Should Boys Play Dress Up?

 

dress up

 

Should boys play dress up?  We talk about little girls playing dress up in princess clothes, having tea parties or walking in mommy’s high heels, but we rarely talk about little boys dressing up.   Yes, we rave about little girls putting on our make-up,  adorable beads, and serving up tea to teddy bear friends. But what about our little boys?

We accept little boys playing Cowboy and Indians, wearing a sports uniform or being a Super Hero.  But what if they want to dress up as a princess or put on your make-up?  Would that be acceptable or frightening to you?  What if they want to use one of your purses to house their army men or race cars?  Are you equipped to handle that situation?

What I found interesting is that we accept little girls being tomboys, but not little boys wanting to be a princess.  My grandson wanted to wear my heels one day.  He was about 3 maybe 4 at the time.  I allowed him to try them on. He had a grand time, looking in the mirror at himself.  Was I afraid that he would want to be a cross-dresser down the road?  Not at all.

He sees his mother and me wearing them, so he wanted to try them on too.  I think it’s important for him to experiment.  He has never asked to try on my shoes again, but if he had I wouldn’t love him any less.  Is it unusual for boys to want to try on mom’s shoes, beads etc.?  Experts say no, it’s not unusual.

There are many roles for children to play when they dress up and experts/teachers encourage it.  Here are a few benefits that children can obtain by playing dress up:

  • Encourages them to use their imagination
  • Encourages role playing
  • Helps overcome fear
  • Instills pride by performing good deeds while role playing
  • Helps them understand the world around them
  • Gives them an opportunity to interpret and translate what they see in their home

Purchase items that your son can use when playing dress-up.  If you don’t have costumes for him to utilize, here are a few ideas for boys:

  • doctor
  • pilot
  • construction worker
  • sports figure
  • teacher
  • chef

Head to the thrift store, clearance rack or clean out hubby’s or granddaddy’s closet and stock up on items that your son can use.  You can give him:

  • towel for a cape  (If you can sew, make a cape for him)
  • a hat 
  • sunglasses
  • brief case
  • pair of daddy’s shoes
  • football uniform
  • dad’s shirt
  • chef’s apron and hat
  • doctor’s bag
  • scrubs
  • construction hat

Use your imagination and allow your child to use theirs.  Encourage dress up and engage in role play with him. You will be helping them to develop social skills, psychological growth, and helping to understand the world around him.  When your child is playing, listen.  They may give you insight on how they see people and the world around them.  
.  














Breakfast Recipe: Sausage, Biscuit and Gravy Bake

breakfast casseroles



This dish is so delicious we eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It’s hearty and great for week-ends when you just want to relax, have guests, or you just want to enjoy each other and reheat for lunch.  If you have kids, they love it too.  It’s a great recipe to use for a brunch or office breakfast. The best thing about the dish is it’s easy to make.  Here’s what you need:


Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground pork or turkey sausage  ( I used hot Italian for this one)
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 refrigerated jumbo biscuits
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat 8 minutes or until crumbly and no longer pink; remove from skillet, and drain. Melt butter in skillet; whisk in flour. Whisk constantly 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly; cook 2 minutes. Stir in sausage. Grease an 11- x 7-inch baking dish with cooking spray; place dish on a baking sheet. Split biscuits in half lengthwise; place 8 halves in baking dish. Top with half of sausage mixture and 1/4 cup chopped green onions. Repeat layers. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese. Bake 40 minutes or until golden.


Serve with scrambled eggs and fresh fruit.  Yummy!

10 Reasons To Love Spring

reasons to love spring

                                                                 Mallards in my wet weather streambed

Spring has finally arrived!  I am so ready for warmer weather.  First, snow hit us hard this winter in my part of the world.  Snow is great for removing impurities from the air.  Furthermore, it is beautiful when it is falling and fresh.  Snow loses its luster for me when it needs to be shoveled or plowed.  It turns into work.

Second, I love having something to look forward to.  So, spring brings me back to life after a cold dreary winter.  Have you noticed that things come alive in the spring?  The earth gives birth. At least, that’s how I feel about spring.  Also, I feel alive and excited.  Why, because the birds will be singing, trees will be blooming, flowers emerging, lawns turning green and the list goes on.  As a result, this is why Spring is a favorite time of year for me.

The one drawback is my allergies, but lets not dwell on this con.  Here’s a few other reasons to love spring:

 

  1. I never know what I will find in my backyard – Like the mallards swimming in my wet weather stream bed and the Robin’s egg below.
  2. Winter clothes are traded for lighter clothing and brighter colors –  Sweaters, boots, winter coats and hats are traded for lighter clothes.
  3. Days become longer – Longer days mean more time outside.
  4. Vacations and getaways are considered  – Vacation spots are considered.
  5. Backyard BQs are planned  – The grill is prepared for Memorial Day.
  6. I plant my summer vegetable garden –  My house will be filled with garden pots and grow lights.
  7. Yard sales, flea markets and farmer’s markets await me.
  8. Shop for bargain plants – I love incorporating flowers and flowering shrubs into my landscape.
  9. Clean out closets and refresh my house – Brighter colors and lighter bedding is used.
  10. Remove debris from the yard and clean the deck for summer enjoyment  – Summer furniture is cleaned and placed on the deck and in the yard.

 reasons to love spring

                                                                   A Robin’s egg that has fallen from the nest

Finally, I hope that you enjoyed my list of reasons to love spring.   Leave a comment and let me know what you look forward to when spring arrives.

10 Benefits of Vegetable Gardens

 

benefits of vegetable gardens

 

I love gardening.  It’s a rewarding experience and there’s nothing better than fresh vegetables in the summer and throughout the winter months.  My grandfather had huge gardens when I was growing up. He planted enough vegetables for his kids and their kids. There was a catch, the grandchildren had to help weed the field, I mean garden.  It looked like a field and felt like one when we had to walk it and pull the weeds.  You can also find other vegetable garden and backyard vegetable gardening tips on the blog too.

I remember the garden holding tons of tomato plants, green beans, peas, onions, corn, greens and the list goes on. The garden became a part of my soul. For as long as I can remember, I thought about my own vegetable garden.  I decided to finally put one in several years ago, and I look forward to digging in the dirt each spring.

It’s time for me to decide what I want to grow this season.  I planted garlic in the fall, and I saw green sprouts yesterday.  I was unsuccessful last year, so I’m really excited.  My freezer is full of squash, peppers and, zucchini now, so I was thinking that I wouldn’t plant any. It dawned on me that others aren’t as fortunate, they would love to have fresh veggies this summer and maybe freeze a few for the winter months.  For the veggies that I don’t use or give to family, I can take to a food bank.

vegetable gardens
I have found so many benefits from planting my own vegetables.  Here’s a few:

  1. I save money on my food bill. 
  2. I have delicious vegetable for summer gatherings and snacking. 
  3. I’m able to make my own tomato sauce for pizza and pasta.
  4. I’m able to can and freeze vegetables for use during the winter.
  5. I share my bounty with neighbors, family and friends.
  6. Gardening is a great way to exercise and get fresh air.
  7. Gardening is a great way to relieve stress.
  8. Learning to grow a variety of vegetables is educational.  
  9. Provides an opportunity to bond with my grandchildren.
  10. Growing produce from seed is challenging and rewarding.     
Finally, Urban Gardening has become popular. So, growing fresh vegetables in small places is possible.  A little creativity, and you can have fresh garden vegetables at your door. Fresh vegetables are being grown on decks, patios and balconies. How you ask?  In containers.  Furthermore, the containers can be paint buckets from Lowe’s or Home Depot, planters, or old whiskey barrels. Use your imagination.  Grow lettuce, peppers, tomatoes or herbs.  Herbs can be grown in small flower pots and don’t take up much space.  You can place these in your kitchen window, and they really enhance dishes.  Start small, but start growing your own greens.

 

Lets Play In The Snow

kids snow activities

Snow in Virginia Beach is a rarity, but occasionally they do get a few inches.  A few inches basically shuts the city down, and the kids get to enjoy a snow day.  This is Zarriah’s first snow, and she is enjoying herself.  She helped her daddy clean off the car, made snow angels and just basically enjoyed that cold, white stuff. 


She has grown so much since she entered this world at 2lbs. 10ozs.  She is thriving and living life.  Miss Personality is quite different from her brother, she’s sassy, has a mind of her own and doesn’t take any mess from anybody.  Time out has been implemented on many occasions.   I’ve always worried about her growth and development since she was a preemie, but I worry no more.  She has developed at an acceptable rate, eats everything and mostly importantly she’s a happy baby.

Xavier and Zarriah stopped for a photo op.  It’s rare that we can get a picture of Zarriah smiling. She hates getting her picture taken and doesn’t have a problem letting it be known.  She has become more receptive of the idea, and we’ve manage to get a few good shots in.  I love this picture of her and her brother in their parkas.  I think this will be one of my favorite pictures of them.  

Although they will have to make up their snow days, the kids had a great time.  Zarriah is helping her dad clean off the car here.  I think more snow ended up on her than on the ground, but they had a great time.  

I live about 5 hours west of my grandchildren, and we got bombarded with snow almost weekly in my area.  I’m thankful that we only received inches rather than feet, but I am so ready for spring. Hopefully, this is the last snow of the season.  How do you spend your snow days?

How To Attract Blue Jays To Your Backyard


Blue Jays


First, Blue Jays are large and beautiful birds.  Unfortunately, I didn’t see them at the feeder this winter.  So, I’m glad I was able to capture the photos below this fall.   Apparently, some Blue Jays migrate and some do not.  I’m assuming mine decided to move on this winter.  Check out my other attracting backyard birds posts.

 

 

 

Next, Blue Jays start their courtship in February. The breeding season is from March to July.  Spring is around the corner, so I wanted to give you a few tips on how you may be able to get them to a feeder in your backyard for a photo op.

A few facts about Blue Jays, they are large birds and stay with their partner for life.  So they understand the meaning of until death do us part.  They are loud and love to make their presence know with their “jaaaay” call early morning.  Wooded areas are preferred.  I have trees along my back property and the adjoining property has a roll of evergreens, so I have the perfect environment.  The average life span for a Blue Jay is 7 years.

blue jay

It’s difficult to tell the male from the female, they look identical.  These two show up together, or one shortly after the other.  Blue Jays don’t eat at the feeder.  They pick up their treat and eat elsewhere, but return often for more.  Their color is striking.  Blue is my favorite color, so I may be biased.

 I was so excited to see this Blue Jay since they had been missing all winter.  I don’t know if this is the male or female, but the other is around somewhere.  I’m hoping to see little Blue Jays this summer since breeding season has started.

Here are a few tips to lure these beauties to a feeder in your backyard:

  • Purchase a platform feeder as shown.  I ordered mine from Amazon and love it.
  • Use raw peanuts.  They also love shelled, but make sure they’re unsalted.  You can buy them in bulk at Costco or SAMs.
  • Add acorns, sunflower seeds and fruit to the feeder.  (I use old grapes).
  • Spread cracked corn and sunflower seeds on the ground under the feeder.
  • Plant an oak tree and you will have them for life.  (They love acorns).

Last, bird watching is a great activity to do with children.  Turn bird watching into an educational lesson. Additionally, bird watching gives them an opportunity to become involved with nature and learn the habits of various backyard birds.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Multitasking Mom’s Book Give Away

Chicken Soup Books
This book give away is perfect for the multitasking mom.  If you’re a mother, you learn to do multiple things, handle the kids, the household, the husband, your career and the list goes on . Chicken Soup for the Soul:  The Multitasking Mom’s Guide is scheduled to be released March 18. As a Soup-er Blogger for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Blog Network, I wanted to give my readers an opportunity to win a copy of this book.  We all need a little inspiration at times, especially when you’re raising children, running a home, managing your career and figuring out what’s for dinner.  What better way to look for inspiration than in one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.   

The Multitasking Mom’s Guide has 101 stories by busy moms.  The book is filled with words of wisdom, lessons learned, funny moments and juggling success.  When you feel that you can’t go on or don’t know how you can do another thing, reach for this book and get a little inspiration.  I challenge you to read a story each day, meditate on the story and learn the lesson.  As a mother, grandmother, leader, manager, and mentor, I will be using this book to inspire me on my journey.  

Mother 2 Mother is giving away 3 copies of the Multitasking Mom’s Book Guide to 3 of our lucky readers.  We want you to be inspired too.   Here’s how you can win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This contest will end April 27, 2014 at mid-night.  The contest is open to US and Canada residents 18 or older. The winner will be notified by email and selected by Rafflecopter.   Invalid email addresses will be disqualified and another winner drawn.  The book will be sent directly to the winner from the sponsor, you will be contacted by email. 
Note:  I am a member of the Soup-er Blogger Network; however, my opinion of the Chicken Soup products are my own.   

10 Steps To Deal With Grief From A Breakup

grief from a breakup

 

Trying to mend a broken heart from a breakup or divorce?  I’ve been there and it can be a rough road.  Grief from a breakup can cause you to want to die or at least feel that you are.  You may try to rekindle the relationship by plotting a scheme on how on you can get him or her back.  Calling, texting, or checking their  Facebook page enters your mind.  You may even drive by their house or have conversations with their friends to get advice on how to work things out.

STOP!   Take a deep breath, regroup and focus on you.  I know it’s hard, but you have to do it so that you can start the healing process.  It’s the only way you can move on with your life.  If you were unable to resolve your differences and you’re in the grieving process, you need to get real.  You had some serious problems that sent you or your partner in the opposite direction.

If you couldn’t resolve them when you where together, it’s doubtful that they will ever be resolved.   Sometimes we just outgrow each other.  I knew, I’ve already walked in your shoes.  Here’s a quote that I want you to absorb:  “God will sometimes end a relationship for your protection.  Don’t chase after the person he’s trying to save you from.” – Trent Shelton.

Sometimes you see it coming and sometimes you don’t.  However, the longer you try to hold on the longer you will endure pain.  Ending a relationship with someone that you vowed to spend the rest of your life with or you have fell deeply in love with is like a death.  I have experienced both and you grieve over both losses.  Just as important, you may become angry or you don’t want to get out of bed.  You may cry until the well runs dry and the list goes on.  I went through this when my ex-husband and I divorced, and when I lost my father to cancer.  Grief from a breakup whether in love or death is painful.

I survived and you can too.  Here’s how:

  1. Know that you life is not over, your lovable and you’re moving on to the next chapter in your life.
  2. You’re not a failure, you were smart enough to know when it was time to get out.
  3. Your children will be fine.  There are millions of children in the world who come from divorced homes and they don’t turn out to be rapists or bank robbers.
  4. Pamper yourself during this time period.  You must treat yourself well and know that you deserve it.  Don’t run your credit cards up, just treat yourself occasionally.
  5. Don’t jump into another relationship.  Rebounds are not wise and they rarely work.
  6. Set small goals for yourself.  This would be a good time to join a gym and work off some stress.  If you can’t afford a gym, find a safe place to walk.  It’s a good way to think and clear your head.
  7. Limit yourself on the number of conversations that you have about him/her.  It will only prolong your healing.
  8. Enhance your job skills, your household income will be less.  Don’t depend on anything other than child support.  Unless you are married to a million, women are rarely awarded alimony. Get a job and in the meantime, enhance your skills so you can get a better one.  There are programs available to assist you.  Reach out.
  9. Find a church, you need to renew your faith to get you through the rough times.
  10. Get focused! You will be heading up your household and leading the way for your children.   

Additionally, remember to start your grieving process slowly.  And make sure you work through all stages.  Otherwise, you will only be placing band-aids on open wounds.  You will experience many emotions.  So, there will be sadness, anger, bitterness, loneliness and why me sessions.  Know that emotions are temporary and it’s okay to experience them.

Furthermore, your ex will move on and begin dating again.  Prepare yourself, and whatever you do, don’t approach the other woman.  She can’t be with him if he doesn’t want to be with her.  You don’t want your children to find out that you handled things in this manner.

Last, give yourself plenty of time to heal.  Check out my post on Divorce Cakes for a laugh.  Laughing is good for the soul.  It’s a wonderful feeling when you’re ready to move on.  You will come out of it stronger, wiser and a better person for your struggle.  It’s unwise to try to hold on to something that no longer exists.  Most importantly, let it go so you can free yourself  for someone who is deserving of you and your love.  
                                                                            













10 Benefits of Preschool

benefits of preschool



Did you place your child in preschool or do you plan to?  Have you thought about the benefits?  I believe in early childhood education, and as a result Xavier went to preschool for 3 years before he started kindergarten.  It was money well spent, he learned skills that I believe are important for creating a strong foundation for entering kindergarten and beyond.



What he learned:  


  1. Social skills
  2. Field trips with classmates on a school bus
  3. Group participation
  4. Learning to do homework
  5. Making friends outside of family
  6. Playing well with others
  7. Daily naps without a fight or protest 
  8. Eating meals in a cafeteria style setting  
  9. Enhanced athletic skills
  10. Following directions from teachers

He’s 2 in the picture above; he’s 5 in the picture below.  How time flies.  Last year we sent him to the local recreational center for the summer so we could focus on his athletic skills.  He enjoyed his summer.  He took swimming lessons, learned basic football and basketball skills, and made new friends.

preschool activities

Research has shown that early childhood development is essential for our children.  It builds a strong foundation for success in later years and I believe it.  We have seen a payoff for both preschool and time spent at the recreational center for Xavier.  He’s reading, doing times table, writing sentences and excelling in sports.  He received an award for outstanding performance in football, and his team has made it to the championship in basketball this year.  Go Tarheels!  


early childhood development



Xavier benefited so much from preschool, we put Zarriah in as well.  She’s 2 here and loves school so much she looks forward to going every day.  Sometimes she goes on the week-end, lol.  She said her friends are there and she loves her teacher, Miss Sheila.  Look at this face, it’s 8:00 am in the morning.  She’s heading out to enjoy the day at school.  She knows her ABC’s, she can count to 10 and is learning to play well with others.  She understands Time Out and loves to read.  She has learned basic manners, excuse me, thank you and please.  When she’s ready for a nap, she says “Gaga I’m ready for bed.”  Amazing.  


We love the fact that she too will have already grasped going to school and doing homework.  She will understand the group setting concept when she enters kindergarten and her social skills will be developed.  I believe in investing in children, and there are just some things you can’t teach your at home.  Your thoughts on Preschool?

Attract Backyard Birds With Birdseed Pine Cones

 

birdseed pine cones

First, I started bird watching and feeding my backyard birds several years ago.  It is a hobby that I have come to love, and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  I started making birdseed pine cones, and the birds are loving them.  They literally pick the pine cones clean.  The birdseed pine cones are easy and fun to make with kids.  There’s really no recipe, but I thought I would share how to make the pinecones.  Check out my other posts on attracting backyard birds.

 

feeding backyard birds

Next, pick a day to gather pine cones with the kids.  You can gather them from your neighbor’s yard, a park or yours. If neither of you have pine trees, locate an area where you can gather a few without trespassing.  Furthermore, they are essential to your project.  I use a medium or large pinecone.  The larger the pine cone the more birdseed it will hold.

You will also need the following items:

  • peanut butter (Purchase store brand)
  • twine or yarn (You can purchase twine from the Dollar General)
  • birdseed  (You can purchase seed from the Dollar General)
  • a paper plate
  • plastic knife
  • plastic spoon

 

feeding backyard birds

You will want to watch the birds feast.  As a result, hang the pine corns in place where you can see and high enough where cats or other predators can’t reach them. Therefore, tie a piece of the twine or yarn around the top of the pine cone leaving the ends long enough to hang it from a branch as shown.  Spread the peanut butter over the pine cone (be generous) with the knife.  Also, place the pine cone on the paper plate and sprinkle the birdseed over the pine cone with the spoon.  Cover the birdseed pine cone thoroughly.  You can use the spoon to press the seeds into the nooks and crannies.  Be sure to do this around the entire pine cone.

This is a fun project for kids to create on rainy or snowy days.  Furthermore, they will love the craft more when they see the birds enjoying the treats.  Additionally, if you need visuals on how to prepare the pine cones you can get the instructions here.  Once the pine cones are prepared, have fun watching our feathered friends gobble up the birdseed pine cones.  I guarantee you they will devour every seed.  Place them in a location where you and the kids can watch them enjoy the feast.  Consequently, you will be providing protein that birds need to keep them warm.

Last, freeze the pine cones before placing them outside.  Furthermore, place several in a gallon baggie and place in the freezer until you’re ready to use.  You will always have a few on hand when time is limited.