Thursday, March 26, 2020

BInge Worthy TV Shows during Coronavirus-19 2020

I think the most popular non-virus related Social Media posts have been, "What TV shows are you watching??"  Everyone is needing some new (and old) shows to watch while being stuck inside!  I know we all have different tastes, but here are a few good ones most people say are worth the watch! (Side note, sigh, for our home we usually have to wait until the kids go to bed since most are MA, or R-Rated. Unless I can sneak off to my bedroom during 'rest time'!)


1) Morning Show: Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell and Reese Witherspoon star in a show loosely based on the Matt Lauer scandal on the Today Show.  It's a really good series!  If you don't have Apple TV,  if you've bought any Apple product in the past year and redeem within 90 days, you can have it for free or pay 5$ a month.

2) Making It  on NBC.  Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman is a show about a competition series reuniting two of pop culture's biggest BFF's and celebrating reativity and craftiness.  

3) At Home with Amy Sedaris on Tru Tv (on cable, YouTube TV, etc).  It's a 30 minute sitcom  based on comedian Amy Sedaris as it focus' on her housewife and crafting skills.

4) The Stranger on Netflix.  I've heard great things about this show, and can't wait to watch it! It's about a family mystery surrounding a husband and a shocking revelation about his wife!

5) I Am Not Okay with This on Netflix, I haven't had a chance to watch this one, but here's the description: Angsty Syd navigates high school awkwardness, family drama and an unrequited crush on her best friend while trying to rein in her budding superpowers.

6) Pharmacist on Netflix.  I haven't watched this one yet but it's about a Louisiana pharmacist who exposes a corruption behind the opioid addiction crisis after his son passes away. 

7) Cheer on Netflix.  A documentary of 6 episodes on the Navarro Junior College Cheer Squad. Based in a small town in Texas, it follows a cheer team as they prepare for the National Competition.  I love all of the characters on the show, and all of the drama!

8) Schitt's Creek (It's an old one, but so worth getting into!) Netflix. Starring Eugene Levy, Catherine O' Hara and Eugene's son and is hilarious! It's a 30 minute sitcom, so it's perfect when you don't have a full hour to watch a show.

9) Tiger King on Netflix.  This is a crazy docuseries about a big cat zoo owner who apparently spirals out of control on a murder-for-hire story.  It's definitely a crazy story! Worth the train wreck.  On a side note,  I once took my kids to an Exotic Cat farm out in the country, when my youngest was obsessed with tigers and lions.  It was quite an experience (and I missed getting sprayed at by inches by a tiger)!  But this farm was dedicated to helping rehabilitate big cats who were owned by US home owners and had been abused :(

10) Modern Love on Amazon Prime.  30 minute episodes on love starring some pretty big name actors like Tina Fey, Anne Hathaway, etc.  Some are funny and some are actually a little sad.

11) Fleabag on Amazon Prime is a comedy, about a single dry-witted single girl living in London, written and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge.  I haven't seen it yet but it's' on my list!

12) Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime.  I've seen the first 2 seasons and can't wait to catch up on the 3rd. It's about a divorced Jewish woman living in the 1950's living in NYC, as she discovers her new talent as a comedian!  Hilarious and well written and acted, no wonder it's won several Emmy's.

13) Working Moms on Netflix is a comedy series about 4 working moms and life after having kids!

14) Love is Blind on Netflix. A Bachelor type dating show but more real life and not scripted. I haven't seen this one either but I'm adding it to my list!

Okay let the TV watching begin!  Are there any new shows out there I'm missing?? 
Monday, March 23, 2020

Online Resources and Activities for Kids during Coronavirus-19

Okay, so it's day 1 for us new homeschoolers, back from our so-called 'Spring Break', whew!  Last week was something out of a science fiction novel, but we survived and I am staying positive, trying to enjoy the stress-free week of not running around to school, activities and the 'hurrying' that we do on a daily basis!  I've found a few fun online sites to help us all navigate the coming weeks we are all out of school!

Also, scroll down to the bottom and you will see a great schedule a homeschool mom posted on Facebook, makes it feel a lot better at this homeschool thing....

Storytime:  A few ideas for kids to listen to stories online

1) Josh Gad (Olaf) reading storybooks to kids on Twitter here

2) Brightly Storytime is reading books to children on You Tube here

3) Audible is having free access to books so kids to listen to stores, click here!


Art Lessons: These are all great art activities for kids of all ages

1) Mo Willems (author of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and Piggie and Gerald stories) does doodling lessons here:

2) Children's Author and Illustrator has drawing classes here: (For older kids)

3) McHarper Manor has art lessons daily on YouTube here from watercolors, painting a sloth and clay/play-doh

4) How to draw cartoons with How to Toon here

5) Boca Raton Museum of Art has some amazing art lessons you can download here

6) You can tour the MET of New York on a virtual tour here

7) The Art Institute of Chicago (Bueller anyone?) has a lot of paintings you can visit online here!

8) Raising Wonder is offering daily art activities. Last week she did one on building a town and art lessons for drawing people, buildings, planets, etc. and this week she is making puppets!


Music and Lessons:

1) Music classes with Jam with Jamie here

2) Union Square is offering music videos for young children and lessons as well here

3) Broadway is showing 15 musicals for free here from Cats, Peter Pan and Newsies!



Academics:

1)  Scholastic Books is offering a lot of at home learning resources and videos grouped by grade level here and they have some really cool ones put together!

2) This one is a little overwhelming as there is A LOT of resources listed, but a great thorough list!
This You Tube page has a list of resources for different ages, all put together here for the CVirus-19

3) Tinkergarten is offering free DIY crafts and activities here.  You have to sign up with your email address first.

4) Crash Course has a lot of videos on STEM and History lessons here

5) Want a virtual tour of National Parks?  Click here for an amazing view


Fun:
1) Can't get to Disney World, click in the post of virtual rides your kids can watch and pretend they are really on them here

2) Amazon Prime is offering free streaming of kids videos here

Any other great resources, feel free to share!




Sunday, March 22, 2020

Kids Podcasts

With all of us trying to find new things to entertain our kids with besides TV, podcasts are a great way to fill the time.  Here are a few fun ones they can listen to on an iPad, your computer, phone and on Alexa!

1) Wow In the World Hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz guide curious kids and their grown-ups on a journey into the wonders of the world around them. They go inside  brains, out into space and deep into the coolest new stories in science and technology.


2) Stories Podcast: They perform a new story every week, drawing from a variety of sources and a variety of styles. There are retellings of classics like Snow White, some folktales, and myths from around the world, as well as original stories. Episodes range from 10 to 20 minutes, with most on the longer side. Everything here is G-rated and safe for all ages.


3) Story Pirates:  We love listening to this one where original stories from kids are sent in and re-done with music and fun voices! This is where the song, "All 8 Unicorns" came from :)


4) Planet Storytime:  Planet Storytime is a wonderful storytelling, audio podcast that helps our children go inside their minds and into their imagination.  It offers classic stories and other quirky less-known ones that will really entertain your kids!


5) Smash Boom Best Smash Boom Best is a debate show for kids and families from the makers of the award-winning podcast, Brains On! Every episode takes two cool things, smashes them together and lets you decide which is best. Cats versus Dogs. Pizza versus Tacos. Super Speed versus Super Strength. Who will be crowned the Smash Boom Best?

So there you have it, our faves to listen to.  It used to be more of something we listened to in the car on the way to school or after-school activities, but now they are enjoying them at home!
Friday, March 20, 2020

At Home In-Door Activities/Classes for Kids and Grown-Ups

Being stuck inside can feel like cabin fever! Not to mention kids going crazy since they need that recess time they are missing out on.  And adults too, all the baking and stress-eating!

If it's raining and the kids can't get outside, or you are missing your gym/pilates/yoga studio time.  Here are a few resources I found to help:

Kids

1) Indoor trampoline: My kids love jumping on this!  It helps get the wiggles out and good exercise (for grown-ups too).



2) Jump rope:  These are great for kids to get energy out and fun! 



3) Cosmic Yoga: We've been watching her for a few years now and love her funny animations.


4) PE Classes: If you search on You Tube there are a bunch of PE exercise videos for kids like this one, and also on Amazon. Also, ContiFIT  : They are starting 30 minute LIVE PE


5) Yoga for kids with Adriene. She mostly does adults but does a few children ones.. We watch the bedtime one before bed, and is really calming.


Adults

1) Yoga with Adriene.  I love her yoga segments. She has a ton to chose from on You Tube and right now has a 30 day option (and lots of others)  here

2) Heather Robertson has a great free You Tube channel with a ton of workout videos, mostly HIIT style with weights or without. Click here

3) Core Power Yoga is offering free On-Demand classes at home here

4) Orange Theory is also offering free classes here

5) Dance your thing? This NYC studio, Dance 305 Fitness, is offering fun hip hop style dance cardio classes here on You Tube.

Hope this list helps us all get through the next few weeks.  Let me know if you have any other links or suggestions in the comments.
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Helping Kids with the Coronavirus COVID-19 and Video

I have been thinking about blogging again for a few years, but each time I do, it's 10:30pm at night and I have to get to bed.  It was way easier for me to blog back in the days when my kids had fewer after-school activities and went to bed at 7pm! Now, some of our activities don't even end until 7pm.

But with the recent events, and hearing so many kids suffering and feeling anxious about COVID-19 and then with the schools closing, I felt it was time to help parents and kids navigate this- and hopefully we can all help each other out. 

I wish I had all the answers, but as you know, with anxiety, it is all about the uncertainty.  Anxiety feeds off the unknown.  And with the unknown of this pandemic, most people who don't usually have anxiety are having it.  Kids are feeling it and it's up to us as parents to help them navigate it.

Here are a few things that have helped:

1) I ran across a video a therapist, Natasha Daniels, created to help explain the virus to kids. I had my kids watch it (on youtube kids), and it helped them understand what it is and how to navigate it. 

2) Keep the news off.  I have been reading my news on my phone/laptop, the actual newspaper (it's only 11$ a month for every day of the week), and when the kids go to bed at night.  News only fuels their anxiety.

3) Social Distance. That means no play dates.  It's not a snow day people! When the virus spreads, it not only makes more people sick, it causes more cases which means not going back to school or work for a longer time, and a poor economy. 

4) Get outdoor time if possible. Throw around a ball, run around, ride scooters, bikes, etc. It helps decrease anxiety.

5) It's ok for a little screen time.  In times like these, I say go for it.  When we watch movies or tv shows as a family, I forget what's going on in the real world and it 's a huge distraction.  Mine are affected by blue screens though, so we try to make sure the tv's are off an hour before bedtime.


Tomorrow I will post a few activities that have helped my kids get through the day!  Anyone have good tips?
Monday, June 4, 2018

Another Year Later.. Life from Preschool to Elementary School

So, it's been almost a FULL YEAR since I blogged on here.  There have been times I have had ideas for posts and I would tell myself, "I need to blog about this!" but then I'd get sidetracked. Sigh, that has been my life since my kids went from Preschool to Elementary.  It's been a crazy year of my youngest starting Kindergarten, well half-day Kinder, but still it was a HUGE step. And my first born starting 2nd grade.  They were both finally at the same school, yay! One drop off in the morning made things so much easier, and one school to volunteer at, work lunch room duty, etc.

But for some reason, life got hard with kids being in big-kid school. When they were babies, I kept waiting for that 'next stage' in life so it would be easier.  Excited when they would finally start walking, so I didn't have to carry them everywhere.  Or when they were able to brush their own teeth and get dressed.  But I have learned that each stage presents its own challenges.  With school and after-school activities like ballet, piano and homework, dinner sometimes just never happened.  How could I cook dinner when we were gone for back to back ballet from 4-6:00pm one night?  The Crockpot/Instapot became my new friend.

My free time at night when I usually blogged, was filled with other duties.  After the kids went to bed, it was time to pack lunches, get their school stuff ready for the next day, clean dishes, reply to emails (for all the volunteer stuff, organizations I am involved in, Girl Scout troop leader stuff, etc), to where there were some days I didn't even have time to watch any relaxing trash TV.  So my blogging days were soon a distant memory. 

I started missing my old stay-at-home mom days where my kids were in preschool a couple of days a week, and we had all this free time to do crafts, play games, and go to the park, the zoo and we all had A LOT more down time.  Granted there were more temper tantrums and less independent behaviors, but I missed the stress-free running around we were doing every day this year.

So for Mother's Day, my husband bought me the Emily Ley A Simplified Life book.  Ha, I think my husband was trying to hint at something? I definitely needed some organization and loved how it was made for moms to help de-clutter, meal plan, help with finances and 'de-busy' yourself.  I totally recommend it (not endorsed at all by this, just loved the ideas she had).

The main thing I took away from her book was the page on 'Simplifying Your Smartphone.'  With my complaints all year on being too busy, reading her passage that said:

    When our children see us pick up our phone at a stoplight or when we're sitting quietly on the couch checking our phones, they notice that we don't like to be still.  We no longer know how to sit and look around at our  surroundings, taking in the scenery, just thinking, and sometimes just being bored.  When life gets a little quiet, we immediately jump for our devices so we can pump our brains back up to full speed with information and connection.  It's an addictive habit.  We are teaching our children that it's not okay to be still.

Wow, reading that was such an eye opener. I mean, I know all of that stuff, but to hear it out loud really made me stop and realize how important it is to really stop and smell the roses.  So I am going to make a conscious effort to pretend it's 1985, no email, no texts and no immediate stimulation.  Take more nature walks, play games and keep my phone sitting on a table and pretending it's an old wall phone. I will answer it if it rings (not during dinner or special play times), like my mom used to back in the 80's, but when my kids are around, not to use it beyond as a phone.  Nothing needs an immediate answer, so texts can wait, emails can wait.  I want to start the summer off without all the 'busyness'!  Now with the summer, I can't wait to have more time to blog and relax.
Saturday, May 27, 2017

Bullet Journal for Moms

Hey everyone! I apologize for the loooong break in blogging. I don't know why I thought I was super busy as a new mom to infants, but for some reason I had more free time in the evenings to blog.   Now that my kids are older in preschool and 1st grade, my nights are filled with PTA meetings, after school activities, mom nights out, cleaning, laundry and the list goes on. Anyone else feel the same way?

So, in order to try to get organized with all of our family activities, I have tried to jump on the Bullet Journal train. Have you heard of this yet? I love my Erin Condren journal but it's so big that I have a hard time fitting into my purses and totes.  AND I wish it had more space for things like menu planning and to-do lists!  So these past few months I started bullet journaling.

What is a Bullet Journal?

It's basically a blank book that you, yes you, have to draw and make your own calendar, pages, dates, etc.  The original idea came from a guy named Ryder Carrol and you can watch his video on it here.

I watched the video and then went on You tube to watch a bunch of other people's videos and ideas and let me tell ya, there are A LOT!  And I mean fancy drawings and lettering which I just don't have time for.   But I wanted to try something else to help me get better organized, so I decided to give it a shot.

Basically, you get a blank book, and design your own calendars.

I added the week days on the left side of the page, and then I added things I needed to do and keep track of for the week on the right (Menu planning, sleep tracker for my kids, shopping and to-do lists).  I like that everyone that bullet journals will have a different way of organizing their life so we will all have different things listed.   I think these journals would also work well if you have an infant and want to keep track of naps, feedings, etc.  As much as I love my Condren, I needed a few more spaces to fill in things like Menu Planning for the week and better To-Do's as you can see below. I also changed the layout the next week. I think the fun part is trying new ways of designing it, until you feel it fits the way your brain works :)





Ha, not as pretty as others online, but it works for me!

I also have a few pages of extras like our Disney trip a few weeks ago, a list of Books I am reading for my book clubs, camps for the kids, and a Key for what the symbols mean.  So say you have a trip coming up and want to jot down your itinerary, it's nice you have extra pages in between so you can fill it in, then add your calendar weeks.




So, for those that want to begin, here are the basics you will need:

1. Journals
Leuchtturn journal brand is THE go-to brand for bullet journaling.  They are leather hard bound covers and come with 3 bookmark ribbons.  The inside as you can see in the pics above, has little tiny dots across the page so you can draw across the pages easier and do more charts.  I chose a pink color for the cover but there are a ton of color choices:


 


2. Pens!  I love shopping for colored pens. It reminds me of school supply shopping :)  Here are a few of my faves that won't bleed through the paper.





 







Calligraphy Markers:



3. Rulers
You can always use a regular ruler to make straight lines, but these come with shapes and fun images to trace!



4. Tabs
I use Post-it Tabs on the sides with the Month printed on them, so I can quickly turn to the page I am looking for. You can also use the ribbons as bookmarks too.



5. Pencil Case
I use small pencil cases to store all of my pens and supplies inside, and I can slip it easily into my purse. It helps to have it handy when I'm out, if I'm waiting in a waiting room or carpool line I can work on my journal.  I prefer zipper pouches, and have even found some good ones at Dollar Tree.



If you like watching ideas on You Tube, one of my faves for inspiration is Amanda Rach Lee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZx0BhkY_9I.

I'll keep you posted on how it works for me this year. Between my iPhone calendar, Erin Condren and my Bullet Journal, hopefully something will keep me better organized!