, social media-ing, running a business, being an active part of society... it can't all be done. Not for long, anyway, and not all that well. I've been juggling for a long time. And juggling, while often fun and interesting, is exhausting. We all are required to juggle. It's just part of being an adult, but to some extent, we choose how many balls to include in that rotation.

After the Little-Biscuits portraits holiday rush and the Christmas pressure that goes with being a parent, I hit the wall. I had zero desire to blog, to create, to enjoy, to cook, to play, to DO ANYTHING. I kid you not. I sat in bed for a good couple days over the holidays with no idea what my kids were doing. I mean, I'm fairly certain they were just watching movies and a lot of Netflix. I was binge watching The Good Wife, eating dessert for breakfast (for weeks), and dropping all the balls. I've never really been depressed, but I wondered if that was what I was experiencing. Being on the other side of it now, I think it was just pure exhaustion. I had given of myself A LOT. Like, too much. I had finally hit the wall.

What now? What is the answer, now that my pants are officially too tight and I've watched five seasons of Julianna Margulies being a good wife? You know, I believe that being selfish is the root of a lot of ugly mess, but completely ignoring yourself and giving of yourself around the clock can create a different kind of mess, one in which I've been swimming or, rather, drowning. While I can't afford to stop juggling altogether, something that would probably help me do my jobs more efficiently and effectively is being a wee more selfish. I'm going to make an effort to make time for myself in 2015. I'm starting with things like taking the time to floss my teeth and wash my face at night. I'm 100% serious. I've neglected everything. I'm also going to buy myself a razor, my very own razor (I've been using Heath's), and shave my legs and lotion my limbs on a more regular basis. You know that whole dressing for success idea? I believe it. Even if I look somewhat put together, I feel horrible about myself when underneath my clothes my skin is cracking and I have the legs and underarms of a hippy. And I can feel it affecting my performance. I'm also gonna try drinking more water and adding a little exercise to my days - nothing too overwhelming, but something -  getting out of the house more often, having adult conversations, face to face, maybe once a week. I have ignored myself for way too long, and I'm not ready to give up.

So being more selfish in 2015 I will be. Or maybe it's not selfish, it's just healthy. I'm gonna relax in areas I can, put less pressure on myself while still working hard, and I'm not going to take on unnecessary tasks or, in keeping with the juggling metaphor, balls. (I'm now wishing I had chosen a metaphor that didn't involve using the word "balls" so much.)

Any other overdoers out there in the blog reading world struggling with finding/making time for yourself? Do you have any methods you use to assure you're taking care of you and aren't hitting the wall? Do tell, cause I'm not interested in hitting that wall again. But just in case I do, go ahead and tell me what shows to add to my binge watching agenda. I'm going through The Good Wife withdrawals!