Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Love Is In The Hodgepodge

Happy Hump Day, Y'all! Not much going on around here except above average temperatures which means the one person in the area who loves winter (me) is not having a wonderful winter at all. We got that snow and ice in January and apparently, that's going to be it. This is ridiculous. Since I have no control over the weather, I try to find ways to entertain myself and the Hodgepodge is a great way to do just that! 

If you haven't tried it out, today is a good day to join the Hodgepodgers for a bit of sharing fun. 

From this Side of the Pond

1. When's the last time you had a heart to heart talk with someone? Monday. A change of heart? It's been a while. Experienced figurative 'heart failure?' Every single time Bug climbs up on the sofa or a chair and tempts fate with her antics. 

2. Champagne, chocolates, flowers...what's your Valentine pleasure? If I have to choose from those I guess it would be chocolates but I do not hold Valentine's Day special. Any special plans for the day? Nope. 

3. Are you a hopeless romantic or do you fall more in the category of practical and pragmatic? Believe it or not, I am a hopeless romantic even though I may sound cynical from time-to-time. But yes, I am and yes, it's annoying.  What's a gesture you find romantic? Poetry read to me by a special someone. Poetry goes right over my head most of the time but when it's read aloud, it's beautiful. And romantic.  

4. Do you ask a lot of questions in life or are you pretty content with what you already know? I ask a lot of questions and try not to be annoying or make assumptions. 

5. Your favorite power ballad? Yeah, had to Google what the heck a power ballad is and I am not a fan of any of the ones Google shared with me. However, when I turned to the movies, I came up with two---the first one is not because of the movie but because I loved her voice so much and am still saddened by her life, the second one because THAT MOVIE. 








6. Insert your own random thought here. Some of you know that Bug's daddy got a new job and his new employers offer a daycare option. I went to a local mom-to-mom FB group and they gave it rave reviews (and these mamas can be brutal) and Bug's mommy and daddy loved everything about it on the tour. We (parents, grandparents, aunties) all felt really good about it this time around so Bug started Monday. When her mommy dropped her off Bug took the hand of one of the teachers and headed off to play without looking back once (I think it's a combination between Bug being a bit older now and the fact they start their day outside on the playground)! I'm planning a post about this place in the future. I am so excited about it! It's like the place I wished existed in my head really does exist in real life. Of course, she's still new to it so I don't want to get ahead of myself but this place seems to be the perfect fit for our Bug. Grandparents day is Friday and both of us grandmothers are going together. Afterwards, we're taking Bug for some frozen yogurt. 


I'll leave Y'all with a few pictures taken by my wonderful SIL from the weekend:


This kid. How stinkin' cute is she? She's sporting Matilda Jane here because I love Matilda Jane so I grab it whenever it's on Zulily. And those red boots? Stop it!

That face. 

She always has something to say. Always. 

A girl and her dog. Between her pup and Tucker, Bug has never been without a dog. 'Dog' was her first word and I believe dogs are her first love which is fine because you can't go wrong with a dog. I think Bug would be fine living on a farm with a gazillion dogs. Yes, she comes by it honestly because her mommy would do the same thing.  

Have a wonderful rest of the week, Y'all!




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Friday, February 9, 2018

Board Games Grandparents Need to Have on Hand

There is a Facebook group in our area that I am having such fun following. It's one of those mom-to-mom groups and they offer some wonderful ideas of things to do with your kiddos. They also tell all when it comes to recommendations for doctors/dentists, stores, restaurants, and the like. Most of the time you'll get positive comments but when they aren't, these moms back it up with details. I like that. It makes it easier to know whether they're just angry about the place or the complaint is legit. Also, they let grandmothers join and that's just nice.

Just this week someone asked about favorite games for 3-5-year-old children and of course, my interest was peaked immediately. I was familiar with a few of them but Y'all, there are some new-to-me games out there that look fun!

So, what are the fun games grandparents should have at their house for preschoolers and kindergarteners?

New to me games:
  1. Zingo! This game offers a little more than Bingo! as it has cards with pictures and words instead of letters. 
  2. Sequence for kids. Easy enough just match the picture on your card with a space on your board and when you get four in a row, you win. 
  3. How Does Your Garden Grow? This one seems easy enough and involves matching. 
  4. Race to the Treasure. Players have to collaborate to get to the treasure before the tolls meaning everyone works together to find the best path to collect keys to unlock the treasure.
  5. Spot It! Lots of different versions of this one but the object is the same in all of them. Players try to find the one symbol in common by comparing two cards. Players don't take turns because it's everyone's turn all the time.  
  6. Blokus. A game of strategy that sounds like loads of fun but I would imagine this is for kids a little older unless you've got a 3 or 4-year-old genius on your hands. 
  7. Hoot Owl Hoot is good for learning cooperative play and strategizing as players work together to get the owls back to the nest before sunrise. 
  8. Charades for Kids. We've always played Charades but there's a kids' version. Who knew?
  9. Colorama reinforces colors and shapes. 
  10. Soggy Doggy means moving your game piece around the board and washing the dog who will splash you so maybe play in an area you don't mind getting wet. 
I only put a description on a few of these next games because if you've never heard of some of these you were probably living under a rock. Ha!

Oldies but goodies:
  1. Robot Turtles. Ok, so not an oldie but it is a goodie. I used this game with the 4-year-olds at school and they loved it!
  2. Hi-Ho Cherry O!
  3. Connect Four
  4. Snail's Pace Race involves rolling color dice to advance players' snails to the finish line. (I do love me some Ravensburger games. And puzzles.)
  5. Guess Who?
  6. Apples to Apples (Junior.) Not super old but a goodie that involves comparisons, thinking, and a whole lot of laughs. The Junior version has cards suitable for young kiddos. 
  7. Chutes and Ladders
  8. Scrabble Jr
  9. Candy Land 
  10. Memory
Of course, card games are always fun too but I was focusing on board games this time around. 

I read descriptions of the games and laughed when people wrote the game teaches cooperation instead of competition, and cheer on all the players' pieces because that is NOT the way my girls played any game. If there was a way to win, they were going to find it and do it. Of course, that could be related to the parent who was teaching them the game and/or playing with them. Ok, it was me. I'm competitive and so are my girls. If I wrote the descriptions I would include something like this: If you'd like to teach cooperation as opposed to competition please have a non-competitive person teach your child how to play the game.

The games I was unfamiliar looked seem like fun according to their descriptions and based on the reviews from the mom group. It was nice to see they included quite a few of the old standbys as well. I read about several games not mentioned on the moms' list that sounded like fun, too. Maybe Y'all will mention some of those in the comments.

Please share your favorite board games for preschoolers/kindergarteners in the comments! I'm making my list! 




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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Super Duper Hodgepodge

Ok, who watched the Super Bowl? This was the first year since childhood I didn't bother. I did not want to see New England win another one and I am not a fan of the Eagles but I don't absolutely detest them as I do the Falcons so I was just fine with the outcome. Last year I had to suck it up and pull for the Patriots because Atlanta was there but not this year. I watched a bit of the first half and felt the Eagles could pull it off and then I called it a night. It's not that easy to keep up with a toddler without a whole lot of sleep the night before. LOL Anyway, huge CONGRATS to all you Eagles fans out there!

Let's get the Hodgepodge started, shall we? Joyce asks us questions, we answer, and then visit each other. Today's a good day to join in the fun if you haven't already. 

From this Side of the Pond

1. February can be a little bit tricky given the weather and the winter and the whatnot. I read a list (here) of things you can do to make your February brighter which included-start planning your next trip, take more baths, make your own chocolate covered strawberries, and exercise in preparation for swimsuit season. Anything on the list you might try? Hahahaha! No. Which suggestion on the list appeals to you most? None of those, actually. I mean, I am exercising but not for swimsuit season, it's so I can keep up with a toddler. Tell us something not on the list that helps make your February brighter. So, those lists would benefit me better during the summer months when I can't stand going outside due to the heat. I love winter and winter days and winter trees are my favorite trees. If the day is gray, I'll be loving it. We do get plenty of sunny days down here in the low-country of SC so I don't need to do anything to have a brighter February. Plus, I'm chasing a toddler every day and taking her outside is like getting a break which makes me appreciate living in an area where I can do that during the winter. Of course, we take her outside no matter the weather. She loves it out there. 

2. Tell us about something you've seen or done recently that you'd say was 'super'? Hmmmm...keeping up with a toddler? 

3. Best thing you ate in a 'bowl' last week? ArtistDaughter made taco soup and sent a bowl over for me to try and it was delicious! Now I know this isn't a big deal to most but this girl who is brilliant and talented and loving being a mommy to Baby R only recently asked me, "How do you cook frozen broccoli?" and was stunned when I told her the directions are right there on the bag so it's kind of a big deal she tackled crock pot soup.  

4. Something you're 'cheering' for right now? I'm cheering for more winter! More snow! And for spring to stay away mostly because summer comes before spring even has a chance to end and with summer comes that oppressive heat.  

5. The Winter Olympics begin Friday, February 9th in Pyeong Chang, South Korea. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being all in and 1 being no interest whatsoever), how interested are you in the games? Maybe a 2. Which event do you most want to see (you'll find a list here). None, really. I'm not a fan of the Olympics though I appreciate the superb abilities of the athletes. If it's not football (college and NFL) or college basketball I'm probably not tuning in. There was a kid on ELLEN this week who competes in ski jumping (with flips and such while in the air is that called freestyle skiing?) and he was so cute and sweet. I would tune in to watch him but I don't want to see anyone land wrong and die so...

6. Insert your own random thought here. Is anyone trying elderberry syrup to ward off the flu or a cold? All of us are. There are too many people out there with a super bad case of the flu and we do not want it. There's a sweet mom nearby who makes organic elderberry syrup among other organic remedies so we buy from her. She even makes the elderberry syrup without honey for those kiddos under the ripe old age of 12 months. 
What are y'all doing to ward off that nasty flu? 

Speaking of football because I know I mentioned it up there somewhere, have y'all seen this yet? I love these things!



Stay healthy and enjoy the rest of your week! 




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and feel free to FAVORITE the shop! 😁💓

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Alone on Valentine's Day?

An empty nest can leave many of us with feelings just as empty as our nests. I've heard from moms and dads who feel useless, unloved, confused, unmotivated, depressed, and empty in their every day lives so you can imagine how these feelings tend to intensify when a holiday approaches. Many of us turn to friends or relatives who are dealing with an empty nest especially during the initial adjustment period because let's face it there is an initial adjustment period whether you're enjoying your empty nest or not. Change brings adjustment which can be easier for some than for others. I've heard from quite a few moms who say having a loving, supportive significant other has helped them tremendously but what about those of us who find ourselves for one reason or another lacking in the loving, supportive SO area? And Y'all, the numbers are higher than I thought. All this brings me to the upcoming love event known as Valentine's Day.

Let's say you're a 50-something empty nester who is suddenly facing separation or divorce or who simply finds their relationship completely lacking and feel Valentine's Day is going to intensify any feelings you have of loneliness, fear, confusion, etc. How would you deal with facing this particular holiday? If you're like me it won't be that big a deal because holidays such as Valentine's Day are those I celebrated for the kids not because I put any stock in the 'special' day. I am truly one of those people who resent being shown love on one day of the year. If you're not showing it daily, how in the world can it count on one day?

I realize I am probably in the minority here so I started thinking of ways our middle-aged, empty nest, single or just feeling alone friends who enjoy Valentine's Day could continue to enjoy Valentine's Day.

12 Ways to Enjoy Valentine's Day All by Yourself:

  1. Binge watch your favorite Netflix or Hulu series. If you enjoy series binging then this is perfect for you as it will be fun and keep your mind on other things. Sometimes all we really need is a good distraction and before we know the moment or day has passed. Oh and, feel free to include indulging in your favorite snacks/desserts. 
  2. Get busy. Tackle a project you've been putting off. Immerse yourself in that neglected project instead of dwelling on any negative, nonproductive thoughts. Clean that closet. Get a pile ready for donation. Organize those kitchen cabinets. Tackle the cabinet under the bathroom sink. Blare your favorite playlist and sing while you work instead of listening to that nasty little voice in your head who tries to keep you down.  
  3. Gather with girls or guys ok, friends. Surely we all know others out there who are in our same feelings boat. If you realize all your friends are romantic movie involved with their SOs, do something with them during the day when they do not have relationship plans. 
  4. Enjoy nature. Take yourself out, find a nature trail, take your pet if you have one, and just enjoy and appreciate nature. 
  5. Love on your pet. Spend the day with your pet who loves you every single day, unconditionally. Don't have a pet but wish you did? What better day to get out to your local shelter or pet helper and adopt one?!
  6. Read. Cozy up with that book you've been wanting to read. What better day to read that book than one where no one is going to interrupt you? Dive in! Have a chocolate or two and a glass of wine while you read. OR go to the library and spend a few hours there browsing and reading. I've met some of the most interesting people in the library. 
  7. Treat yourself to--anything. Think of something you've been wanting to do and do it. Want a meal out? Go for it. Want to cook yourself something special? Do it. Need a spa day? Today's the day. Dying to see that new movie? Go forth, friend. If you're like me and do not enjoy being out in public or don't enjoy doing things by yourself, order in, cook for yourself, invite a friend, watch a movie on Netflix...Y'all get the idea. 
  8. Get out and volunteer. Go read at a nursing home or just visit with someone who has no one. Is it a school day? Are you involved with a school now or in the past? Go read to a kindergarten class or volunteer to help in the office or take a class out to recess. Go to the hospital and volunteer to hold at risk babies. Serve at your local soup kitchen. Visit the local orphanage. Nothing helps us put things in perspective than helping others. 
  9. Write it out. If you don't have a journal of some sort, this might be just the day to start one. Go buy yourself something you'd like to write in and some of your favorite pens and write it all out. Get out that frustration and that fear and the confusion. No one has to read it but you so let it flow. 
  10. Attend a local function. Is there a college campus nearby offering a concert or lecture? I know a lot of you think this is crazy but lectures are intellectually stimulating and you might actually meet some interesting folks while there. 
  11. The grandkids. Spend the day with them! It was all about the kids in this house when a holiday rolled around so having grandkids means that tradition will keep going.
  12. Shopping! I have to admit this is something that brightens my day any day. Of course, I prefer online shopping but this might be just the day to get out there and peruse thrift stores or antique shops. You don't have to spend money. Sometimes just getting out and looking around is helpful not to mention thrift shops are great for inspiring your inner crafter. 
There are so many ways to enjoy Valentine's Day all by yourself while keeping your mind away from negative thoughts. If you start something and find those thoughts creeping in and you can't control them, try a different activity. The main thing is to keep it positive and moving forward. 

What would Y'all add to the list? 




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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Accessorizing with the Hodgepodge

Wow, January flew by, didn't it? I am NOT looking forward to spring and try not to think about it. Why? Because I know what comes next and it will start while spring is still with us- that nasty summer heat. UGH. I know, I know just live in the moment. I'm trying. And knowing it's Wednesday and the Hodgepodge makes that a much easier task! 

From this Side of the Pond
1. Speaking of endings....at your wit's end, at loose ends, a dead end, burn the candle at both ends, all's well that end's well, or no end in sight...which 'end' phrase might best be applied to your life lately? I'm going to go with 'burn the candle at both ends.'  Explain. Since Bug is coming here instead of daycare and I have the Etsy shop, I find myself busybusybusy nearly every minute of the day. And it's so much better than being sedentary. Plus, I get to see this face every day:

 

2. What was a must-have accessory when you were growing up? Honestly, I have no idea. Is denim considered an accessory? Did you own one? Who knows? Unless I can claim the denim. If so tell us what you remember about it. Here's the thing, I've never been a fashion follower. I've always enjoyed having things I like whether they're 'trendy' or not. And I've nearly always just said no to jewelry. However, if you want to consider the aforementioned denim an accessory then, YES. I wore my blue jeans every. single. up until I refused to buy a pair of jeans in 'that size.' 

3. Something that made you smile yesterday? This face:


Can Y'all believe she's old enough to drink her water from a camelback water bottle? WHEN did that happen? She was so little just yesterday and now she doesn't even need her little sippy cup anymore nor does she use her highchair because she prefers a grown-up chair AND she's saying words she shouldn't be able to say like Tucker and computer because she's only 18 months old and should just be saying things like, hot, up, dog.
Big. Sigh. 
4. January 30th is National Croissant Day. Do you like croissants? Well, I don't dislike them. Sweet or savory? That's going to depend on my mood of the moment. We're having chicken salad for lunch...would you rather have yours served on a croissant, a wrap, a bagel, bread, or a roll of some sort? I'd probably take the bagel because I'm in a bagel mood these days. As a matter of fact, I think I'll have one right now minus the chicken salad because it's a bagel mood not a chicken salad mood and because I am not in the mood to turn the chicken in the fridge into chicken salad because I do not have the celery or the onion or the mayo. Wait! I'm out of Duke's?!?! How did THAT happen?   

5. Sum up your January in fifteen words or less. Delightful snow, daily granddaughter visits, weekly grandson visits kept post-holiday downers away. 

6.  Insert your own random thought here. I mentioned above I've been busybusybusy creating for CoasterDoodles. All I have to say is:


Those darn hot glue guns HURT.

Have a great rest of the week, Y'all!


Please visit CoasterDoodles

and feel free to FAVORITE the shop! 😁💓

Y'all can find us on Facebook and 
Instagram (@coasterdoodlessc)


 
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