Monthly Archives: July 2007

A Turtle’s Gotta Eat

Today we went to the WMAES Preschool Program, “Life In a Dead Log”.  First the kids fed the chickens with weeds from the garden, then found and picked up all kinds of bugs, slugs, and worms from under dead logs in the woods.  At the end of the program, Miss Holly took us back to her classroom where each kid had the opportunity (which Maybelle did NOT take – she screamed at the suggestion of picking up a worm) to feed the goodies to Zeke, the turtle. 

It was a great morning, made even more fun because our friends, Look, Mom, Look! and her kids, Gret, Zack, and Anson were there too. 

From there we went to Marinades Pizza Bistro.  It is one of those wood fired pizza places. Mmmmm… wood fired pizza.  We got an order of cheezy sticks with dill sauce (coupon for a free one is on their website), which took me back to the good old days of Hobbit Stix when I lived near a Bilbo’s Pizza.  We also each got a pizza. They had some really good sounding specialties, but I wasn’t sure if pine nuts and goat cheese would go over too well with Maybelle and A.P. so we stuck with pepperoni. It was really good, and I’m sure we will return if the owners will have us. 

With five kids under the age of four who all know each other very well, it can get pretty loud and chaotic. We were thankful that for most of the time, we were the only ones in there.

As I write this, it is occurring to me that I never stopped to wash the kids’ hands before lunch.  Gross. Oh well, I’m sure worm dirt is not the worst thing they have ever eaten. I’m sure Look, Mom, Look! stopped on the way there to sanitize her kids’ hands with some organic tea tree oil solution she made, but hey. Tasty Tuesday is all about trying new things, right?

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Same Old Routine

Last week, A.P. was at Vacation Bible School.  We had to be there at 9:00 AM.  In just a few short months, I have completely forgotten how to get myself and two kids ready to get out the door before about 10:00 AM.  By Friday, I finally had it together but by then VBS was over.

School starts again in a month. I want to be ready to roll in the mornings, so my Make it Monday project is a Visual Schedule for the kids.  We are pretty good about setting everything out the night before; it’s the moving-it-along in the morning that we have a problem with.

I found some rather wordy instructions here, but I will just list the highlights.

The idea is that a routine helps kids know what to expect and transition more easily along to whatever task needs to be completed next.

Since neither of my kids can really read yet, we will use pictures.

These are the materials we will use:

  • pictures of the tasks to be completed
  • glue
  • velcro
  • contact paper
  • poster board
  • white paper

This is how we are going to assemble it:

  1. First, take pictures of the tasks to be completed. Some of the tips for pictures are to make sure it is ONLY of what the task involves. For example, if “going to the potty” (or “toileting”, Good Idea Mama) is the task, make sure the picture only has a toilet in it; not the bathtub or they might think it is bath time.Each picture should be the same size.
  2. Glue the picture to the white paper to make a consistent background for each picture. Write a brief (one or two words) description of the activity.
  3. Cover the picture with contact paper.
  4. Put a piece of velcro on the back of the picture.
  5. Arrange the other side of the velcro pieces on the poster board so they are evenly spaced.  You can arrange it horizontally (top to bottom) or vertically (left to right). 

We are going to use velcro in case we need to change the order of the routine, or add or take away steps. You also have the option to remove each task as it is completed, if you choose.

One month and counting; let’s hope this works well! If anyone has done a project like this please leave a comment with your experience.

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An Enchanting Idea

mpj042858000001.jpgSometimes when we take care of our kids, we forget to take care of ourselves. We would NEVER neglect to schedule the recommended pediatric appointments, but we put our own health care needs aside more often than we should.

Part of the barrier we have to getting and keeping ourselves healthy is childcare.  For stay at home parents we often need part time, occasional child care but it is difficult or overly expensive to obtain.

If you need occasional child care in a high quality environment, I have a suggestion for you.

The Enchanted Forest is in the Spectrum Health South Pavilion at 80 68th St SE.  It is on the corner of South Division and 68th street. It is close enough to M-6 to be convenient from a lot of locations.  It is open Monday through Friday from 8:30am – 5:00pm.The phone number is 616 391-8207.

I went by there last week to look into another program for Maybelle that starts this fall, and as I was leaving it occurred to me that this is a place worth sharing.

You can make reservations or drop off children on a first come, first served basis. This is a licensed child care facility, so you do need to have the appropriate paperwork filled out ahead of time.  The cost is $4.50 per hour per child and they can stay for up to 4 hours (depending on the availability that day).

The staff clearly loves children, and Maybelle threw a fit when we had to leave.  The playroom is a great space, and there is also an outdoor playground. It is good to know we have something like this in town. Now you have it; go ahead and schedule that appointment for yourself. The kids will be fine!

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Meet Me At The Movies

The Movie (1996)

I am glad my kids are finally (kind of) at the age that they can sit through a movie. I say kind of because it depends on these things, listed in order of importance; the movie, the last nap taken, the quality of snacks, and the quantity of snacks.

I prefer going to the movies as a family because then my husband can make trips to the potty and popcorn refill runs without me having to drag everything and everyone out of the theater and into the lobby just long enough for my eyes to adjust to the light, thus making it impossible to find the same seat I was sitting in 3 minutes before when I return to the theater.

Fortunately, Celebration Cinemas offers a great discount on evening movies. Studio 28  has one Sunday and Tuesday night, and Celebration Cinema South has discounted movies on Sunday night.

My friend Adventure Mom just reviewed Ratatouille, and gave it a thumbs up. This is good news, because this Sunday night you can see Ratatouille for $2.94 at 6:05PM, 7:50PM, or 8:50PM at Studio 28.  Also, you can see it on Tuesday night at the same times for $3.00. 

Celebration Cinema South has Ratatouille this Sunday for $2.97 at 6:40PM and 9:30PM. The small difference in price has to do with which radio station is co-sponsoring it.

That makes it official; the discount movie is officially today’s Grand Rapids Great Deal. The concessions, on the other hand, are another story…

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This One’s For You, Dan

j0411682.jpgI want to say “HI” to everyone from the Great Start Parent Coalition who is be reading this today. We met last night and talked about some of the early childhood issues in Kent County.  Please join us next time, more info is on the Great Start website.

One of the people  I met at the Coalition last night was Dan.  We found out that we have a common friend, Adam Imperato, who started the Grand Rapids Dad’s Group. I know Adam from waaaay back, when he was still hanging around with a bunch of chicks because he couldn’t find any other stay at home dads.

Dan and I got on the subject of the Child and Family Resource Council, and how to sign up to recieve the Ages and Stages questionairres, as well as the Connections calendar. I promised I would ‘blog’ about it as a Friday Feature, so here it is!

The Child and Family Resource Council offers a free program to parents with children ages 0-5 in Kent County.  Once you have signed up for the program, they send you the Ages and Stages Questionairres about every 8 weeks.  You complete them, send them back, and they send you an evaluation which helps you to determine if you child is on track, or if there may be some possible developmental delays occurring. 

It has been particularly helpful to me during the times of A.P.’s hearing loss issues and Maybelle’s failure to thrive diagnosis (note to the medical community; don’t put ‘failure’ in a diagnosis unless you REALLY want the parents to freak out).

There is a very valuable calendar of events that comes out periodically as well. Sign up is easy and can be done online here.

Connections also publishes a Family Resource Guide with TONS of local information worth checking out.

So there you have it! Please say hi if this is your first time stopping by, and don’t forget to sign up for email updates.

Thanks for reading!

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You Can DO It!

Kids reading at Wayne County Public Library

Regular Big Binder readers are already well aware of the fact that if the library had a fan club, I would run for president.

Not just for the amazing resources you have at your disposal for taking a minute to get a library card, but for their community programs too. I love knowing that thousands of other people in Kent County are reading the same book at the same time during “Read Along The River”.  It’s just so… cozy. I love filling out my reading log for the adult reading program, although I was happy they switched the prizes last year because I am about library tote-bagged out.

During the summer, there is a children’s reading program. This year it is “Get A Clue! At The Library”.  The way it works is that your child commits to reading a certain number of books, or for a specific amount of time. When we signed up, we got a pen/magnifying glass combo.

Earlier this week, the kids completed their reading logs and “cashed in”.  Both KDL and GRPL have the same program, but different rewards for completion.  We signed up at a GRPL branch. If anyone has done KDL please comment and let everyone know!

Maybelle and A.P. each recieved:

  • A “Get A Clue!” t-shirt
  • A coupon for a Coldstone ice cream (which we already used)
  • A coupon for a lunch at Subway (yup, used that too)
  • A coupon for a lunch at Q-doba (guess where we’re eating tomorrow?)
  • A coupon for a kid’s meal at Ponderosa (Where in the world is Ponderosa?)
  • A coupon for a personal pizza at Pizza Hut
  • A coupon for a free admission at Dutch Village
  • A coupon for Berlin Raceway (which Mr. Binder is very excited about)
  • A certificate of completion

The program ends August 4th. You still have plenty of time! If you go sign up today, that gives you 10 days.  If you commit to 25 books, think of how much your kids will love getting through that pile of books with you! You both will enjoy all the goodies.

So get going! You have some reading to do!

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OK I Admit It..

I stay home once in a while. This blog would make it seem like I am out and about all the time, every day, and while that is usually true… we do actually have ‘at home’ days. I’m not a huge TV person for myself or my kids, so I try to provide good activities and good toys for them to play with.

Look Mom, Look introduced me to ebeanstalk, and I really liked what I saw. You can shop for single toys, or by a ‘series’. No, it is not a local company but I personally prefer shopping online than dragging A.P. and Maybelle out of the toy store when it is time to go. My children do not cry at that point, they howl. It’s ugly.

Anyway… so the very friendly folks at ebeanstalk have offered, you, yes YOU, a Big Binder reader a 10% discount off of your order.  The discount code you will need is: ebean10%.

This is particularly helpful to me, because as those of you who know me personally know that my husband and I were remarkably un-creative in the baby department and our kids are two years apart almost to the day, so we have two birthdays to contend with at once.

So happy shopping, no howling, and enjoy the discount!

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