Supplies You Need For a Long Car Trip.


‘Tis the season for long car trips.  You thought they were over when summer ended didn’t you?  Nope, now it’s holidays with the relatives. How long will you be in the car?  How many kids will you have with you?  What are their ages?  Will pets be with you?  Other relatives?

  1. Car charger, lets face it,  I pads and I pods  and everything else in between use up a lot of power. They are the new babysitter whether we like it or not.  For long car trips they are a life saver.
  2. Tissues/Paper Towel.  Kids spill stuff.  Keep your car clean by stocking some paper towel or tissues for spills.
  3. Snacks. Individually packaged of course.  When the kids get upset they are probably hungry.  Throw a few snacks their direction.
  4. Drinks in a cooler. What are snacks without something to wash it down?
  5. Change of Clothes. People spill things on themselves, it gets hot, kids pee themselves, and so on.  A quick change of clothes is never wasted.
  6. Notebook/Pen. You are always thinking of stuff to do, people to contact, chores to do etc.  Write it down!  Let your child draw, exchange info in a traffic accident, draw a map, the possibilities are endless.
  7. Wipes. I keep these in my car year round.  I have two types of wipes.  Once is a wet ones hand wipe.  I use it after I pump gas or go shopping.  Yuck germs. Then I have a windex wipes to keep the car clean as well.
  8. Change. While most places take a credit card, change still is widely used at parking meters, vending machines etc.
  9. Music. If you have ever gone on long car trips before you know where I am going for this.  Certain parts of the country have horrible musical selections!  Satellite Radio is a gift from the gods!  Just remember to print out a channel guide.

Happy Traveling!

Family · Uncategorized

How to Celebrate Saint Nick’s Day.


Have you ever celebrated Saint Nikolas Day on December 6th?

Growing up in Southeastern Wisconsin in a German family it was celebrated every year. I’d go to school on the 6th and everyone would discuss what Saint Nick had brought them. It was a very big deal.  However, when I moved to another Upper Midwest state no one had ever heard of it.  Here is briefly the story of Saint Nikolas of Myra or jolly old Saint Nick.

The story of Saint Nikolas starts with a real person Saint Nikolas of Myra (270-346 AD) in modern day Turkey.  Nikolas was known for many good works, among which was giving gold to families in their stockings or shoes put by the fireplace or front door.

To commemorate Saint Nick’s generous nature, every year, on December 5th (evening) children put their stockings out for a visit from a more jovial form of the Saint.

In addition to cities with a strong German influence like Milwaukee, the holiday is celebrated by the Catholic and Episcopalian religions, and descendants with Polish, German, Dutch, and Ukrainian heritage.

Typical things left in the stockings include fruit, chocolate coins, and a small gift.  For my stockings, I would put my list for Santa inside the night before and Saint Nick would take it to Santa and leave a few presents to tide me over till the holiday.  The good children receive treats and the bad get nothing or coal.

For my own son I have also kept the tradition of St. Nick.  It’s a fun, magical time for little ones.  While you can have the day be a more religious one, a secular one is also acceptable.  I try to incorporate my German heritage into the holiday season when I can.

My husband once accused me of making up the holiday so I could buy my son more presents!  Nope.  It’s real.  I had to print out articles from the internet to prove it.  Even some of my Catholic friends said it wasn’t a real holiday – until their priest presented it!  I remember giving them a hard time that they are now celebrating a “consumer” holiday.  Of course now they just argue that it is religious one.  Do you celebrate Saint Nicks or do you keep your stockings for Santa on Christmas?




10 Great Children’s Books.


I love to read!  I mean LOVE to read!  I have always tried to pass on this love of reading to my son.  I’ve always told him I will buy him as much reading material as possible.  Video games, however, are a different story.  He has to pay for those himself!  He either earns the money through chores or uses money he gets from the holidays.  My personal favorite is when he asks me to come up with a chore that is worth $25.00.  I say to him if there is a chore out there for $25.00, I’m going to do it and keep the money!

We have always had books.  Since Christmas is coming up I’m going to start posting lists of books that children would love.  Giving literature is always a great idea!  So let’s start:

  1. Go Dog Go by Eastman. A short but sweet book about a dog that goes!  Great for a toddler.
  2. Galaxy Zach by O’Ryan (series). This is a great series about a young boy who moves to another planet and goes on many adventures.  Great for 3-5th grades.
  3. Mercy Watson by DiCamillo (series).  If you get one series, get this one.  I bought a set for my son’s second grade teacher.  The students all loved this book.  The even stopped reading a different book when I gave them book 5 of the series.  They wanted to read from this series right away.  Even as an adult I love the story.  I wish the writer Kate DiCamillo would write more about this porcine wonder.
  4. The Giving Tree by Shel Silversteen.  Another great classic book.  A simple but beautiful story about giving and taking geared towards all ages.
  5. The Velveteen  Rabbit by Williams.  This classic children’s book tells what it is like to love and be loved. This book made my son cry.  He then asked me to keep it and never get rid of it.  So this one goes in our permanent collection.
  6. Good Boy Fergus! by Shannon.  Another favorite of my son’s.  He loves the hi jinks of a lovable little dog named Fergus.
  7. No David! by Shannon. My son had to have this book read to him every night!  It’s a very short read, but funny.  David is always being told no by adults.  When you read the book, you’ll know why.
  8. Corduroy by Freeman.  Another great classic children’s book.  This is the story of a little teddy bear who is looking for a home. I read this as a child myself.  Still a great story.
  9. Matilda-by R. Dahl.  One of many great books by the famed children’s author Ronald Dahl. I love this one because of the strong female lead.  An inspiration to little girls everywhere.
  10. The Bear Snores On by Wilson/Chapman. (Series) This is a cute series of books about a bear who is trying to hibernate and his woodland friends.

I hope this list gives you some great ideas of future books for all the children in your life.  What are your favorite children’s books?  Tell us in the comments.


5 Manners 4 Kids


Manners are on the way out.  So it seems anyway.  What happened to basic decency? Shouldn’t manners just be common sense? I don’t know, but here is a reminder that manners are always in fashion.  They are actually a part of daily life. What manners should you be discussing with your children?  Listed below are five areas you can cover with your children to ensure they have good manners.

Here are five more manners for children to know.

  1. How to sit properly.  Sitting up, with good posture and leg placement is important.  Habits for sitting are established in childhood.  For children learning how to sit is going to take some time and practice. So be patient.  You are going to be giving lots of reminders!
  2. Keeping Promises. While keeping promises may not be part of “manners” it is part of your character.  Character, like manners, give people a picture of who you are.  Learning that what you say means something is never a wasted lesson.
  3. Saying “Excuse me” when walking in front of someone( like at the grocery store. ) You know what I mean, right?  You’re in the soup section trying to find a certain kind of soup in the endless sea of red and white Campbell’s cans.  Someone always walks in front of you.  I’d say I get an “excuse me” about half the time. A small gesture can go a long way!
  4. Asking to pet an animal.  Kids love animals.  Who hasn’t seen a cute dog in the park and wanted to pet it? Kids are no exception.  They see a dog, squeal and run up to it.  Some dogs or dog owners just don’t like that.  It can also be a safety issue. Some dogs don’t like strangers and could bite.  Learning how to approach an animal and it’s owner is not only good manners but being safety conscious too.
  5. When to stand up.  Sounds silly doesn’t it? Everyone knows when to stand right?  Not necessarily.  Knowing when to stand for the Pledge of Alliance or the National Anthem is one thing, knowing when to stand for an introduction, hello, goodbyes, and in various ceremonies takes time.  Make sure you help you child to understand the when and the why of standing up.



Top 10 Date Night Ideas


Sometimes I think I should have called my blog “The Ten List.”  I am always doing lists that have ten items on it!  I hope you don’t get sick of me and my lists!

  1. Comedy Club.  Get on the mailing lists of several local comedy clubs. You will be able to find new comedians for you and your significant other can enjoy.  Go to an open mic night even.
  2. Theater.  My spouse and I are on all the mailing lists of several local theaters.  We always find out about great new plays and events that are not normally promoted.
  3. Go To A Unique Sporting Event. Been to a Curling competition? How about Lawn Bowling? When was the last time you went to a Soccer game?  Check with your local high school or college.  Look for leagues in your area.
  4. A Museum.  Okay, most people know to go to a museum but which museum?  Is there one or two main museums that you always go to?  Look for different, smaller museums and non-traditional displays at other landmarks. You might find a gem.unsplash36
  5. Try A New Workout. Athletic couple? There are so many gyms that now offer a free class to try out the location.  Tried Barre Fitness?  Pilates? Find an area of fitness you haven’t done and go together.
  6. Community Education.  Does your area offer Community Education?  Does the local Y offer classes?  Take one and try it out.  My local Community Education offers a variety of classes in cooking, furniture repair, art and more.  Gain a skill that you don’t have and have fun.
  7. Go Fly a Kite.  When was the last time you used an actual kite?  Were you a kid? There are some great adult style kits that you can pick up.
  8.  Go to a Wine Tasting.  Wine bars or new brew houses often have tasting events you can attend.
  9. Have a Home Spa Night. Who is going to say no to a massage?
  10. Go on a picnic.  Make some new food or order from you favorite gourmet food place.

What is your traditional date night?  How can you change it and make it unique? Tell me in the comments.


5 Manners 4 Kids


One of my features I have been doing on this blog is a short list of five manners that kids can be taught.  Part of this is in response to raising my own son.  I am always thinking “Am I raising my child right?” or “What have I not done for him?”.  Manners are one of the things that feel are passing by the wayside.  In addition, manners today vary widely from place to place and family to family.

  1. Making eye contact.  This is a hard manner for people who are shy.  My own son “E” is painfully shy.  He has trouble making eye contact.  We always make the effort to remind him.
  2. Using correct grammar.  What I mean by this is saying “I have to” instead of  “I hafta.”
  3. Vocal tone. When they are pre-teens they always have that exasperated tones.
  4. Writing a friendly letter. Just the basics.
  5. A Basic table setting. A little better than dumping the forks and knives in the center!

Sometimes manners are just basic.  Not overly complex but easy to remember. It’s a great place for kids to start.