Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Good, green, Grinchy fun!

I am a theater lover. I did some acting as a kid and teen, and participated behind the scenes for a couple productions in college. I have not been on the stage in quite some time, but I still enjoy a good show now and then. Last night was no exception.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (a musical!) arrived in Atlanta at the Fabulous Fox Theater. I left my husband at home to take care of little one's bedtime, grabbed a friend, left my cozy suburban home, and drove into town.

The show was phenomenal! It follows the beloved Dr. Seuss tale we all know so well, but with a couple little tweaks to keep the audience riveted. The humor was relentless; I had tears in my eyes and a stitch in my side from laughing all the way through. Stefan Karl, well-known for his role as Robbie Rotten on LazyTown, played the Grinch role with absolute hairy, grumpy, grinchy perfection.

WW: Jingle Bells

Welcome to our holiday house!
I love the whimsy and sparkle of Christmas decorations.

Happy Holidays!

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iPhone Photo Phun

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This is who I am

This is my husband’s favorite photo of me. He says it typifies the essence of who I am, of everything he loves about me.

The wedding took place in a quaint, creaky, simple chapel originally built in the 1880s. I cannot bring into memory where anyone was sitting, nor what the pastor said. I can only see the smile from my groom’s face. I can only hear the quiet conversation we had amongst ourselves when we were supposed to be listening.

January 2003. Forty-something degrees, only two days after one of the coldest temperatures ever experienced in Atlanta. I had just transformed from a Miss to a Mrs. I was the princess of the hour.

And I was hungry.

Spinach dip!!!

Some say a photograph steals the soul. This week, show us yours: take us into the moment that photograph was taken.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

When small things become big doubts

Linking up to All Things Fadra's Stream of Consciousness Sunday again - it's been entirely too long since I last participated (See this is not goodbye from May). #SOC Sunday is the busy blogger's best friend. Write for five minutes only. No editing or stressing over word choice. Spill the thoughts on the screen, and that's it!

Just the kind of post I needed this evening.


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When small things become big doubts

My child is tall for her 3 1/2 years, but she's still small to me. She still needs help reaching parts of the counter top. She calls for help when washing her hands in the kitchen sink. She still rejoices in simple things like, "Mommy! I wrote a number five!".

It baffles my brain, however, that a small child can become such a big struggle for me. She is mostly well-behaved and of course, a complete angel for anyone other than Mom and Dad. But when she chooses to assert her independence at a most inopportune time? When she is hyper to the point of making me want to tear my hair out? This little girl starts creating major doubts in my mind.

Best iPhone apps to entertain a preschooler

Kids these days. Amazingly tech-savvy little ones, aren't they? My 3 1/2 year old daughter loves to play with my iPhone. We watch videos and listen to her favorite songs together. Sometimes, she takes my phone in her little hands and plays all by herself. This comes in handy when stuck in a doctor's waiting room past the preschooler threshold for patience.

Here is a sneak peek at Amelia's apps folder:

  • The Three Little Pigs app is a cute illustrated story book.
  • The animal app is a matching game, like Memory.
  • Doodle Buddy lets her paint and draw with her fingertip, as well as stamp fun shapes and images all over the screen. You shake the phone to erase, much like the old-school Etch-A-Sketch.
  • The talking animal apps are always fun. Talking Ben is my favorite - he's a slightly grumpy, fuzzy dog in an armchair. This series of Apps has Talking Tom the cat, Talking Larry the bird, and more.
  • Balloonimals is fantastic! It's a paid app, but totally worth it. Kids can blow up balloons (literally - you blow into the phone's microphone!), then shake to create various balloon animals in rainbow colors.
Our latest and greatest app? Cake Doodle! My sister discovered it and entertained Amelia for hours this weekend. It's so great, I just have to share. (This is not a sponsored post - I truly love this app for preschoolers!)

Cake Doodle lets you choose the type of cake to bake (lemon, strawberry, red velvet, chocolate, etc.), then shows a recipe for that cake. You drag the ingredients into the bowl, and perform various techniques with each ingredient - like tilt the phone to pour, tap to crack the eggs, and slide to slice the butter. It introduces simple cooking ideas and it's a lot of fun!

Once all the ingredients are in the bowl, you draw circles with your finger to stir it all up.:

Once stirred, you choose the shape of the cake and slide the pan(s) into the oven. When the oven dings, you're ready to decorate! Select frosting colors, various decorative tips, flowers, sprinkles, and cake toppers. And once finished with your (virtually) edible masterpiece? Tap the image to bite until it's all gone!

I admit... I even played this one a couple times. Here is my latest lovely creation:

Cake Doodle costs $0.99 from the iTunes store. My preschooler has played with it for long periods of time, for three days straight. I would call that money well spent!

What are your favorite apps for kids?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Grateful. Satisfied. Thankful!


Thanksgiving day was truly heartwarming. (I don't mean heartburn from eating too much - although that was certainly present.) No feeling compares to the one I get watching my sweet little girl bring smiles to the faces of people who truly love her. Unconditionally.

We had family time together, mouth-watering food, and plenty of laughs.

My husband succumbed to the lure of the newspaper sales flyers, and convinced me to go out with him at midnight. We were tired and the crowds were ridiculous, but the time we spent together, just me and him, was wonderful. We made memories for sure, tag-teaming the shopping process (I'll get in the checkout line, you go get the items - go! go! go!), meeting friendly shoppers in the line, and standing close together outdoors as the temperatures dropped into the low 40s. We made memories, and did our part for the economy with some new gadgets for our home and Christmas gifts for nieces and nephews.

Today, we slept as late as our 3-year old would allow, and mostly relaxed at home. This evening, we ventured into the city to view the new "Garden Nights, Holiday Lights" at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. It was lovely! Amelia's eyes reflected every magical twinkle. She danced down the pathways. We oohed and ahhed and pointed to all the lovely sights.

I think, perhaps, magic is real. I can feel it. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Empty toilet paper rolls? Art time!


This is an easy preschooler-friendly craft! I got the idea from Amelia's preschool, where they made little Native American people in a similar way (just draw in bead necklaces and glue a feather on the back of the head). Tonight, we made our own little family.

  • Empty toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls cut in half
  • Construction paper
  • Glue Stick
  • Scissors
  • Markers
How to make the tube people:
  • Cut construction paper into strips about 2"-3" wide. For each person, you will need one paper strip for skin color, one for hair, one for shirt, and one for pants.
    • For hair: Cut the strip short so it does not go all the way around the tube, then fringe the ends
    • For shirt: Cut a notch in the middle to look like a neckline
  • Use glue stick to glue on the skin color first. Glue the paper strip around the tube.
  • Next, glue on the shirt with the notch underneath where you'd like the face to go.
  • Then glue on the pants, underneath the shirt
  • Glue on the hair last, leaving the open space for the face
  • Use markers to add eyes, nose, mouth, buttons, etc.
  • Optional: Get creative with jewels, real buttons, or fabric strips for more decoration!

That's it! An easy, fun and cute activity.

Find more preschool art posts by clicking here: Preschool Art Projects

iPhone Photo Phun

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mama's quiet place

Too early for sleep, yet late enough to burrow. Under cool sheets I go, relishing the weight of the downy duvet. This time of year, only darkness hangs outside the arched window. The air is cool.

My quiet place? My bedroom.

Once the chatterbox singing princess is snug and silent in her own cozy spot, I breathe. I allow the weights of another busy day to lift off my shoulders. I take time to loosen my muscles and listen - to absolutely nothing.

Then, during my only extended down time of the day, I reach for my iPhone or my e-reader.

The time is mine.
I can do what I like.
Not making a sound.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Getting creative with bedtime issues

Every now and then, I come up with a pretty good parenting idea. Today? I am quite proud of my "bedtime activities chart."

You see, we have a bedtime issue.
A classic three-year-old "I don't want to stop playing" issue.
And yes, we - Mom & Dad - are probably to blame.

After a busy day of work, errands, and various tasks, we enjoy the quiet of Amelia's bedroom and the extra time for some giggles. But with every new funny game we play, our precocious little daughter files it away and comes to expect it. Again and again and again each night. At this point, our bedtime routine has about twelve steps and takes forever. We can't even get a nighttime babysitter because her routine is that crazy.

Tonight, we're introducing my new creation. A chart with velcro images. A chart that allows Amelia to make her own bedtime choices. But only two of them. Each night, we will let her dictate what we play. She will select two images (books, animals, Little People, songs, etc.) and stick them to the bright pink squares.

No changing her mind. No asking to do more. She gets to select TWO activities.

I am prepared to face a few tears at first. However, I hold out hope that we can reach a good place. I want to help Amelia assert her independence by leaving the activity selection entirely in her own hands (literally). I want to help manage her expectations by focusing those decisions and consistently sticking with only two per night.

This chart was easy to make. Images from the Internet, self-stick velcro dots, some poster board, and tape. I think it's a pretty sharp idea!

Let's hope it works.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coming soon: BalancingMama!

I will get back to blogging very soon.
During this short time off, I'm seizing the opportunity to make a couple changes.

After stalking the URL for a few months, it finally became available. So, in order to match my Twitter handle and better fit my blog content, this will soon become (drum roll please....)!

I have a sweet spot in my heart for 3MomsIn1, of course, but my life as Mom and my blog have evolved over the past two years.

I am more than three moms.
Like every other mom out there, I am a thousand things.

This blog is about more than parenting.
It's about me. A look into my life, my memoirs, my recommendations, my dreams and my aspirations.

I truly am a Balancing Mama. I will never be balanced, as true balance is an ever-changing, slightly intangible thing. I am a real person with real stories and struggles. A parent just like most of you.

Thanks for reading! I can't wait to connect with you soon.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just in case you miss me...

Not back to blogging just yet.

but just in case you are truly devastated without my tales of parenthood and musings of childhood, I'm sharing a few new fall photos of my lovely.

Enjoy :)

And no worries, I will be back!

Look for soon!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sometimes you have to let go

I am going to step back for a bit and decide if I still want to do this.

Life is busy, and I feel like I'm spending too much of it in front of a screen.

There is a very good chance I will end up bored out of my mind. In which case, I will be back.

For now, I am taking a hiatus. Telling myself it's only 10 days. Hoping, actually, that it's only 10 days.

But time will tell.

I need to see what my BalancingMama life is all about without a blog.

* * * * * * * *
I will still be chatting on Twitter and visiting my favorite blogs.... I still want to connect.
* * * * * * * *

Monday, November 7, 2011

If life was like three-year-old art

If only life could mimic three-year-old art every day...

My wish for my daughter?
  • May she always live in a world of rainbows and sunshine
  • May she always have a hand to hold
  • May she always have a smile
  • May she always know how much she is loved
  • May she always believe in the extraordinary power of family
I really love that kid.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

If you knock on my door...

If you knock on my door unexpectedly, I cannot promise you will see this family's best. Sweatshirts, no makeup, and toussled hair from playtime would be more likely.

If you come inside, I cannot promise you won't step on stray toys.

If you glance in the kitchen, I cannot promise you will see a sink free of dishes. In fact, you'll probably guess what we ate for lunch that day.

You see, I learned early on that cleaning can wait. I would clean myself in circles if I picked up each and every game, crayon, puzzle, or princess dress. Sometimes playtime pulls me away from those lunch dishes. Occasionally the sunshine drags us outside.

We do a family clean-up each evening. We go to bed with a neat home, ready to start again with fun in the morning. I like to wake up to a fresh start, but live life to the fullest during the day.

Life does not wait, but the mess will.

So if you're thinking of paying us a little visit?
Know that friends are always welcome.
Just enter at your own risk.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Things for which I have no patience...

Being Amelia's Mommy is amazing. I love that kid with all my heart. She makes me laugh and amazes me with how quick she learns new tricks. I would never give up this job for anything in the entire world... I love being Mommy... blah, blah, blah... yes, we know.


There are a few things that drive me completely insane. Instances where I would prefer to run out of the house screaming even though I'd be completely embarrassed if the neighbors saw what I was wearing.

I have absolutely no patience for...

Car-load dawdling. If I let her, this child would take 15 minutes to get herself seated in the car. Even - no, especially - if it is blazing hot outside, pouring down rain, or if another driver is waiting with their turn signal on, hoping to take our parking space. She climbs across the car to investigate a crumb on the floor, looks for a book underneath the driver's seat, takes her shoes off, wants a drink of water when her cup is in the front seat cupholder, "accidentally" slips and falls on the floor when trying to get in her car seat.... I am over it.

Bedtime stalling. Can anyone tell me why children do not crave bedtime like their mommies do? Do you know what I would give for someone to force me to lay down for a nap? Or to rub my back for a couple minutes, instructing me to sleep?!? We have a difficult time deciphering if she is truly scared or just playing her masterful game of stalling, but our bedtime routine is short on cute, sweet, and cuddly these days.  I am beyond over it.

Bingo boredom. We own two preschool-friendly games that are actually enjoyable. But Little Einstein's bingo? Drives me bonkers. I feel like a drill sergeant barking orders instead of a friendly playmate. For some reason, she begs to play this game, but cannot hold her attention on it for more than 6 seconds at a time. Playing this game sounds like this:
"Okay, Amelia, spin. Amelia? Your turn to spin."  
"Blue Leo. Amelia? Blue Leo. Do you have any Blue Leos? Put the pieces on the Blue Leo. Amelia... put the pieces on. On Blue Leo. Yes, there."
(Mommy spins a Green Annie.)
"Amelia, I got Green Annie. Amelia? Amelia! Green Annie. Do you have any Green Annies? Amelia? Amelia? Green Annie. Put the pieces on Green Annie. No, that's Purple June. It's Green Annie...."
Seriously! Yet, she loves this game. She won't let me put it away before we've filled our bingo cards. I now know where the old bingo ladies at the civic center get their gray hair... they must have practiced the game with my child. I am really, really, over it.

Don't make let feel all alone here.

Tell me, when are you completely drained of patience?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Real Moms (like me!) Love to Eat

I am a mom who loves to eat. I have a sugar addiction and adore the convenience of not-so-healthy foods. And yes... I have put on a couple pounds. I find myself rationalizing but I'm not fat and I'm smaller than most American adults and I don't even wear double-digit clothing sizes.

Blah, blah, blah.

The reality is, I need to think about my health as well as my size. I want to be able to keep up with my energetic daughter for years to come. I do not want to succumb to a heart attack at age 47 (or anytime).

I think I have discovered a way to boost my enthusiasm for a better lifestyle. This winter, SocialMom and certified health counselor Beth Aldrich will release her new book, Real Moms Love to Eat.

In the book, she helps moms to undergo a gradual lifestyle change towards better eating and provides several weeks' worth of meal ideas and tips.

She does not tell us to go on a drastic diet.

She does not tell us to go hungry.

She does not expect us to have three extra hours each day to implement challenging strategies.

She does not take on a "I know better than you" persona.

It is a realistic guide for moms just like me... balancing moms. Moms who could stand to lose a few pounds. Moms who loathe exercise. Busy moms. Moms who know their health is important, but time and fatigue often get in the way.

My daughter is the light of my life.
If she goes for a run in the park, I want to run with her.

I am going to be nicer to my body.

And I'm publishing these words where the whole world can read them...
so hold me to it, people.

If you are a blogger, be sure to check out the Food Affairates Program to help celebrate the new book!

For more info:

Or follow @realmomsluv2eat on Twitter

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I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Beth Aldrich - Real Moms Love to Eat blogging program, for a chance to get 3,000 My SocialMoms Rewards points. For more information on how you can participate, CLICK HERE

WW: Costumed Camaraderie

Daddy-Daughter pumpkin time

A beautiful princess (today & every day!)

The pumpkin menagerie

Duh... I'm Dopey!

Best. Neighbors. Ever.

Candy SCORE!

iPhone Photo Phun

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