I Will Never… And Then I Did

When it comes to parenting, there will never be more famous words than “I will never let my child…”  You can finish that sentence.  It can be anything from “wear clothes like that” to “act like that in public”.  We are so naive – and be “we” I mean parents, before we become parents.

I will never #parentingAs far as parenting goes, there will never be a statement more destined to be broken than this one.  I speak from experience.  No matter how prepared we think we are for this whole parenting gig, most of us totally aren’t.  We aren’t physically prepared and we aren’t mentally prepared – at least not with the first kid.  After that, most of us have an “adjusted” idea of how the real world works and we realize just how many of those “I will never” statements we get to eat.

One of my “I will never” parenting moments was when I agreed to let my daughter compete in pageants.  Yes, I initially thought it would be a one and done sort of thing, yet here we are.  She had professional headshots taken last week.  My 7 year old has professional headshots.  Even I have a hard time processing it.  Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve had a professional hair/makeup session?  Um, let’s see… I think I was about 5 months preggo with this little cutie and was in my sister’s wedding.

Natural Pageant HeadshotLet’s see… I’ve also sworn I would never let my kids run the neighborhood without supervision, sleep in my bed, turn me into a short-order cook… I’ve eaten all of those words.  Maybe we should stop saying “never”.  My therapist (yes, I have one) says “never” and “always” are akin to curse words.  Using them is bad.  In using them, you are simply setting yourself up to fail.  Who wants to do that?  Certainly not me.

I’m learning to use “always” and “never” much less and I think I’m a better parent for it.

What do you think about the phrase “I will never…” as it relates to parenting?  What is one of the things you said you’d never do/let your child do, yet you have eaten those words?

Posted in Parenting | 9 Comments

Washi Tape Canvas Wall Art {Create Your Own}

A big THANKS to Oriental Trading.  They very graciously provided us with the supplies used in this Washi Tape Canvas Wall Art project.  No additional compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions shared within are those of Mama.Mommy.Mom. and no one else.  Happy crafting!

10 Minute DIY Washi Tape Canvas Wall ArtGot 10 minutes?  Got a few simple supplies?  You can make this super cute wall art grouping, or your own version of it, in just about 10 minutes.

There are very few things hanging on the walls of our house.  I don’t know why.  I have a hard time finding pieces that seem “just right”, I guess.  I see all these amazing rooms posted on Pinterest and I get incredibly jealous!  When I started my office update project, I knew I wanted to change more than just the colors of my walls.  I want my new space to reflect me.  I’ve always been crafty, and a little eclectic – I imagine my office will be much the same.

Buttons Canvas and GlueThough the primary colors in my new space will be gray and white, I’m pulling in yellow everywhere I can, especially on the gray walls.  I started last week with the this DIY Chevron Magnetic Board for the wall behind my desk, and this week, I finished up these canvases for the space above my new console table.  They reflect my crafty side, but at the same time are very clean and simple.

10 Minute DIY Washi Tape On CanvasI chose Chevron and solid yellow washi tape for two of the canvases.  I liked the contrast between the two against the white canvas, and once on the wall, all three colors will be right against each other (gray, white and yellow.)  The washi tape sticks right to the canvas (which came in a 4 pack) – just wrap it around the edges and onto the back of the canvas.  I wanted the two canvases to be identical, so I laid them side by side as I stuck on my design.

Aleene's Tacky GlueFor the other two canvases, I wanted to use buttons – again, my crafty side.  I knew Aleene’s Tacky Glue would do the trick.  I used it in crafting projects as a kid, and specifically used it to glue buttons onto canvas at my daughter’s 6th birthday party (we made LalaLoopsy drawings on canvas and added button eyes.)

I’m big into symmetry, so again, I wanted the two button canvases to be identical – or as close to it as possible.  I arranged the buttons on one of the canvases until I was happy with the look, then I replicated it (with the addition of a little glue under each button) on the second canvas.  It was easy at that point to start gluing on the original canvas without fear of bumping it and messing up my design.  The glue goes on white, but will dry clear, no matter how thick or how much squishes up through the button holes.  It’s one of my favorite things about Aleene’s Tacky Glue.

Washi Tape Canvas Art Oriental Trading ProjectThis project really allows you 100% freedom of design!  You can use as many or a few colors as you want – and it’s easy enough you can get the kids involved!  Oriental Trading has a great selection of Washi Tape and all of the other materials you need to complete your own set of Washi Tape Canvas Wall Art for any space in your home.  Be on the look out in the next week or so for a post (with a video!) of how to make your own greeting cards using Washi Tape.

Have you joined the Washi Tape craze?  This was admittedly my first Washi Tape project, but I think I might be hooked!

Posted in Crafts, For the Home | 23 Comments

Keep It Classy, Charlotte

Oy.  Some days I don’t even want to admit where I live.  Last week it was the Walmart toe sucking  bandit, this week a seemingly corrupt mayor (Patrick Cannon).  Just over a year ago, it was the Petraeus Scandal and in 1987 it was the Bakkers – with so, so many scandals in between.  Personally, I think the former mayor needs to get on the line with Olivia Pope.

And while I don’t live in Charlotte proper, I did live in the city for years and it is still the city I reference when people ask what city I call home.  Short of being a Nascar fan, Mooresville, NC doesn’t mean much to people, but Charlotte seems to hit their radars.

I hate that the bad things that happen here get all the press.

Charlotte is an amazing city!  (Despite some recent questionable leadership.)  We have Discovery Place, the Charlotte Nature Museum, Latta Plantation, we are the home of Nascar, we have music, art, culture, big business, a major international airport, green space, the National White Water Center… there is something for everyone.  Yes, we have traffic (lots of it) and there is crime too (a standard in most larger cities), but life is good here.

There are corrupt people everywhere, and while I hate to even think about it, I’m sure it’s just as likely that there’s another toe sucking bandit out there somewhere else too.  If we left Charlotte, I’d miss the restaurants (Mert’s Heart & Soul and Eez are just two of many).  I’d miss the parks, the Blumenthal, the symphony.  I’d miss my favorite running spots, my favorite theaters, my favorite everythings!

I’d miss so many of the good things about Charlotte, but I’d miss the people most.  They aren’t all corrupt or toe suckers, I promise.  Most are amazingly wonderful people.  They own amazing businesses, teach our amazing children and make Charlotte a place I love.

Posted in Life in General, Travel | 2 Comments

Helping Kids Brush Longer { Disney Magic Timer App } #ProHealthKids #Ad

This paid post is brought to you by the new free Oral-B Disney Timer App as part of a Type-A Parent Community Sponsored Post.

Some kids are bears when it comes to brushing their teeth.  Oral-B and Crest have teamed up with Disney to create the Disney Magic Timer App, a fun way to encourage your kiddos to brush for at least two minutes every time.  The Disney Magic Timer app gives kids the motivation they need to brush just a little bit longer.

Disney Magic Timer #ProHealthKids #adDental hygiene has been linked to numerous health concerns, far from our mouths alone.  As a kid myself, I didn’t have my first dentist visit until I was in second grade.  I was lucky, incredibly lucky, that I didn’t have a mouth full of cavities.  I’ve made sure that my kids have a much better dental health routine, and that starts with brushing at home.

Girl at Dentist #ProHealthKids #AdMy kids may be the odd ones out, but as much as I have to fight them to brush their teeth at home, they love going to the dentist!  My dentist loves seeing them too.  They are always perfect little angels when they are in his chair.  The same can not be said of them at home, especially when it comes to doing something they might not want to do – and sometimes that something is brushing their teeth.

Brushing Teeth Crazy Stunts #ProHealthKids #AdWe’ve been known to get a little crazy sometimes.  I’ll do what it takes to get the kids to brush their teeth, even if it means hiking them up on my shoulders to make brushing more fun.  The Disney Magic Timer app is a much better solution!

Here’s a quick run down of how the app works, straight from my little princess…

As the countdown clock runs down, the toothbrush reveals bits of the picture underneath the foamy coating.  The longer you brush, the more of the picture you reveal.  I found that my kiddos were so interested in what the picture was going to be that the 2 minutes flew by!

Disney Magic Timer #ProHealthKids #ad App Screen ShotsAfter revealing the completed picture, it’s stored in your child’s “books” and the brushing success is marked on the in-app brushing calendar.

Disney Magic Timer #ProHealthKids #ad 2Filling up the calendar and unlocking all of the pictures and books within the app becomes a very attainable goal – all by brushing their teeth!

You can download this FREE app in the Apple App Store or on Google Play today!  Help encourage your kids to brush for at least 2 minutes, twice a day and promote good oral hygiene not only for the health of their teeth, but their overall health too!

Disney Timer App by Oral-BThis paid post is brought to you by the new free Oral-B Disney Timer App as part of a Type-A Parent Community Sponsored Post. Featuring sixteen of your favorite Disney and Marvel characters, use this app to seamlessly encourage your kids to brush longer. Collect a new digital sticker after each successful two minutes of brushing; track progress with stars and milestone badges on the Brushing Calendar. Longer, happier brushing for your little one is just a download away!

Download the Free App Here

Posted in Health/Wellness, Parenting | 5 Comments

The 5 Best Resources For Printable Coupons

Picking up the Sunday paper or subscribing to newspaper delivery used to be the only way to get your hands on coupons, but that’s all changed in recent years.  Now, getting printable coupons for your favorite brands is as easy as logging on to a few websites.

Best Printable CouponsBrand Sites – First and foremost, I always recommend checking the websites of your favorite products and brands for printable coupons.  The more demand there is for coupons, the more likely the brands are to supply them.  Many big brands (like Kraft) are really good about offering printable coupons on their site for many of their products.  If you know there’s a specific product you’re going to buy, no ifs about it, always check the brand site for a coupon.  For example, we use Cottonelle toilet paper.  We ONLY use Cottonelle toilet paper.  If the big pack we usually buy isn’t available, we’ll buy a smaller pack – but, it will always be Cottonelle.  If I know I need to pick up toilet paper, I check Cottonelle’s website for coupons.

Moving beyond the brand sites, there are other options out there for coupons.  These are, in my opinion, the 5 best sites for printable coupons.  I use them all and I use them often!

Coupons.com – This one seems kind of obvious, no?  Printables, card-linked offers, coupon codes… they have it all.  You can sort by category or browse the whole lot.  I love that it has a tracking bar that shows you how much you’ve “clipped” in savings.

Redplum.com – One of your weekly paper regular coupon inserts, Redplum is also online!  My favorite thing about Redplum is that you can load the coupons you “clip” onto your favorite store loyalty card – no actual printing!  Redplum has a huge variety of coupons, many “high-value” coupons too!

SmartSource.com – Another weekly insert, SmartSource is online too.  SmartSource offers a full listing of coupons, but you can also submit your zipcode to get coupons specific to your area.  SmartSource also offers Direct2Card coupon options for several supermarkets.

Store Sites – If you know where you plan to shop, hit up their website!  Many stores like Wal-mart and Target offer coupons, both manufacturer and store coupons, on their websites.  Target even allows you to stack coupons (use a manufacturer coupon and store coupon on the same item).  Some stores (again, like Target) offer additional savings through their apps.  Target has an app called Cartwheel.  If you take the time to plan, you can use a manufacturer’s coupon, store or app coupon, Pharmacy Rewards and a Red Card discount at Target all in the same trip!  Just the Pharmacy Rewards and Red Card alone will clip 10% right off the top of your total.

I know coupons save me a ton of money every month, and even make it possible for us to enjoy products we wouldn’t otherwise be able to justify spending the money on.  Do you coupon shop?  Where are your favorite places to find coupons?

Posted in Life in General, Reviews | 9 Comments

5 Tips For Taking Better Pictures of Your Kids

5 Tips for Taking Better Pictures of Your Kids

Taking pictures of your children, pictures that look a little more put together than a quick snapshot, can seem nearly impossible.  By using a few simple tips and tricks, you can take a painful experience and make photographing your kids fun!

Take Better Pictures of Kids Photography TipsWe’ve all tried to do it.  “You sit here, you sit here and you sit here.  Don’t move.  Smile.  Be still.  Stop doing that.”  You get the picture.  Or maybe you don’t.  Trying to take pictures of your kids can be a seriously stressful, incredibly frustrating experience.  Often, it’s not only the parents who end up frustrated and stressed out, but the kids do too!  I won’t promise miracles, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve to help you get better pictures of your kids, without sending anyone over the edge.

Beautiful Park Davidson, NCFind the Right Setting

If you want to get some decent pictures of your kids, the first thing you need to think about is where you want to make the magic happen.  I highly suggest you get outside.  Lush and green or winter gray, you’re going to have more room to move around and less clutter in the background, you’ll have more variety in the shots you walk away with, and no one feels trapped in a space they can’t get out of.  You’ll most likely have better lighting and more colorful pictures too!

Find a local park, head out into your back yard or your kid’s favorite fun spot – anywhere they can be comfortable and you can safely take pictures – is a great place.  We have the lovely local park that has not only play equipment, but a greenway, pond (ducks, geese and turtles!) and lots of room for running.  It’s a great spot for a family picnic followed by a walk along the greenway (and soee picture snapping along the way!)

Get Moving Play with Your KidsGet Up and Get Moving

If you want to take the best pictures of your kids you possibly can, give up on the idea of standing (or sitting) still.  If you make them feel forced, most kids will be done – d.o.n.e. – and quick.  Let them lead the charge, move around, pick where they want to stand.  Use games (like Simon says or Freeze) to manipulate their positions or poses.  Playing Tag is an excellent way to get some giggles going, and giggles make the best shots.  Shooting s moving target isn’t easy, so use breaks in the game to snap pictures rather than trying to catch all the action.  Be excited about suggesting things for the kids to look at or do (“Hey!  Check out that Turtle!”  or “I bet you can’t reach up for that tree branch!”)  You’ll be surprised at the requests they will comply with when you don’t make it about setting up a picture.  Let the poses happen naturally.

Pack The Necessities

There are a few things that will ruin even the cutest pictures… nasty noses, messy mouths and dirty hands.  Bring along a very baby wipes, some tissues, and maybe a hair brush (especially if you have a girl.)  Take the occasional break between games and silliness to check those noses, and if you’ve been eating or playing in the dirt, those hands!  If you’ve got a girl and you’ve been doing some running and craziness, you might want to smooth down any crazy hair too.

Silly Kid PicturesGet the Sillies Out

Give your kids a chance to be goofy, funny and just plain silly.  My girlie loves to “pose” in her own silly way, and I indulge her.  We usually make a deal… let me take a few my way, and we’ll take a few your way.  Sometimes her silly pictures end up being some of my favorites.  Dance around with your kids, be crazy, and forget about who’s watching.  Silly faces are fun for everyone.  If you’re comfortable with your little ones handling your camera, pass it off and turn the tables.  If they feel like they have some control, you’re more likely to get the results you want from them.

Say When

You know the line in that song… “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.”  Yeah, that totally applies.  As a parent, you know how to read your kids.  Don’t push them.  Every photo outing won’t be a huge success, so don’t expect it.  If you start getting a lot of push back or you can tell your kiddo’s attitude is shifting, give it up.  There will be other times for pictures.

If you try to push your kids to take pictures when they don’t want to, you’re setting yourself up for a photo fight every time you pull out the camera.  They have minds like steel traps… they will remember you made them take pictures when they didn’t want to, and I can promise you this: once the attitudes shift, you aren’t going to be happy with any shots you get anyway.  When it’s time to put away the camera, put away the camera.

Promises, Promises

I promise, I really do – If you incorporate these little tips and tricks into your next attempt at taking pictures of your kids, you will be SO much happier than if you take the “sit here, sit there” route.  Once you have shots you love, you can spiffy them up a little using the tips from our Drab to Fab tutorial.

Do you have any tips and tricks that you incorporate into your photographic adventures with your kids?  What works for you?  Share your thoughts with us here or on Facebook and good luck on your next memory catching session with your kiddos!

Posted in Parenting, Photography | 27 Comments

Taking on IKEA {A Newbie Tale}

Taking a solo trip to IKEA, for me, is much like taking a trip to the bathroom… I’m never allowed to go alone.  Despite numerous visits, I’ve never left the store with more than a handful of small accessories.  I guess I’d still qualify as an IKEA Newbie.  That all changed Saturday.

IKEA Furniture AssemblyMy sister took my children with her and her family this past weekend to Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, NC to celebrate my nephews birthday.  With the upcoming office project, operation “take back the play room” is in full effect.  Step 1 – Figure something out to get the toys from the play room into the boy’s bedroom.  Simple enough, except that the boy has so many trucks and tractors… ugh!  Knowing I needed more than Target could offer, we headed to IKEA.

Silly husband.  He thought a kid-free trip meant it would be a quick trip.  No such luck!  Do you know how packed IKEA is on a Saturday afternoon?  It’s a wee bit insane.

IKEA Check Out Line CrazyThat was only 1 of many lines that were a mile long.  I knew what I was getting into though.  After walking the showroom and weighing our options, we knew what we wanted for the boy’ room.  With that settled, I could relax a little a do some office decor shopping!  I picked up a few things, mostly things in my accent color (yellow), but you’ll have to wait for the big reveal to get the details on those.  I also scoped out some decorative lighting options, but I couldn’t settle on what I liked best, and left with only photos and memories instead.

Table Lamp IKEAOne thing we did come home with was a plant stand, but with no intention to use it as such.  Since the girl’s American Girl obsession started, I’m always on the watch for something that can be repurposed or altered to fill an American Girl need.  And there, in the outdoor furniture, I found this cute little plant stand that – to me – looked very much like an American Girl dining table.

American Girl Table IKEAI knew in picking it up that chair making would be on my to-do list, and well, I’ve already made a sofa…so, why not?  For less than $20, I’ll have a full dining set for the girl and her dolls.  It’ll take me a little time, but I’ll save a ton of money – and more importantly, I’ll make the girl happy.

While putting the table together took all of 5 minutes, that was not the case with this bad boy…

IKEA Expedite Entertainment UnitI had heard IKEA horror stories, so I was prepared for assembly to take me a while.  What I wasn’t prepared for was my own impatience and inability to leave the boxes alone until the weekend.  Instead, after rolling in from a 12 hour work day, I decided to tackle this beast with the assistance of a very eager 4 year old.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kid more excited about a piece of furniture.  He was busting at the seams to have somewhere to arrange all of his tractors and heavy equipment.  He has quite the collection.

Assembly wasn’t near as bad as I thought it would be, even with my 4 year old assistant ‘helping’.  I had about 90 minutes into the project.  I still need to get the bracket to mount his tv (it’s going to look so tiny in there!) and add a few more bins, but we have almost moved everything from the playroom into this bedroom.  If all goes as planned (and it never does!), I’ll be painting my new office sometime within the next week!

Are you an IKEA shopper?  Have you scored any amazing deals there or seen any unbelievable IKEA hacks?  I’d love to see/hear about them!

Posted in American Girl, For the Home, Life in General | 10 Comments

Make An Easter Egg Wreath for $5 {Dollar Tree Crafting}

I love crafting with supplies from Dollar Tree.  Earlier this week, I shared the Magnetic Chevron Memo Board I made for my new office (which is slowly but surely coming together) and today I’m sharing the Easter Egg Wreath I made to adorn our front door for the next month.  The beauty of this wreath?  It will hold up in the weather with no issues, and all for $5.  Bonus, you can put the whole thing together in about 10 minutes.  I know you guys love 10 minute wreaths, as evident by how frequently this one has shown up on Pinterest.

Make An Easter Egg Wreath for $5Getting Started

This wreath is so easy, it’s ridiculous!  As long as your kids are old enough to be trusted not to stab themselves (or someone else) with floral wire, they can do most of the work for you!  It would actually be great fine motor skills practice!

Easter Wreath 5 Dollar SuppliesYou need the following -

2 pks – 18 eggs each – Plastic Eggs (look for the eggs with holes in the tops and bottoms)

2 pks – 6 ft each – Floral Wire

1 roll Ribbon

The Hardest Part

aster Wreath String EggsThe hardest part of this project, and it’s not hard at all, is stringing the eggs.  If you found the eggs with holes in the tops and bottoms (Dollar Tree!), this is just like threading a bead.  Take one pack of eggs and arrange them in whatever pattern you like.  One at a time, thread the eggs onto the floral wire.  Go in through the whole on the bottom of the egg and out through the whole at the top.  Do that 17 more times.  And then, pick up the other piece of floral wire and do it all over again.  When you finish, you should have two strings of 18 eggs.  It gos pretty quick, I promise.

Easter Wreath Pet LoveTwister

This is where things get twisted…literally.  Lay your two strings of eggs side by side.  Twist the ends on on side together several times to secure them to each other, then gently twist the egg strings together.  You can to twist then snugly against each other, but not so tight that the eggs push each other apart.  Bring the ends together and twist again to secure the two ends together.

Easter Wreath Egg TwistOnce you’ve twisted the ends together, you can snip off the extra floral wire using scissors and a pretty heavy hand.  Now you can shape your wreath into a circle, or if you chose, you could manipulate it into more of an egg shape.

Easter Egg WreathTwistUse your ribbon to make a bow (a great way to cover up your twisty wire connection) and add a loop to hang your wreath… then you’re done!

You can hang your wreath inside, outside or anywhere you chose.  And, at $5, you can chose to use it for one season or save it for years to come.

Do you have any favorite Easter or Dollar Tree crafts?  We’d love to see them!

Posted in Crafts, For the Home | 9 Comments

Divergent {In Theaters Now!} #Review

Divergent Movie Poster #Review #Divergent

Earlier this week, a girlfriend and I headed out (courtesy of Summit Entertainment) to get an early dose of Divergent.  I’ve been bursting at the seams to talk about this movie ever since, but I had to keep mum until the official release.  Well, Divergent is officially in theaters as of today and I can finally share what I thought of the movie!

My quick and dirty review… GO SEE DIVERGENT!  Keep reading for the detailed review…

The Story

Divergent is set in America, many years from now.  After civil war destroyed the nation, faction system was set in place to divide people based on human virtues.  In this action-adventure film, Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. This places her in grave danger.

When she discovers a conspiracy by a Erudite faction
leader Jeanine (Kate Winslet) to destroy all Divergents, Tris must learn to trust
in the mysterious Four (Theo James) and together they work to find out
what makes being Divergent so dangerous – before it’s too late.

Divergent The Movie #Review #DivergentBook vs Movie

Divergent is based on the best-selling book series by Veronica Roth.  I’m currently on the third book in the series, Allegiant.  (The first two are Divergent and Insurgent.) You can get them all on Amazon for a great price.

If you’ve not read the book, no worries!  You will still LOVE the movie.  If you have read the books, no worries!  You will still LOVE the movie!

As far as movie adaptations of books go, they can sometimes be rather disappointing, especially when key parts of the story are altered for the big screen.  I will be honest in saying that my biggest concern going into the theater was whether or not the movie would live up to the book.  How much would they change?  Would the chemistry feel the same or would they make it more physical for the sake of the visual?  I think most avid readers have these same types of questions anytime they see one of their favorites adapted for the screen. While there were a few minor changes, I am happy to say that the film was VERY true to the book.  The minor changes that were made had no affect on the story as a whole, and were things a lot of people would probably never have even noticed.  I just read the book a few weeks ago, and I think it being so fresh on my mind was the only reason I even noticed the differences.

Casting

Theo James and Shailene Woodley were neither on my radar before being cast as the lead roles in Divergent.  (I can guarantee you that they’re on my radar now though!)  Despite that, there were still several cast members who were very familiar to me and who’s names being associated with the movie made it a “must see”… (to be specific – Kate Winslet, Ashley Judd, and Tony Goldwyn.)  After seeing the chemistry between Theo and Shailene, I can see why they were cast alongside each other.  The relationship and chemistry between the two was essential to preserving the integrity of the book and the did a wonderful job.

Divergent Tension #Review #DivergentThe Action

This movie was action packed!  There wasn’t a lot of “blood and guts”, but there was a lot of hand to hand combat and some gun violence.  It was fairly integral to the story and they did a great job bringing that through on the big screen without creating a blood bath.  The fight scenes were well choreographed and didn’t look faked or overly computer enhanced.  {That’s a huge pet peeve for me, so bonus points for awesome fights!}

There was one kind of “action” missing from the movie – and I’m glad!  In the book, the physical chemistry between Tris and Four hangs in the air.  There are subtle touches, grazes of the fingers, holding of hands and some kissing – but that’s really it.  Nothing ever gets what I would call “hot and heavy” and I was really impressed that the storyline for the movie stayed true to that and didn’t overly sexualize the characters.  While the book does tell you that you choose your faction at age 16, the movie leaves that out (so everyone’s ages are a little less clear in the movie than the book) and while the writers could’ve taken some liberty there, they didn’t and that impresses me.

Divergent Dauntless Jump #Review #DivergentThe Final Word(s)

If you love a good story with a little sci-fi, a lot of action and mind bending plot, Divergent will impress!  I honestly left the theater with no complaints, aside from the fact I will have to wait until 2015 for Insurgent!

Posted in Entertainment | 11 Comments

My 7 Year Old is Addicted to Youtube

It really started innocently enough… “Here, baby.  Quietly watch this video while mommy answers some questions for the doctor.”  Babies go to the doctor a lot.  Older siblings really don’t enjoy these trips.  There comes a point where you will do nearly anything to quiet the squirmy, anxiously little angels while you try to have a half way intelligent – or at least half awake (newborns don’t have great sleep schedules) – conversation with your pediatrician.  It’s usually somewhere between the car and the reception area.

In my case, ‘nearly anything’ meant finding The Wiggles or some equally annoying kiddie show on my iPhone and handing over that precious piece of metal and glass to an untrustworthy 3 year old.  I owe the life of my phone to Otterbox.

Watching videos on my iPhone became a fairly regular thing.  It was a quick way to get a moments peace and she really seemed to like it.  Fast forward about a bit – somewhere circa 2011… Our library had this program called Kidoz on their computers (basically a safe web browsing environment for kids) and after discovering that we could buy a personal license for the program, we added it to one of the laptops at home.  It allowed her to watch videos, play games and do activities without needing constant help.  She thought it was awesome.  She would watch Betty Crocker videos on how to decorate cakes, science experiments in action and videos of her favorite shows.  It was awesome!

After I got my iPad in 2012, I started letting her watch videos via the YouTube app.  She’d tell me what she wanted to watch, I’d search it and she’d be content for a few videos.  She was also learning to read/spell at that time, so we’d work through what words she needed to search for, how to spell them, etc.  One day, she wanted to search for American Girl videos.  We did… and that’s when the real obsession started.

She found many, many, MANY videos of house tours, crafts, tutorials and the like – all focused on American Girl and similar dolls.  She’d sit up my iPad, find a project, collect her supplies and craft right along with the video.  It was really cute to see her little mind working, copying what she saw on the videos, and working her way through how to substitute for the supplies she was missing.  Instead of squishing her creativity by limiting her screen time, I embraced it.

Now she asks to make her own videos and asks me to post them on YouTube (which, obviously I do).  I give her no direction, no prompting – this is all her.  Last night she asked to make a new video (2 actually) and asked me to post them for her.  She’s even asking for her own video camera (the jury is still out on that).

Is she addicted to YouTube?  Maybe.  Probably.  Will she move on to something else?  I’m sure.  Soon enough.  Am I a bad parent for contributing to her YouTube interest?  I don’t think so.  (And, for the record, I do monitor what she’s watching – so, definitely nothing inappropriate.)

What do you think about YouTube?  Appropriate for kids to make/post videos or not?  What about me letting my 7 year old cruise YouTube?

Posted in American Girl, Entertainment, Life in General | 9 Comments