Tag: Kids

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”?

 

 

 

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?

Stella’s Soccer Day

Well after weeks of asking, Saturday was the first day of soccer for Stella.

She had been saying how she needed money (especially after the Tooth Fairy visited Maizie) and she NEEDED some dollars because her piggy bank was feeling light.

You see, my dad gives her a dollar for every goal she scores or if she makes a good move, this is her motivation.

She’s not just in it for the money, she laughs the entire time she’s out there; unless this one particular kid is in her way (she just doesn’t like him).

Frankly I think she likes the attention, there are six people cheering her on.

Saturday morning, she got up and couldn’t wait to get dressed.

I pull her together and then it’s the dilemma of what hairstyle am I going to wear?

Should I wear one ponytail, two ponytails or braids, every week it’s a challenge (she has even had me redo her hair because she didn’t like a style). She went with braids.

As I was getting ready I could hear her talking to Maizie and Teddy. She was telling them what they had to yell while she was playing. She wanted them to yell, “Go, go Stelly! Kick that ball!” I then heard Teddy inform her that he was not going to be yelling that (He did).

She takes this seriously.

We get there, sort through the chaos, and then she finally picks a field (she was dying to start kicking her ball) and she starts practicing.

She kept kicking the ball into the empty goal, I think she thought they were going to count toward her grand haul (they didn’t).

I put her shirt on her and it’s like she’s playing in a dress, she doesn’t care; she got a game to play.

 

She ended her day with a total of two dollars, a pink frosted doughnut and a Gatorade; she was quite satisfied.

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.

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?

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.

Hot New Collectibles…Surprizamals!

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.