Posts Tagged ‘Pinterest’

Teacher Gift Ideas for the Pinterest-Challenged

Monday, December 5th, 2016

teacher giftsI am terrible at crafts.

As a mom in 2016, I feel like there needs to be a support group for that. We could each take a turn, standing in a room, and recite, “I am terrible at crafts.” Then we disclose all of our crafting fails (like when I spent hundreds of dollars on a vinyl machine that sat in a drawer for a year and a half, doing nothing, because I didn’t accept that I was terrible at crafts), and then we eat store-bought baked goods until we either forgive ourselves of our shortcomings or are numb to the pain of our shortcomings.

The holidays seem to shine a spotlight on all crafty shortcomings, as it is the season where social media is peppered with everyone’s latest creation. It seems that the greatest of pressures for this is on the gift that is given to the teacher.

I think the idea behind this is that with multiple children in school, gifts can get expensive, so this allows you to provide something that is thoughtful, but inexpensive. Or perhaps it’s just like high school all over again, except instead it’s shaming me for not knowing how to adequately use a hot glue gun instead of a flat iron. Regardless of emotional and psychological barriers to crafting the perfect teacher gift, here are some ideas for those of us who break out into a cold sweat at the mention of Pinterest:

  • Gift cards. Sure, they can be impersonal. But think about the wide range appeal, the ease in wrapping, the ability to grab it in the check-out line at the grocery store when you are buying milk at 9:00 at night. Get a gift card that allows the teacher to treat themselves to a coffee or ice cream, or to get something lovely at the bookstore. Get them a gift card to Target, because everyone loves Target. Everyone.
  • Office supplies, fun edition! Yes, office supplies can be fun! Brightly colored sharpies, fun shaped post-it notes, and markers designed for sniffing that won’t make people think you might have a drug problem.
  • A thoughtful, handwritten note. Speaking fully as a social worker, I know what it feels like to be in a profession where you want to help people, and frequently only hear any feedback when things go wrong. Think about it; the last time you emailed your kid’s teacher, it was probably because something wasn’t working out well. So writing a note to express your gratitude that your kid has a safe place to learn every day can mean the world to someone who often only hears about the bad stuff.
  • And finally, a quote from the comments section of an article I read when researching teacher gifts: “One year my husband brought home another large box of gifts he had received from his early elementary-aged students for Christmas: a couple of fun ties, several boxes of chocolates and chocolate-covered cherries, mugs, ornaments, gift cards, items related to his hobbies, homemade treats, and many lovely cards and notes from students and families. Then I noticed a ceramic collie (dog), which was medium-sized and chipped in a couple of places. It looked like maybe it had been around for awhile (sic). I asked if the staff had a white elephant exchange or where the collie came from. He explained that it was a gift from a student who really didn’t have anything…but wanted to give something special. I don’t think any gesture or gift could have honored my husband more.”

So be thoughtful. Or don’t. The options are endless, even when you aren’t on Pinterest.

Keighty Brigman is terrible at crafting, throwing birthday parties, and making sure there isn’t food on her face. Allegedly, her four children manage to love her anyway. 

Sibling Halloween Costume Ideas

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Sibling Halloween Costume Ideas I never had a sibling to plan my costume with since I was an only child, so I try to coordinate my children’s costumes each year. Elsa and Olaf was a big disaster last year. My 14 month old did not want anything to do with the Olaf head, which made the costume. He spent most of the time crying, so we just went with the bodysuit. And, oh, don’t get me started on how much he loved the hands!

Sibling Halloween Costume Ideas




Here are some fun sibling costume ideas for siblings:

Sports Fans

This one is a fall classic. If you like football, you could easily do this with a new baby and older brother. A simple football jersey for big brother and a football brown onesie for baby. You could add more details if you want, like maybe go for your favorite team. You could also do this with baseball if you’re more into the World Series this time of year.

Fairytale Friends

This is similar to what we tried to do last year. If you have an older sister and younger brother duo, try for a fairytale theme.  You could do any princess and prince, or try Red Riding Hood with the Wolf. Just remember kids don’t always love those hooded animal costumes. I am not crafty, but this could probably be a costume you put together if you are.

Sibling Halloween Costume IdeasMoms of Multiples

If you have twins or even triplets, Halloween can be so fun!  Try doing Thing 1 and Thing 2 or Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. This is by far my favorite, however–The Three Blind Mice. How adorable is this!  Find one costume and get 3 and add some sunglasses, which my kids would love. I would even be tempted to join in on the fun and dress up with my kids with these themed costumes.

Video Gamers Unite

If you have a husband or kids who like video games, try Mario and Luigi. Have another sibling? Add some characters! Add the Princess or anyone you like. Find some fake mustaches, turtlenecks, and easy outfits. These are adorable and even cuter the smaller your little ones are.

Sibling Halloween Costume IdeasLarger Families Can Still Have Fun

If you have several small children, go with a bigger theme. The Wizard of Oz characters seem to be popular. Dress up a Dorothy, Tin Man, Lion, and Scarecrow. These costumes could be made at home or bought online. You can always do another movie theme if this isn’t up your alley. Maybe have a family costume of Minions? Get creative!

You can always check out Pinterest if none of these ideas are what you or your kids want. I am leaning towards a cheerleader, football player, and football. Why not? I say dress your kids together as long as they will let you. You never know when they will want to be their own thing, and that can be a good thing, too.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 2, almost 3, in Arkansas where she now wants to go shop online for costumes for her littles.

Just Buy the Damn Cookies

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Did you look at your checklist today?

Just Buy the damn cookies

Of course you did. Even though it was completely unnecessary, because you were up until 2 a.m. mentally running through every little thing left to check off. The presents left to wrap, the gifts to put together, the cleaning in preparation for family to visit, the packing to go visit family, the school holiday recitals, picking up the turkey for the big holiday dinner, planning the holiday dinner, calling a sitter to go to this holiday party, buying a gift for that holiday party, and what was that other thing you needed to remember to do?

Oh yeah. Bake cookies for your preschooler’s winter party.

Let’s revisit for a moment what it was like as a child during this time of year. Thanksgiving would come and go, and the weeks (weeks!) until Christmas seemed to crawl by at a snail’s pace. Nothing important was happening at school because the teachers were all burned out and in desperate need of a well-deserved break. Afternoons were spent wasting away because it was too gross outside to do anything fun. But the anticipation! The excitement! About to burst at the seems with joy over what you imagine your mother’s face will look like when she opens the thoughtful-but-not-quite-useful paper-towel-mache thing you made for her at school on Christmas morning. Everything was lights and hot chocolate and carols and fun back then.

As the adult, though, there is so much pressure to squeeze in all of that goodness for our children. And in the era of Pinterest and Instagram, we are now acutely aware of how much better and greater everything could be than we would ever have imagined without an Internet connection. We love our kids so much that our hearts could burst, and we want the absolute best for them.

But the best for them is you, as you are—not on the brink of implosion. And while it sounds more social-media-praiseworthy to make those kale and cranberry cookies (so festive!) from scratch decorated with fondant and tools from your fancy cake cartridges, none of it will come to pass if you end up in the fetal position under the kitchen table from all the stress.

So tell the Internet to shut up. And just buy the damn cookies.

Keighty Brigman is terrible at crafting, throwing birthday parties, and making sure there isn’t food on her face. Allegedly, her four children manage to love her anyway. 

Planning the First Birthday Party

Monday, September 14th, 2015

I don’t know what makes the first birthday party the huge deal it’s become. Maybe Pinterest or Etsy are to blame. Maybe it’s just a ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ sort of thing, I don’t know.

I’m certain I don’t remember my first birthday (I’ve seen pictures of baby me up to my eyeballs in blue cookie monster frosting so I know it was celebrated), so why do so many of us make such a big deal out it?

To me, the first birthday (and associated party, if you throw one) is more of a celebration for the parents. Like, holy cow, we survived! We have a living, thriving one-year-old! WE DID IT!

The first year of both my children’s lives is somewhat of a blur. They didn’t sleep, one of them didn’t eat, my husband and I were learning cloth diapering and I was pumping at work; but for all of the hurdles thrown at us, we all survived as our newly created family unit. For me, that is something worth celebrating.

Just like baby showers, with first birthdays some people throw huge events, some prefer to have small family gatherings, and some folks fit somewhere in between. With my firstborn in particular, I found the peer pressure of throwing a big, pinteresting baby birthday to be too exciting to pass up. A friend from my online baby club was throwing a sock monkey-themed party and offered up the printables that her graphic designer-friend had drawn up for her, so sock monkeys it was.

If you’re throwing a party, finding a theme can be an easy way to organize any decorations, favors, or cakes you may be planning. Some people order packs of supplies from birthday stores online, others shop etsy or scour pinterest for DIY ideas. Older siblings may be interested in helping plan the party, too.

Finally, like with any gathering (big or small) it can be too easy to fall out of the moment. I’m usually hiding behind a camera, trying to capture everything for posterity (mostly so my kids will know, like me, that mom didn’t forget their birthday even when they were too young to remember it). I have lots of digital memories, but not as many real time memories as I would like to have. This is something I’ve been personally working on (and let me tell you, it’s a hard habit to break!). Enlisting a friend or family member to help with photography or other day-of chores can help keep you free to enjoy spending time with the birthday boy or girl.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two little boys, ages 3 and 6. She’s currently enjoying the expat life in Japan.

Summer Fun with a Mobile Baby

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

IMG_1653-2It’s summer. Parks. Splash Pads. Vacations. But what do you do with a baby who is mobile, ready to explore, and doesn’t like to sit still?  You can still have tons of fun with your baby in the summertime, even though they have reached the mobile stage. My son Levi is super mobile. At 10 months, he crawls, cruises, scoots, and pulls up on everything. Here are some great ways to enjoy the summer with your little one.

Take the Toys Outside:

Babies love to play, and mommies need the fresh air. It sounds simple, but even just taking your toys outside can be fun for you and baby. Take a picnic blanket and allow baby to explore whatever toys you choose. I have done this several times with a ring stacker, blocks, and soft toys for Levi. Most of the time, babies will stay on the blanket. You can allow baby to explore the grass some, too. Many moms invest in play yards that you can take outside to further contain your baby while allowing for some fun. If all else fails, break out the stroller and let baby sit in it and play or snack while you enjoy some vitamin D or play time with an older sibling.

Go for a Stroll:

My son Levi may be mobile, but he still loves for me to buckle him in and go for a wagon ride. He loves to see other children playing, hear the birds chirp, and look at the fish in the pond.  He is very curious, so he doesn’t tolerate a long walk right now, but we do go for short walks several times a week.

Splash Pads:

Even a mobile baby can enjoy a trip to the local pool or splash pad.  Levi will start to crawl away from me some at the splash pad but he still wants mommy right there. Remember if you take a mobile baby to a pool, be prepared. Try baby wearing or bring in a small stroller so you have something to help you carry baby and all of your things. I love my Tula and sit n stand stroller by Babytrend.  These things help me tote both of my small little ones around town on hot summer days.

Get Creative:

Bubbles and finger paints are popular toys at my house. My son loves to sit and catch bubbles. He could do this for hours. We also like to try and make those cute crafts you see on Pinterest, although this doesn’t always turn out. Do whatever is fun and creative for your family, everyone has their own interests.

Visit Your Animal Friends:

We recently went to the children’s zoo with Levi for the first time. He loved seeing the cows, goats, monkeys, and kitties. He also was a big fan of the train. Little ones can’t always handle long trips, but you can enjoy a few hours at a local zoo with a mobile baby. We often visit Pet Smart and other local pet stores to go see the animals. Consider taking your little one to your local humane society to visit the lonely animals, as well. Babies love animals, and it will do your heart good to see their expressions of delight.

There are lots of fun things you can do to have fun with a mobile baby. Get ready for walking momma, it’s coming. Life will keep getting more interesting, but if you keep your baby safe and are prepared, you can still have lots of summer fun.

Karyn Meyerhoff is the mom of one active toddler and one very mobile baby. She lives and writes in Northeast Indiana.