Category: Kids

The Birthday Interview with Stella-Blue

My tiny baby is now nine years old…I’m getting so old!

Kraus House Mom

She and I have always been very close and even though she’s getting older, she still follows me around and knocks on the door when I’m in the bathroom.

We have a whole slew of TV shows we watch together (we ask the other two if they want to watch, but they decline). We call them “Our Stories”

Every year I ask the kids interview questions. They were the same for a while, but this year I changed them up a bit.

  1. What is your favorite color?    Black (yellow, blue and orange as well)
  2. What sport do you like?    Soccer and gymnastics
  3. What song do you love?    Chained to the Rhythm and Shape of You
  4. What is your best memory?    Kindergarten graduation
  5. What would you buy with $1000?    Bruins tickets or a bunch of puppies
  6. What is your favorite book?    Ghosts and Flora and Ulysses
  7. What is your favorite app? and YouTube
  8. What do you hate to do?    Clean my room, empty the dishwasher and set the table
  9. What is your favorite family activity?    Vacations
  10. What do you do in your free time?    Math
  11. What is your favorite TV show?    Stuck in the Middle and Crashletes
  12. What do you want to be better at?    Sports and engineering
  13. What do you want to be when you grow up?    Imagineer  
  14. Where do you want to go on vacation?    Washington DC and Texas
  15. What is your favorite part of the day?    Science and social studies
  16. What do you like best about school?    Science and social studies
  17. What is your favorite food?     Candy
  18. What is your favorite animal?    Unicorns, dragons, elephants and dogs
  19. What would you change your name to, if you could?    Isabella
  20. What do you want to accomplish while you’re nine?    Be better at school

There we have it folks, Stella’s interview.

You can watch it here…

Even Kids Need a Personal Day

Kraus House Mom

When I was a teacher, at the beginning of each school year I would get two personal days.

If I needed to go to an appointment that couldn’t be scheduled after school, I would use a personal day. Or, if I just needed a day, there were personal days.

When my kids were younger, I usually ended up taking them on their birthdays.

Now that they are older, my kids get their own personal days.

I let them choose their own days, but there are guidelines.

You can’t use a personal day on the day of a test, school even or sports game.

You get two each school year and you need to give advance notice of when you want to use it. (My kids usually use one on their birthday to go to Dave and Busters without their siblings.)

Once you use them, there are no more until the next school year.

They are pretty good at spacing them out. Teddy and Maizie have birthdays in November and December, so they take them then and then usually around May. Stella ends up taking one around the end of November and then her birthday in April.

There have been times where I’ve called an audible and had everyone take a bonus day, especially if it’s 90 degrees in the middle of May…then it’s a beach day.

Kids get overwhelmed by things just as much as adults. I found that them knowing they can just “take a day” when they feel the need to, helps them when they are reaching their breaking point.

Do you let your kids stay out of school for a “personal day”?




I’m Sorry But I’m Not A Milestone Mom

I am not a “feel all the feels” mom, or what I called a “Milestone Mom”.

I know a lot of people that just like to cry over things, especially when it comes to their kids getting older or reaching milestones.

Some people cry when their kids can hold their own bottle, feed themselves, dress themselves, tie their shoes. They wish they could turn back the clock and go back to when their kids were little.

Me? I’m like Hell yea!! One less thing I have to do.

I couldn’t wait for Stella to be able to sit in the Bumbo seat

Maybe it’s because we had three kids in three years that I was glad when these milestones happened and some time was freed up for us.

Teddy dressed himself for the snow…WooHoo

I must say I was kind of upset when my kids learned to walk. That mean they were going to be getting their hands on EVERYTHING. Let’s face it, unless you have all of your stuff six feet off the floor and have nothing to climb on, your house will never be baby proof.

Free yard work!

My kids getting older means I’m getting older and I am definitely not okay with that. I think that’s what gets me the most.

Stella is going to be nine next month and Maizie will be in middle school next year.

That’s what hurts, me having kids that old means I’m that old.

Before you know it they will be getting ready for college. They have all told me they are NEVER leaving.

I can’t say I’m completely thrilled with that idea.

Will it hit me someday that my tiny babies are getting older? Perhaps, but for now I will see the joy in my tiny freedoms with their independence.


Christmas Scouting Mission

Every year I take the kids on what we call a “scouting mission”.

Kraus House Mom

This is when we go to the toy store and look at all the toys and take pictures of or point out anything that they may possibly want for Christmas.

It doesn’t matter what it is, they can take a picture of it.

As it gets closer to Christmas, they need to narrow their choices down to the top three items they want to put on their list for Santa, within reason.

Right now, Stella has about twenty two things on her list.

There’s a reason they only pick their top three items. In their top three items, they know that Santa doesn’t bring them electronics or elaborate gifts.

One, Teddy and Maizie both have birthdays fairly close to Christmas (November and December).

Two, because of what I do, they get a lot of toys sent to them anyway.

And three, they know that Santa needs to make sure that he gets gifts to the less fortunate kids before them.

Because of reason number three, my kids know that Santa won’t bring them electronics or anything expensive. If they get something like that (tablet, game system) it will be from us.

We have done this for several years and they love it.

When we go see Santa and he asks what they want for Christmas, they can tell him without hesitation.

This way everyone can have a Merry Christmas.

How do you handle super long Christmas lists?

Flipping for Triple Flip

I received some clothes from Triple Flip for my girls to review and let me tell you, they are in love.

Have you noticed girls clothes lately?

Especially for tweens, the choices are less than appealing. They are either geared toward little girls or for budding floozies. My girls are neither.

This is when, unfortunately, many girls start to feel self-conscious about what they wear.

One of my daughters is very tall and very slim. Oh yea, and she refuses to wear jeans. So many times when she gets leggings, the are too short. Not anymore.

My youngest is always moving, CONSTANTLY! Not to mention, she a bit of a fashionista. She’s covered.

How do you feel about a company that’s mission is to encourage body confidence and a healthy self-image?

If you want this for your daughter, then you need to check out Triple Flip. They are Canada’s best-selling brand of tween activewear and accessories. Best of all, they’re available in the US.

The fit of Triple Flip clothes isn’t like ordinary styles. They’re shaped differently, to flatter all girls.

Let me tell you both of my girls are in love with Triple Flip.

Maizie received a pair of Accelerate Leggings and a Valley Tee.

Triple Flip
She even wants to sleep in them

It finally cooled down enough here to wear leggings and I don’t thing I will ever get them off of her. They are so soft it is insane. She has told me no less than seven times how great and comfortable her leggings are. She has also worn her Valley Tee constantly as well.
Stella received a pair of Full Force Legging and a Kira Tee. She loves how easy it is for her to do cartwheels in her super soft leggings. She has worn her Kira Tee a few times, she likes how it “goes out on the sides” (the fit is more a-line than a regular t-shirt).

Triple Flip
They move with her

We spend A LOT of time a sporting events, sitting around watching and waiting for games and these are the perfect combination of comfort and style.

I see several more Triple Flip purchases in my future.

Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

It’s the First Day of School

This is it, the day I’ve been waiting for since the end of July…

The first day of school!

Kraus House Mom
Our yearly ambitions

Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, but too much time together and they are at each other’s throats.

But today I am free from the arguing for at least six hours a day.

Stella is thrilled to be going back. She helped me sort out the mountain of school supplies and put them in the appropriate backpack.

Teddy can’t wait to see his friends and see which of his lady friends are in his class.

Maizie doesn’t want anything to do with going. She’s never been a fan.

Stella planned her outfit, then changed her mind. Decided on something else, then went back to her original plan. This year has a lot of animals involved.

Teddy didn’t get a say. I chose his outfit. He wanted to wear his new sneakers (size men’s 10 ½) but Stella convinced him that even if he had gym it didn’t matter because it was the first day.

Maizie had trouble deciding. Was she going to wear the dress she got? Not if she couldn’t wear a specific pair of sneakers. She opted for a pair of shorts and a new shirt.

This morning I ironed everyone’s clothes so they didn’t look like skeevortizes. Teddy was a bit shocked that he ended up looking so dapper (like I would steer him wrong).

They put their pre-packed lunches into their backpacks (I was kind enough to myself to do it last night) and once teeth were brushed, we were ready to walk the two blocks to school.

Teddy and Stella were happy as clams.

Maizie, for someone that wasn’t thrilled about going, she walked awfully fast to get there.

Soon I will find out if they had a great day and hopefully a great year.

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

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.


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?

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.