Summer Bucket List

Kraus House Mom

At the beginning of summer of every summer vacation I ask each of the Kraus Kids what they want to do during their vacation and I have to tell you, they’re kind of boring. I’ve got some boring kids.

I took a mental note of all the things they told me they wanted to do throughout the year and helped them embellish their list a bit.

Here’s the Kraus House Summer Bucket List (Revised Edition)

  • Strawberry Picking
  • Providence Flea
  • Boston Museum of Science
  • Beach
  • Build a house in the backyard
  • Drive In
  • Mini Golf
  • Duck Boats (in Boston)
  • Polish Festival (Our Lady of Czestochowa)
  • Fireworks
  • Paw Sox Game
  • Red Sox Game
  • Bike Path
  • Water Park
  • Newport Mansion
  • Different Zoo
  • Pool
  • Bowling
  • Brunch
  • Dine al Fresco
  • See The BFG
  • See Secret Life of Pets
  • Cliffwalk
  • Farmer’s Market
  • Flea Market
  • Penny Candy Store
  • Ice Cream for Dinner
  • Iggy’s

There are other things that I would like to do, but this list is something I thing we can really accomplish without being boring.

Follow along and read about our summer adventures.

Do you have special plans for the summer?

Teddy’s Line…Staying Safe at the Beach

Stay Safe at the Beach

I originally wrote this post three years ago and feel  the need to repost it every year. This technique has been so helpful over the years.

From the very first time he went into the ocean he loved it. He kept crawling toward it and we had to pull him out because as Ted says, “He’s braver than he is smart.” He will just keep going out into the water and not think anything of it.

The first time Teddy went to the beach when he could walk (1 1/2 yrs old)

He didn’t have to go in holding someone’s hand (2 1/2 yrs) and stayed there until dragged out

Two years ago this became a big problem. He didn’t want to get out of the water and I didn’t want to spend the entire day standing there with him, so I would let him go in by himself.

Don’t worry, I didn’t let a four year old just wander around, at this point in time I didn’t take the kids to the beach by myself. We would go and there would be at least five adults, someone was always watching.

I had to keep going and telling him he was in too deep. My dad said something about a line, and it dawned on me. I had a Sharpie in my bag. I called Teddy over and drew a line right on his stomach. I told him he couldn’t go out in the water past that line or he would have to come and sit down.

His first line (it was high because someone still sat close to the water)

Well, he went into the water and after every step he took, he looked down to see if he past the line.

I worked like a charm. I am a genius! I don’t have to keep getting up and telling him to come closer anymore.

The level of the line can change depending on the waves or how well he stayed below it the last time.

This week’s line

He knows if he sees me standing at the edge of the water with my hands on my hips that he went too far. He doesn’t even argue about it anymore. He comes out, he sits down (it’s usually the only time I can reapply sunscreen), has a bite to eat and then he goes back out when he’s done his time.

This is what happens when you go past the line

It usually happens once or twice at the beginning of the summer, the more he does it the longer he has to sit.

We’ll see how many times he has to sit this summer.

Summer Necessities…Must Haves for (My) Kids

There are some things that are absolutely necessary for summer in order to keep the Kraus Kids occupied. The best part is, they are very cheap and easily replaced once they run out.

I make sure I have a nice supply of these essentials.

necessities

Jump ropes   My girls will jump in the driveway, and up and down the sidewalk throughout the summer. I buy a lot of them because they will get used to tie things up, end up in knots and left out in the rain.

Bubbles  You can never have enough bubbles in the summer. I get all sorts of contraptions for them to use and tons of bottles of the stuff. I do sometimes make them a batch of homemade bubble mix when I’m feeling like a Pinterest mom.

Sidewalk Chalk  My kids have already gone through three buckets of these. They are always being left out in the rain. My kids do let them dry out and then use it, they say it still works fine, but since it is so inexpensive and keeps them occupied for hours I keep getting them more.

Hula Hoops These are not only used around the waist. They are targets to hit or throw through, something used to catch the enemy and used as an obstacle course. My kids use them for so many different things that they don’t care that they get bent.

Kraus House Mom
Two is one too many for her

Water Balloons  We love a good water balloon fight in our house. I’ll fill up a couple of buckets for each team and let the games begin. It’s great on a hot day.

Balls   Big or small, doesn’t matter, we need them all. Each game requires a different kind of ball. My kids make up their own games with their own rules all the time (Who remembers CalvinBall?)

Squirt Guns  I’m thinking about investing in Super Soakers this summer. My son thinks he’s this great warrior, he shoots like a Stormtrooper. I may need to show him how it’s really done. The thought of a Super Soaker show down sounds like fun.

What are some things your kids “need” this summer?

Adult Coloring Relaxing?

The almighty “THEY” say adult coloring books are “supposed” to be relaxing.

I loved coloring, I colored into my teens.

Now I don’t think I would call it relaxing though.

For Christmas I received some coloring books. They have bigger pictures, the smaller, more intricicate designs would have driven me to madness. I figured I could use them to relax…

Boy was I wrong!

Kraus House Mom
These are the ones I got for Christmas

I have found that coloring actually causes me some stress.

I guess when it comes to me coloring I’m a perfectionist, I’m not in ANY other aspect of my life.

Some of the thoughts that go through my head are…

  • My pencil is too dull I need to sharpen it
  • What happened to the sharpener?
  • Did I go out of the line a little bit?
  • Did I use this color already?
  • Is there too much of color X?
  • I don’t have enough variety of colors.
  • The lines aren’t blending together

Then I need to deal with my kids stealing my colored pencils and they ask if they can color a little bit of may page? Are you out of your mind?

Kraus House Mom
There’s so much wrong with this it drives me nuts

How could I find this relaxing?

I know I need to loosen up, it’s just a coloring book. But this is the one and only thing I’m this neurotic about.

What do you get neurotic about?

How Stella is Like a Hollywood Has-Been

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I wrote this about Stella two years ago. It is still true today.

Every little girl has a little diva inside them, but Stella is a Big Diva (in so many ways). There are times she reminds me of a starlet that has lost her Hollywood glow.

 

 

She gets in the tub with all her jewelry on and doesn’t realize it. Seriously, necklace, bracelet, headbands, you name it then she looks at you with an Oops face and starts to giggle.

 

 

She makes unreasonable demands.

 

 

 

She wanted to sit on top of the two stools.

She wakes up in the morning looking like she’s been on a week-long bender. Come to think of it, once you brush her hair she looks like that after 10 minutes.

 

 

No pants and one cowboy boot…enough said!

 

This is how she wakes up looking 85% of the time.

 

She still gets this excited over marshmallows.

 

She wants fame. She’s always wants me to take her picture and post it. Now she (and Teddy want to be You Tube stars). I can just imagine the stuff they would post because I know the stuff Ted won’t let me post.

I find her passed out on her floor.

 

I frequently find her on the floor, a few times she’s been under the bed.

 

She can go days eating like a bird, then binge like she’s going to the chair.

 

 

Some of her outfits could get her on the “What were they thinking” list.

 

 

 

A Stella-Blue original

 

Sunglasses have become her signature look.

 

She causes public scenes.

 

She needs her beauty rest.

 

 

Do not disturb

 

She calls everyone by the same name, Bubby. She’s too cool to use Dahling.

What do you think, is she a diva?

Two Kids, Two Sports

We are deep into the spring sports season and my head is spinning. I have two kids that play spring sports. And let me tell you, it’s not easy.

Stella plays spring soccer, and has for years and Teddy has just started playing lacrosse this season. Teddy always did hockey, but when he had cataracts, he couldn’t play at all this past season and was itching to do something.

I knew it was going to be hard, Maizie ran track the past two springs, but this year it’s different. Lacrosse was so much different.

lax 2

With track there was no added equipment to keep track of and find three days a week (practice and games). For lacrosse there is a TON of equipment. All Maizie needed was her shirt and her sneakers.

Stella keeps all her soccer stuff in her duffle bag, that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Kraus House Mom
She’s so intense

Stella only has practice once a week, so it’s fairly simple and it’s on a day Ted usually has off.

Lacrosse has practice twice a week and a lot of the time, Ted has to work so I need to juggle. No to mention that since lacrosse is so intense that if it rains, practice isn’t cancelled. They find an alternative.

It’s great that lacrosse is so intense, it gives Teddy a great love of the game, but man do I get tired.

Kraus House Mom
Eye on the ball

The hardest thing I have found is that I don’t get to go to all of his games.

Lacrosse games and soccer games are frequently scheduled at the same time and the lacrosse team also travels to half of their games. They play all over the state, while Stella’s soccer games are always at the same field.

Kraus House Mom
The fury she has if a ball gets past her

Because of this, Ted will usually go with Teddy to his games and I go with Stella to her games.

I feel bad that I don’t get to see him play that often, but I’m glad he gets that time with Ted.

It can be tough, but we do it. And the kids’ love their sports.

Missing: All the Things I Need Daily

A few years ago I wrote about The Nine Most Lost Items in my House. Well, just like my kids, that list has grown. So I’ve decided to revise it.

I have tried to keep myself and kids organized, but I’m failing miserably. For some reason, nothing ends up where it belongs.

The original 9 are still major problems…

  • Brushes/Combs
  • Tools
  • Tape Measure
  • Shoes
  • Pens/Pencils
  • Socks
  • Nail Clippers/Nail File
  • Hair Elastics
  • Broom/Dust Pan

Now let me add to the ever growing list.

Teddy’s Glasses/His Case  He loses one of these at least twice a week. He frequently leaves his case at school (then I have to hope he can find it). His glasses have been left in the strangest places all over the house. The only way he has found them is because one of the girls or I noticed them and remembered where we saw them.

Surprise, Surprise they were in the case
Surprise, Surprise they were in the case

Lunch Bag  One of the Kraus Kids has lost two, yes two, lunch bags this school year. Don’t ask how, I have no clue. I guess this kid doesn’t want to eat anymore.

 

My Phone  One would think with what I do I would know where my phone is, since I need it all the time. Nope. The worst part is when my husband is at work and I can’t have him call it, we got rid of the landline. I spend quite a bit of time hunting it down (usually in the couch cushion).

 

Homework/School Papers  I can’t tell you how many times I say, “Put it in your back pack.” Come morning, we’re all searching for someone’s homework, field trip paper, or folder.

This folder is in a chair between two other bags. Will it be found in the morning?
This folder is in a chair between two other bags. Will it be found in the morning?

Scissors  I have five pairs of scissors, but I can never find a pair when I need it. There should be two in the kitchen, two in my desk and one in my bedroom. There’s usually a scissor crisis when I’m elbow deep in a project.

I could only find ONE pair
I could only find ONE pair

Scotch Tape  I buy this stuff by the crateful. I know exactly who is responsible for this one, Stella. She uses it for her “projects” and “inventions”. If I need any, I check her bedroom desk first.

 

Sports Equipment/Uniforms  I try to get there game uniforms ready the night before because it’s absolute chaos on game mornings. When everything WAS right there and suddenly it’s not, my head is in danger of exploding. On practice nights there is ALWAYS one piece of equipment missing, it never ends.

 

Of all the things that go missing, I think the pencils missing during homework time drives me crazy the most often.

 

What do you lose in your house?

 

Hot New Collectibles…Surprizamals!

The Hot New Collectibles

I was offered the opportunity to review Surprizimals™ by the Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Company and let me tell you, I jumped at the chance. If there is something that is hidden in some sort of container, my kids want it desperately. It doesn’t matter what it is. Blind bags, mystery bags, grab bags, things from the claw machine, it doesn’t matter, they NEED it.

Then you throw in the girls’ love of stuffed animals and now you have a winning combination.

My girls can barely fit in their own beds because they have so many. In fact I had to find a place for Maizie to put her because she was only sleeping on four inches of her bed.

Put together stuffed animals and mystery containers and what do you have? Surprizimals™.

Kraus House Mom
They’re on Stella’s bed…surprise, surprise!

They are a new line of collectible plush stuffed animals made of soft, high quality plush that hide in surprise packaging called Surprizaballs. Series one has twelve characters, with over 60 new characters to collect in series two launching in fall of 2016 (the Wackies, Cutie and Mini Surprizamals™)

They are retailing from $2.99 to $4.99 and are available exclusively at Stuffedanimals.com.

What did we think about them?

I can’t believe how great these are, and the Kraus Kids fell in love with them.

They come in these round plastic balls and you can’t tell which one you’re going to get, it adds to the suspense.

The kids and I thought they are going to be small, like the stuffed animals that hang from backpacks, but they are not. We were shocked at their size.

Kraus House Mom
They’re sitting down too

Don’t get me started on how soft they are.

Teddy was skeptical on them, he’s a boy and wasn’t sure. He figured that they would be “a girl thing”. He ended up opening the panda, which happened to match some of his other toys, go figure. He was impressed with how soft, cute and big it was.

Just like other mystery collectibles, there are “tiers”;  common, collector, rare and ultra rare. We opened Hailey the unicorn (collector), Mandy the panda (rare) and Ellie the elephant (rare).

Kraus House Mom
The collection

Not only do you get the plush animal, inside each ball they come with their own matching activity sheet and stickers, bonus!

Kraus House Mom
Activities
Kraus House Mom
The stickers

The Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Company really has a winner with Surprizamals™. My kids want to collect all of them!

Here’s the unboxing video the Kraus Kids did…

For more information, visit www.surprizamals.com.

Disclosure: I was sent Surprizamals™ to review, but all opinions are completely my own.

Guess who Broke his Two Front Teeth

Kraus House Mom

I’ve written about how Teddy went blind and the went blind again, well recently he knocked out his two front teeth. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but he did put two giant chips in them.

How? How did he do it?

It’s not something common.

Kraus House Mom
Look at those

He didn’t fall off his bike or do it while playing sports or when he was at the playground. He did it as only a Kraus Kid can do, he did it on a mechanical bull.

We do a charity race every year. During the race we are “gored” by the roller derby girls. The use red paint and get you as you run by them. After the race there is a party and the always shave a mechanical bull.

Every Year my kids ask to go on it and for one reason or another they don’t. This year, there was no line, so I told them they could do it. There were TONS of kids much smaller and younger than Teddy that had already gone on it.

What could happen? Teddy could happen!

As the bull came up, Teddy face-planted onto it. Down he went and there went his teeth.

I thought he broke his nose and has expecting blood everywhere. No blood, but he only had half of his front teeth.

They weren’t loose and he didn’t expose the nerves, so I wasn’t too concerned.

I called the dentist the next day and since we didn’t get an appointment until the following day, I guess they weren’t all that concerned either.

Apparently it happens ALL THE TIME, because no one asked what happened. Teddy told everyone (of course) and then I got the side eye and asked, “Where was there a mechanical bull?” Once he told the story, everyone thought he was the funniest kid ever.

Kraus House Mom
Waiting and reading

In comes the dentist, I’m thinking they are going to bond them.

Nope, his highness gets two crowns.

He is checking everything out, like a hawk and asking if they’re going to knock him out, I think

he was hoping. (They didn’t even numb him.)

Kraus House Mom
Watching everything happening

He was nervously cracking jokes and then wouldn’t you know it, of course dentist falls in love with him.

I swear getting the crowns ready took way longer then getting them put on.

Kraus House Mom
Shiny new chompers

The only bad part is he can’t bite into apples or carrots ever again because he can snap he teeth right off.

Luckily he left the dentist looking as good as new. Now we just have to keep him from having to get a new nose.

My Kids Want to Be Entitled

I love my kids and I do a lot for them. They go through phases where they think they rule the world and they get an entitled, superior attitude and that is not going to fly. You guys are no better than anyone else, you do not deserve special treatment.

There are things that I need to do and there are things I don’t. They have trouble seeing the difference sometimes.

Kraus House Mom

Things I Need to Do VS. What I Don’t

Need-Feed you
Don’t-I don’t have to make your special requests

 

Need-Make sure your clothes are clean

Don’t-I don’t have to put your clothes away for you or pick out your outfit everyday, especially if you’re going to complain about my choice.

 

Need-To make sure you are dressed

Don’t-I don’t have to brush your hair everyday, you are fully capable of doing it, just keep track of all your brushes.

 

Need-To clothe you

Don’t-I don’t need to keep track of where you left your sneakers, jackets or the socks I just handed you.

 

Need-To make sure you do your homework.

Don’t- I don’t need for you to enjoy it.

 

Need-To provide you with the technology needed in order to complete your assignments.

Don’t-I don’t need to allow you full reign or use of said technology.

 

Need-To make sure you are clean

Don’t-I don’t need to let you take a 30-40 minute shower or get you fancy soap or body wash to use.

 

My kids don’t act like this all the time, if fact it can be a rare thing. But when they do, I make sure they know that the world doesn’t revolve around them and they need to be conscious of the way they act and speak.