Summer Vacation Time Management Worksheet

I’m not one of those moms who look forward to spending a long, lazy summer vacation at home with the kids. I’m one of those moms who wish the kids could stay in school all summer long.

I love my kids, but I don’t love having them all around the house, all day, every day, all summer. So I make schedules for them. They’re not too rigorous or inflexible, but it helps prevent too much milling around the house in boredom. It also alleviates some of the zombie-eyed screen infatuation, by making them do things outdoors and away from electronics.

Here is a worksheet I put together this morning. The kids resist having all of their time managed by Mom, because it feels too much like school and not enough like vacation. I’m hoping that this system will be a good compromise, allowing them to have some control over their time, while still fitting in the things I feel are essential, such as personal hygiene, nutrition, brain exercise, and outdoor fun.

It’s free to download and print, and you can also customize it for your own family. If you find it helpful, please leave a comment and/or share a link to this post with your friends. Happy vacationing!

Kids’ summer time management worksheet
summer-worksheet

A big difference between GeekMom and GeekDad

First of all, let me say that this story involves throw-up. If you are averse to hearing such a story, please skip to the next post. I don’t want to make you sick! If you’re a parent, chances are you’re over it, so read on…

When it comes to parenting, Hubby and I have lots in common. All the important things. However, one of the places we differ is in the treatment of sick children. Specifically, children who are vomiting, or who are about to vomit. For instance…

Not long ago, one of our young children was about to be sick. She’s not old enough to go into the bathroom and take care of it herself, but there was no doubt about what was going to happen.

Sensing the imminent upchuck, Hubby jumped backwards, with a graceful agility I did not know he possessed. He nailed the move, and landed safely outside the splatter zone.

In the same second, I — almost without thinking — lunged toward my daughter. I got my hands cupped under her pale face just in time, and caught the mess! Yes, in my bare hands. I’m a mom. I’ve been a mom long enough to know it’s much easier to wash my hands, arms, and/or shirt, than to scrub the sofa, floor, and/or carpet!

Once things were cleaned up and under control, I pointed out the difference in our reactions to my husband. I asked him why he jumped out of the way, leaving me to jump in. He said, “I don’t know. It’s just a reflex, I guess. And you’re a vomit magnet.”

Vomit magnet.” Next time I’m revising my Mom resume, I’ll have to add that to my list of talents and responsibilities. Head Cook, Nurse, Chauffeur, Tutor, Vomit Magnet. Yeah, that’s impressive. 🙂

GeekMom’s Quick Tip: Shake, Shake, Shake!

gloves

Here is a funny story I had to share. My kindergartener recently had trouble getting his fingers all the way into his gloves before going out to the bus stop. He insisted there was something in there! I said, “Just try again,” because sometimes that works… He tried jamming his fingers into the gloves, but they wouldn’t go all the way in.

So, being a good mother, I turned the problem glove inside-out to check for debris. I was expecting a scrap of Kleenex or a piece of grass. I got the first couple of fingers checked out. Nothing was there. Turning these gloves out is no easy task, because the fingers are pretty small.

I continued with the index finger, and started pushing the tip of the glove inward. As I worked the glove and opened up the finger, I saw long, brown fibers being pushed out. I thought it might be a piece of mulch. Then, a roundish wad of something emerged. And finally, the whole leggy, smushed, balled-up spider fell out of the glove and onto the floor.

Fortunately, it was dead. Our vigorous attempts at putting on the glove had done the trick.

It’s a good thing my 6-year old is not afraid of bugs, or this might have been a traumatic experience.

The moral of the story: Always shake your gloves out before putting them on!

GeekMom’s Mean Thoughts

I have three kids of my own, and although I love them all dearly, they do have their moments. My first baby had trouble sleeping. He had allergies and acid reflux, which we didn’t get diagnosed until he was 15 months old, because the pediatrician kept telling us he’d grow out of it. “Stop breastfeeding him and he’ll sleep through the night.” “Take away the pacifier, because he can’t find it, and then he can’t get back to sleep.” “Just let him cry.

That first baby is almost nine, and I still shake with fury when I remember what that stupid doctor put us through. Thankfully, I finally (I know, I should have done it sooner, but I trusted the doctor…) took him to a specialist and got things taken care of. It was nice to finally get some sleep! But I digress…

The point of this post was not to recount my old grudges.

Actually, some of our friends are just now having babies. We’re having a mini baby boom in our little circle. And even though I really want everyone to be healthy and happy, and I hope their babies are sweet little bundles of joy, there’s a snarky little part of me that hopes those kids throw some big tantrums and wake their parents up at all hours of the night. Just to be fair.

So there you have it: GeekMom’s dark side. Be afraid. 🙂

Kindergarten GeekBoy Made Up A New Word

Here is something my kindergartener said to me recently. It made me laugh, so I wanted to share it.

GeekBoy: “Mommy, do you know how I could tell the baby was awake?”

GeekMom: “How did you know, Punkin?”

GeekBoy: “I heard her through the baby ther-monitor.”

GeekMom’s Favorite Spam Recipe

What is SPAM good for? Well, it may be an acquired taste, but before “spam” became an online nuisance, it was a food. Remember? And while some snooty foodies will heap ridicule upon those of us lowbrow commoners who consider SPAM a legitimate ingredient, I have to say to anyone who is judging SPAM by its reputation alone, “Try it. You might like it.” Seriously!

GeekMom's SPAM Rice RoyaleFor example, here is a photo of some delicious fried rice I made the other day. Maybe I’ll call it SPAM Rice Royale, or something else that sounds tempting and exotic. See the lovely, tender onions and green peppers? The authentic leftover steamed Japanese white rice? Notice the beautifully browned SPAM cubes? That’s the secret! The SPAM must be diced and browned, so that at least two sides of the cubes are carmelized and a bit crisp. That’s what makes this such a tasty treat!

Additionally, I sprinkle the rice with a little bit of seasoned salt, garlic powder, fresh ground pepper, and a splash of Kikkoman shoyu (soy sauce). And if it were up to me, I’d also add some carrots and frozen peas, but Hubby doesn’t eat those. And since I’m so nice, I usually leave them out.

And there you have it. GeekMom’s SPAM Rice Royale. For the record, Hubby is a picky eater, and he had seconds for dinner, and took the rest to work for lunch the next day. Try it. You might like it!

Call me old-fashioned, but…

It’s just the way I was brought up. When we were kids, Mom made us sit down after Christmas or birthdays and write thank you notes. By hand. We hated it, and it took forever! It’s not that we wanted to be perceived as ungrateful or rude (Mom explained that’s what people would think), but writing notes was so boring compared to playing with our new stuff.

Now that it’s so quick and easy to send a digitized message, whether by e-mail, IM, text, fax, e-card, or whatever, I find it even more important to do thank-yous the old-fashioned way. I love getting personal notes — thank you or otherwise — in my real mailbox. Every time I walk out to get the mail, I have a little flutter of hope that there might actually be something “real” among the junk. Most of the time it’s just bills, credit card offers, and advertisements. Even though this is normal, it’s still a bit disappointing. When something personal is hidden between the boring business envelopes, I get so excited! Aren’t you the same way?

Which is why I always try to send handwritten thank you notes, and I’m trying to get my kids in the habit of doing the same. It’s a battle, because they say it takes forever, and it’s boring… But I explain that people love getting a nice note in the mail, and it shows an appreciation for thoughtfulness on both sides of the stamp.