One of my Twins is Gifted and Talented and One Isn’t

As a proud mom of two full-term, beautiful, healthy weight twins, I was certain that my miracle babies would excel at everything. Sports, beauty, intelligence. And they are amazing — don’t get me wrong. But after Co-Gat scores came out last month, I learned that one of them is officially “Gifted and Talented.” And one is not.

And you know what? I’m not going to tell you which is which.

I remember vividly the pediatrician scolding me for constantly comparing their development.

After all, one is a boy and one is a girl. And they are only as closely related as siblings, though they were born on the same day (hello fraternal twindom). But my daughter started speaking in full sentences worthy of the English monarchy at two, while my son was still grunting and pointing roughly at what he wanted. “What’s WRONG with him?” I’d ask. Nothing she said. Absolutely nothing. Stop comparing them.

Ha. Fat chance. Our pediatrician is awesome. But she clearly doesn’t have kids.

I’m still not telling you which is which.

I enrolled them in early preschool. Because of their late birthdays, they did two years of Pre-K. They picked up reading like it was nothing. My daughter draws and speaks and basically acts two years older than she is. She says school is boring and too easy. She’s artistic and graceful. She makes up entire stories with her prized LOL dolls. She usually beats me at trivia.

My son is also an excellent and expressive reader. He makes friends extremely easily. Hasn’t a shy bone in his body. Rips through his math homework in minutes when I am still perplexed by problem one. (They changed math, btw).  “It’s EASY, Mom!” he proclaims.

One of them is Gifted. Wait. False. They are both gifted. But only one excelled at the test.

I read a saying the other day that said, “If you judge a fish on its ability to climb a ladder, it will go its whole life believing it’s a failure.”

I believe that’s true. My kids are gifted. All kids are gifted. Wait — all people are gifted. Now, I know I sound like some kind of hippie mama, and perhaps I am. But after the initial disappointment, “Wait, what do you mean my child isn’t a GENIUS? Surely there’s something WRONG with your STUPID TEST!”

But then I sat with it for a while. When the Gifted One told the Above Average One that he/she was gifted and sibling wasn’t, Above Average dissented with confidence. “I am, too!”

And you know what? He/She is RIGHT. Atta…. Kid.

THEY are. Both of them in their own unique, beautiful and amazing ways. One may leave class and get cooler academic experiences while one stays behind in the “Above Average” reading group.

So what?

There are a million variables that make us all individuals. And yes, there is a test that quantifies one modicum of that individuality. But I’m not going to tell you one of my twins is NOT gifted or talented.

I’m simply going to say that one fish is more of a climber. The other one is a kick butt swimmer.

gifted and talented

Modeling Mistakes: Teaching a Life Skill

Mistakes happen. We all make them.

As a kid, I don’t remember explicitly learning how to deal with them. I do remember a few key mistakes I hid from my parents. When I was about seven or eight, I touched the chimney starter heating up on our barbecue. The resulting burn was a white-hot blister in seconds. My regret was almost as immediate. I knew I shouldn’t have done it, and I didn’t want to face my parents’ reaction. So instead I bandaged it in the bathroom and hid it until it healed. I faced the week of pain all on my own.

Worth the Embarrassment

I have told my kids this story a few times. On the surface, it serves as a cautionary tale to not touch hot things. The real reason I tell them, however, is because I want them to talk to me about their mistakes. I tell them of how I felt when I hurt myself because I chose to not heed something I had been told and knew better than to do. I mostly felt embarrassed and worried that my parents wouldn’t trust me anymore. This opened a discussion on what my kids think would have happened. Both believe that if I had told, my parents would have helped me and they would have seen that I had learned that lesson the hard way. I hope this means that they know that is exactly how I would react to their hard-learned lessons. That we can learn from mistakes and move on.

Let Them Learn from Your Mistakes

Next time you make a mistake, talk about it. Did you forget to return someone’s text or phone call? Forget to buy something at the store? These are easily made common mistakes without big consequences, which make them the perfect teachable moment! Admitting your mistakes is not easy, but reframing it for yourself, as teaching an important life skill to your kids, might make it easier. These skills are important to our children’s emotional intelligence, and something necessary if we want to raise adults who are ready for adulthood.

Express Emotions

To start, how do you feel when you make a mistake? This could range from embarrassment and annoyance to anger. Giving a vocabulary to your feelings is a skill that kids need to move from their feelings to a solution. Let them know whatever they are feeling is okay.

Find a Solution

So, how do you fix this mistake? It could be as simple as giving an apology to the person you forgot to contact. Maybe you need to go back to the store to get what you forgot. Let your kids see your process. Let them see you walk through the solution. Sometimes a mistake doesn’t have a solution, such as a missed deadline to rsvp or sign up for an event. In that case, discuss how you feel living with that natural consequence of missing out.

Keep Talking

The most important thing in this process is that you are talking to your kids.Letting them see how you process and deal with real life. Modeling the behavior we want to see is the key. Show them how to be the kind of human being we want them to be. This is how we raise adults.

mistakes

Good Manners!

I put my kids in cotillion classes. If you are not familiar, it is a series of classes where they learn etiquette (manners and social skills) and dancing (like the foxtrot, waltz and merengue).

You might think “Eww.” Or “Snobby.” Or “Useless.”

I thought it would be uber-cute, but mostly fluffy. When my daughter was in 3rd grade, I enrolled her mostly because I thought it would be cute and the thought of her dressed up wearing white gloves was just too adorable to not try it once. I was certain I would only enroll her for one year. I mean, how much can kids learn about manners at that age anyway?

A lot more than I expected.

This is our 4th year. And I now have enrolled my son, as well. Cotillion classes are held all over the country, probably more often in the South. There are varying approaches and different curriculums depending on the program.

At the cotillion that my children have attended, the evening starts with the children proceeding through a reception line of adult chaperones to shake their hands and practice introductions. After the receiving line, the kids are paired into couples to walk to a seat. They wait for the next couple to arrive next to them before they sit down. And then the lessons in social skills and dancing begin.

I was not sold at first, but after several weeks, I was struck by the number of social skills my kids were practicing. Screens, and many huge changes in how we interact with each other in our communities, have decreased the opportunities for kids to work on interpersonal skills. Cotillion was a great place to practice.

So here are (a few of) my reasons why I think cotillion is so valuable:

  1. Introductions. They learn how to introduce themselves, and introduce someone else.
  2. Handshakes. They learn how to look someone in the eye and give them a sincere handshake.
  3. Conversations. They spend most of the evening looking other people in the eye, making conversation and practicing how to listen and respond.
  4. Manners. They learn that using their good manners are should always be used to make other people comfortable around you, and good manners are never used to point out something about someone else that you think is bad manners. (I really like this point!)
  5. Dancing. Can I mention how much I like the dancing? I could go on and on… a lost skill, a lost art. And watching my 9 year old do the foxtrot is so darn charming. But how is it relevant to our day and age? I have put some thought into that. It is a social interaction. Kids having real face time in the era of Facetime is good for them. They work on what I would call social “micro-skills” – paying attention to someone’s expressions, responding appropriately, taking turns talking and listening, and communicating about the dance you are doing together. These are good for kids brains, bodies and their social skills. You do not get that on a screen.
  6. Eye contact. When introducing yourself, when speaking or listening, and while dancing is just so important. It is the cornerstone of relating to anyone on the planet.
  7. Social problem solving (in a controlled setting). Who to introduce first? How to navigate multiple dance partners? What should I ask this person in order to have a friendly conversation? They have to figure it out and repeat throughout each class.
  8. “Silent” soft skills. They learn to follow a dress code, show up on time, wait for others and listen.

In short, they are learning why manners matter

It is simple stuff, really. But in our age of omnipresent screens, it seems like kids do not get to practice social skills as much as they did in the past. This experience has made me more aware of the situations in which my kids are able to really work on their social and interpersonal skills – like youth group, volunteering, or Scouting.

I pay more attention to how they interact with others than I did before, and we have a framework to talk about social situations. It has been a great opportunity for great discussion.

And I still like the gloves.

manners

The Gift of Quarantine

A few months ago, I wrote a piece where in it I staked my claim on carving out margin. Mothering older kids seems to be a constant battle of “what can I make time for today?” But now everything has been turned upside down. As we work together to flatten the curve, the uphill battle towards margin seems almost nonexistent. Those of us who don’t work in the healthcare industry or other essential occupations are just home in quarantine.

We are tasked with homeschooling our children and the calendar is cleared of sports, meetings, performances, and travel… for now. And because none of us know how long this could last, I realized the other day what a gift this is.

Giving the Gift of Quarantine

I know it can seem an odd thing to say this time is a gift when many are ill and some have even succumbed to the virus. But hear me out. It’s hard to feel we are doing much good just quarantining our families. When there is a crisis, we normally roll up our sleeves and get in there and do something. And this feels opposite of doing something.

While we pray for those who are indeed affected by the virus, and we await news that our quarantine efforts are not in vain, this is the best way to help right now. Not only is this time a gift to us (which I’ll explain next), but it is a gift to others. To our grandparents. To the immunocompromised. And to the doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers who are tirelessly working to care for those infected. Your gift is seen, and it is not in vain. Thank you for giving the gift of quarantine.

Most of us are the “regular” people the quarantine is affecting. We are home just living life, wondering what to do next, and figuring out how to be a teacher, counselor, mom — and stay positive in the midst of it all. Even Jimmy Fallon, Ellen DeGeneres, Jim Gaffigan, and many other celebrities seem to be more “normal” right now. They’re home just doing their thing without an audience or fanfare, still trying to work and stay sane.

It’s All New

Some of us might even be struggling with anxiety, depression, or even just being an extrovert who has been robbed of time with people. We may be in the middle of this thinking “how will I get through?” You walk into Costco and you can see it on everyone’s faces. The uncertainty. I saw a post written by one of my favorite authors Emily P Freeman and she said “none of us has ever done this before” and I thought that’s so wise, and so true. Even though you and I may fumble through this time a bit because it’s all new, I have a hunch that we will look back at this time and think a few unexpected thoughts.

When my second set of twins were in the NICU, I couldn’t see two hours ahead of me. Life.was.tough. Not only did we live an hour from the hospital, but our house was on the market and I was recovering from being in the hospital myself for a month. I don’t remember a lot of specific details of those long, dark days. But as I look back, now almost 5 years later I’m surprised by something, I sort of miss those days. I don’t miss the uncertainty or the darkest hours. I miss the sense of honing in on what is most important. Of recognizing my own weakness, and focusing on what matters most. The extra just faded away and I prayed often and drew close to my family.

Do you have an experience like that? A tough circumstance that is now behind you and you find yourself missing the opportunity to take in life a little differently? I see myself already looking back on this time of quarantine in the same way.

The Gift of Rest

We have been given a rare gift. Our culture is all about hustle, go-go-go. We view the rest as weakness. But now? We are advised to rest for the good of others. All the extra has been pushed aside. We have the time to declutter, scrub the floors, pull the weeds, read the books, make the crafts, play the games, and have the conversations. You can send the texts, organize the emails, take the walks, watch the shows, mend the pants, and paint the walls. You can draw close to the people within those walls and remind them of the gift they are.

Yes, there will be days when it feels more like punishment than a gift. But take hope in the next day. As Anne of Green Gables says “tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.” Who knows how long this gift will last? Let’s not spend it panic buying and fretting. Let’s spend these days slowing down, being intentional spending time with our families, checking off tasks that we often push aside, and reminding those closest to us that we see them and they matter.

Don’t miss unwrapping the gift of quarantine.

quarantine

Coffee Dates with Friends Over the Phone

Do you have a friend (or a few) that you just love to chat with? That friend that you have a lot in common with – where conversation is never lacking. I recently received a message from a friend like this, asking if I wanted to chat over coffee. Of course, I did! I love to talk with her because we do have so much in common – work, our daughters are close in age, and we both are military spouses. Conversation is always easy, and I walk away feeling heard, understood, and supported. Unfortunately, we don’t live just a few doors down from each other anymore and meeting up to chat over lunch or coffee isn’t always a possibility. But that hasn’t stopped our conversations. Now we meet for “coffee over the phone.”

An Hour of Joy

We spent over an hour on the phone — me sipping coffee and her tea — venting about ridiculous things our husbands did, our parenting struggles, and our questions and fears over the future. We gave each other advice on how to handle our current situations with work and neighbors, and of course we laughed… a lot! I hung up the phone, full of coffee and a renewed joy and energy to face the rest of my week.

I needed a “coffee date over the phone.”

Life has been nothing short of hectic and emotionally draining lately. I’ve been juggling the usual work life balance, with a potential military move in a few months. Now, we’ve added the coronavirus pandemic, new work schedules and school closings. I really couldn’t justify adding an outing – even coffee with a friend — to my list. But, this… I can do this! I can enjoy a cup of coffee in my comfy clothes and messy bun (in my even messier house) and chat with a good friend.

The Simple Phone Call

I truly believe there’s something about that actual phone call that has been lost over the years. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love text messaging. It’s quick, convenient, and non-threatening. I’ll admit, it’s usually my “go-to” for communicating. But sometimes, a text just won’t do. I need to hear my friend’s belly laughs and ridiculous impersonations. I need to hear her voice to grasp the sadness or anxiety she feels over the difficult situations she is facing. And I need her to hear the emotion behind my words, too.

So, when an in-person coffee or lunch won’t work, the phone call is the next best thing! It may seem antiquated and time consuming, but it really can soothe what troubles the heart.

In this current situation, while we are practicing social distancing – remember our soul doesn’t have to. Take the perspective that this is time to enjoy the slow down. Celebrate family time doing some of the things you love, but don’t always find time to do. Sort that closet that you keep putting off, but you know you will feel better once you get it done. And by all means, don’t forget to make time for coffee dates over the phone with good friends.

Call that friend that makes you laugh, cry, and love life all over again. The one that lives just down the street or the one that is 1000 miles away. Sip coffee, tea, or a glass of wine…share what’s on your heart and let that coffee date over the phone refresh your soul.

coffee date

A Local Food Guide: Colorado Springs Favorites

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This is the final post in a three-part series about buying local food. The other pieces are titled "Why I Quit the Supermarket" and "How To Buy Local Food."

I can’t tell you all about local food without sharing information about some of Colorado Springs’ favorite farms, right? 

This list isn’t comprehensive. It’s meant to get you started with some of our city’s favorite food producers, so you have a higher chance of success on your local food journey! 

Market + Produce + Milk + Honey

Meat + Eggs

Breads + Grains

Grow Your Own Garden

Love for Local Food

Thanks for reading along with this local food series! I hope it’s given you inspiration to enjoy and explore food in the kitchen with your families, and to discover how wonderful it is to know your local farmers. 

This is the third piece in a series. Read the other two posts here: Why I Quit the Supermarket and How to Buy Local Food.

local food

How to Buy Local Food

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I decided to quit the supermarket and felt inspired. Then I googled “Colorado Springs farms” and found almost nothing. A few different google searches, still nothing. So I learned to approach this the old-fashioned way: via people. I felt like an outsider at first, but quickly realized I was just as welcome as anyone else because when it comes to local food, we’re all invited.

Buying food locally looks different from buying in the store, so I’ve written this post to help you make the jump a little easier.

Where to Start

Farmers markets are a great place to start. Until you’ve found your trusted farmer, ask questions. Just because a person has a market booth doesn’t make them a farmer. Find out if they grew the food they’re selling, where their farm is, and their farming philosophy (ideally you want no pesticides, good soil care, pasture-raised animals). It also helps if you like them. I met most of my food producers at farmers markets and now contact them directly when I need something.

Think through your social networks. Know anyone who’s a little crunchy? Ask them to connect you to their local sources, and soon you’ll have a nice little network of your own. 

Facebook is also a good source. Many farms don’t have good websites, but they may have a Facebook page where they post information. The local Weston A. Price chapter FB group maintains a list of local farms and an active community of local food people.

How to Afford It

Cost is the biggest objection to buying locally. The reality is, there is a way to do it that will work for your budget. If you’re willing to get creative and maybe get your hands dirty, you can do it. 

First, I’d suggest buying in bulk. We buy our meat once or twice a year and fill the freezer in our garage. Per pound, it’s grocery store prices for remarkably greater quality meat. Buying a whole animal gets you the best price, so if you don’t need that much meat, but can recruit enough people to split it with you, you can get the amount you need at the best price. With the whole animal you also get the organs, bones (for broth), and fat that can be rendered and used for cooking fat. 

We also bought fruit and vegetables in bulk during the summer and preserved them. 

Second, some local farmers are willing to exchange food for volunteer hours. Others have donation programs or accept SNAP benefits. 

Third, grow and make your own. The most affordable food comes from your own yard, your own kitchen, made with your own two hands. I’m hoping to start a small vegetable garden this year, and raise chickens next year. Friends have given me a SCOBY for kombucha, kefir grains for kefir, and sourdough starter for bread. The cost is often in the time it takes to learn how to make these things. That may be a huge leap from where you are today, but if it interests you, know you will ease into it over time.

The Logistics

Here’s the inconvenient news for moms: There is no one-stop shop for local food.

I know. It’s less convenient than the supermarket, and there’s no way around it. But small changes in mindset and values go a long way in what we’re willing — and even happy — to do. Here’s the better news: some farmers deliver to your door! And if they don’t deliver, many offer an in-town pickup spot. 

I pick up milk and bread together on Saturday, and veggies on Friday. In the summer, we go to our favorite farmers market once a week, or twice if we can’t resist. I meet my beekeeper in a nearby parking lot every few months and pay him in cash for honey. And four or five times a year, I make the 20-minute drive all the way to Twisted Pines Farm in Black Forest, where I get some eggs and all my meat.

We live in Colorado, so I can’t buy all my food from local producers, but I do the best I can. When I can’t buy directly from farmers, I shop at smaller grocers like Mountain Mama or Natural Grocers. 

Start Small

Before you start thinking I don’t understand mom life, that convenience is how we survive, I need to say that’s exactly why local food has such an appeal to me. I craved simplicity, beauty, curiosity and understanding in my kitchen. I wanted to know more about my food. I was tired of some anonymous person deciding what my family should eat and putting it in a flashy package that I could warm up on my stove. I craved meaningful connection with people, and the supermarket simply couldn’t offer that.

This discussion is, at its heart, a discussion on values. 

Making these changes can quickly lead to overwhelm. We see how much we may want to change, and each change requires thought and planning. But just start with one thing. Choose one thing to buy locally and see how it goes. Promise yourself to only take on what you can handle at one time, knowing the rest is there, patiently waiting until you’re ready.

This is the second part in a three-part series. Read the other two pieces here: Why I Quit the Supermarket and A Local Food Guide: Colorado Springs Favorites.

local food

This is the second post in a three-part series about buying local food. The other two pieces are titled: "Why I Quit the Supermarket" and "A Local Food Guide: Colorado Springs Favorites."

Why I Quit the Supermarket

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Maybe you love the supermarket. Maybe you hate it. Or maybe you haven’t thought about it. It’s just where we have to go to buy our food, right? No matter how you feel, I’m going to share another option with you.

To me, the supermarket means decision fatigue, dodging disgruntled shoppers, wondering whether coupons or double points is the better deal, then realizing I left my coupons at home. Translating the labels, certifications and marketing claims, and then of course, deciding what to do about ingredients I don’t recognize. All the while, never knowing for sure whether I’m actually feeding my family what I think I’m feeding them. It all feels like a silly game. A necessary evil. 

The Power of Food

Since marrying my husband six years ago, I’ve paid more attention to the quality of food we eat. I’ve studied how the body works and how the quality of the food we eat works either for or against us. Food can heal or food can damage; the difference is in the quality. Knowing that, I began buying organic food at the grocery store, and we upped our food budget to accommodate it. I believed it was worth it. 

Then I learned about soil, and how the health of the soil determines the nutrient-density of the food, which determines whether we’re feeding our bodies nutrition or not. I knew that much of the non-organic (conventional) food contains harmful ingredients or residue from pesticides, but I didn’t know that organic supermarket food was grown in similar ways to conventional farming. It’s grown in mass quantities without much concern for soil health. In other words, I was avoiding the bad stuff, but also wasn’t necessarily getting the good stuff that our bodies need to thrive.

And if you don’t know where the meat on supermarket shelves comes from, I’d strongly encourage you to look into how those animals are raised, what they’re fed and how frequently they have to be medicated just to stay alive. 

I also learned that many of the food brands sold in the supermarket are owned by the same people that own many of the biggest pharmaceutical and medical brands. This is brilliant for business, but maybe not for my family’s health.  

Local Farmers

I didn’t enjoy the supermarket. And then I realized the quality of the food wasn’t necessarily what I thought I was getting, so I had my out. I began the hunt for local farmers who had a different approach and was surprised to find that Colorado Springs has many farmers who practice regenerative farming. This means they focus on soil health and understand the importance of ecological diversity and clean growing practices for a healthy planet, healthy food, healthy quality of life, and most importantly, healthy people. 

For every dollar spent on food in the grocery store, the farmer who grew it earns fourteen cents. For every dollar spent on food directly from a local farmer, that farmer earns one whole dollar. Isn’t it in our best interest to keep farmers in business? Can you imagine how robust and self-sufficient our city would be if most of us bought at least some of our food from a local provider? In times of crisis, we’d be calm.

This transition is not easy to make, but it is doable. It takes work, and it is good, worthwhile work. In the next post, I’ll share ideas on how to go local, and then I’ll share some favorite local farms! 

supermarket

This post is the first in a three-part series about buying local food. The other two pieces are titled: "How To Buy Local Food" and "A Local Food Guide: Colorado Springs Favorites." Enjoy!

8 Ways To Exercise with Kids

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I’m going to be real with you, it’s hard to go to the gym consistently (or even at all). But we can still exercise — even with kids and jobs and crazy schedules.  It takes effort and hard work, which is no surprise, however, I believe fitness and health are for everyone.

Remember, anything good and beautiful is worth fighting for, which most definitely includes yourself and your family.

Be spontaneous and sneak it in during various points of your day, or be organized and block out the time, or just get into a rhythm of moving before every meal. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. Have fun with it because the more you enjoy it, the more you’ll want to make it part of your every day.

8 Tips on how to Exercise with Kids!

Dance Breaks

Turn the tunes up and get your groove on. Go big or go home! (Bonus points if you turn it into a dance competition).

Bedtime Yoga

The best way to calm down for bedtime is some deep breathing and stretching. Get everyone involved and it could become a fun family tradition. (Extra tip: Dim the lights and turn on some twinkly lights to set the mood and make it feel special.)

Work Hard, Play Hard

The playground is one of the best places to exercise no matter how old you are! Have you ever run around a playground, climbed up and down slides endlessly for hours? It’s exhausting and truly impressive that our kids do it. Why not join them? You can also set up obstacle courses for kids, play tag, kick or throw a ball around, and use the playground equipment to aid your personal workout. You can use stairs to jump on, a park bench for step up, and bars and slides for pushups and triceps dips. 

Bathroom Workout

This one is probably my favorite. Every time your kids (or you) use the restroom, do 20 squats or 10 pushups. You will be amazed how many reps you get in every day! Have your kids join in on the fun too! Have them do 3 big jump squats after they’re done or chose one of their favorite exercises. 

Strap Em’ In

This may not be a favorite for kids, but it definitely is great exercise for the parents! Buckle them up in a bike trailer or stroller and hit the pavement! They are safe, getting fresh air, and you know exactly where they are — what could be better? This allows you to have a mental break and give your body a much needed workout. End your workout at a park and let the fun and fitness continue!

Make It a Game

Who needs sandbags, dumbbells, or kettlebells when you have kids? Pick them up and go to town! Or get low! See how many squats you can do (or however many they will let you do) while holding them! The workout may not last long, but the laughter will linger in your heart. Race each other, see who can skip and jump the highest and count how many times you can run up and down the stairs. Pull out childhood memories of games you played like Red Rover, freeze tag, hopscotch, hide and seek, kickball and Simon Says. The fun and opportunities are endless! 

Hike

Our beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains are calling and you must go! (You and your family, that is.) Hiking backpacks and hardy strollers are a great investment. Again, anything that allows you to (nicely) buckle up your kids so you can enjoy quality time and get some exercise in, is a worth the investment (in my opinion). You can’t put a price on adventure, although some outdoor equipment stores may disagree with that. There are so many local family-friendly hikes like Garden of the gods, Black Forest Park, and Fox Run Park. 

Channel Your Inner Ninja

Sometimes you have to sneak in workouts during school, nap time, bath time, or whenever you can! Write down a few short body weight workouts for the day and do them when you can and wherever you can! There is nothing wrong with short bursts — your heart rate still gets up, you will still get results, you will still get the credit, you still deserve an award, and you are still awesome! (Okay, pep talk done.) Along with this, pursue opportunities to move more naturally throughout the day. Park in the furthest parking spot instead of snagging one in the front row, take family walks around the neighborhood, complete homework outside, or do yard work as a family. Sneaking fitness into your family routine is one of the best gifts you can give them. 

Exercise = Happy, Healthy Families

Our kids don’t need perfect moms, they need happy and healthy ones. Creating an atmosphere of laughter, love, movement, and adventure is one of the best gifts we can give our families. Prioritizing health and fitness is a powerful legacy. 

Lastly, here is are some of my favorite bodyweight exercises! Combine a few of these and get your sweat on! 

Lower Body:

  • Squats
  • Sumo Squats
  • Lunges
  • Side Lunges
  • Bulgarian Squats
  • Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts
  • Single Leg Squats

Upper Body:

  • Pushups
  • Dips
  • Supermans

Core:

  • Situps
  • V-Ups
  • Hollow Rocks
  • Planks
  • Side Planks
  • Plank Jacks
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Reverse Crunches

Total Body:

  • Burpees
  • Sprawls
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Mountain Climbers 

It is not always easy to hit the gym or even complete a full workout at home with kids around, but it is easy to add exercise throughout your day. 

exercise kids

Mommy Needs a Moment! Best Kids Activities To Give You Time…

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We heard you mamas! And I am right there with you. It is a difficult juggling act balancing homeschool, work, and doing all the things we do to keep our kiddos alive!  Sometimes, we just need a moment. So I am here to share my all-time favorite kids activities that are guaranteed to give you time! Time to focus on work, teach a child or just make lunch.  Each activity is done independently so you can have time to get things done! 

Fun Kids Activities To Give You Time

PODCASTS

Put on a podcast and turn up the volume.  These podcasts are certain to grab your kiddos’ attention!  While they are listening, go check off some items on YOUR to-do list!

  • Smash Boom Best – My kids’ favorite podcast! A battle between two fierce items that kids can vote on who is the BEST!!
  • Brains On! Science Podcast for Kids – Fascinating stories around science. 
  • Camp Monsters – Camping stories brought to you through REI. WARNING: Though these are great camping stories, you might want to preview which one before letting our kids listen.  My 9-year-old was scared by some stories, while my 7-year-old enjoyed them all. 
  • Story Pirates – Do your kids love pirates? Do your kids love stories of adventure?  This is such a fun podcast with great stories!
  • Little Stories For Tiny People – Great stories for the littles in your life!
  • What If World – What a creative podcast that answers all your kids questions of “what if…..”

KIDS HUB

Let someone else teach your kids to draw.  They range from simple to more complicated. My kids will sit for hours drawing one picture after another.  Maybe even buy a few white poster board papers and have your child draw an entire scene! It could take them days to complete!

TOOTHPICKS AND GUMDROPS

Who knew toothpicks and gumdrops could be so entertaining!  Throw a huge pile of both on a table and tell your kids to build something. They can be taken apart and rebuilt over and over again!

ICE CUBE GUMMY BEARS

Throw some gummy bears in an ice tray, fill with water and freeze.  Give each child a bowl of warm water and a spoon and let them one at a time unfreeze the gummy bear.  And of course, they can eat them!! It can take several minutes per ice cube!! 12 ice cubes X 4 minutes = time for you mama!

BAKING SODA AND VINEGAR

Ok… this one can be messy, so if cleaning up a mess is just too much right now, you might want to skip this one.  Cover a cookie sheet with baking soda and in different bowls make colored vinegar (use food coloring). Kids can use spoons or eye droppers to place the vinegar on the baking soda.  MAGIC!!!!!

Life Is Tough Right Now

I know things are really tough right now. We are all trying to do our best. I hope these kids activities can give you a little time to focus on what you need to. Mama, you’ve got this! We will get through this together.

Kids activities

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