Focus Friday: Vacation Activities Q&A

December 28, 2007 at 12:46 pm | Posted in children, dads, Families, Focused Fridays, Fun Activities, Holidays, moms, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem, spirituality, toddlers, travel, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Welcome to our after Christmas and before New Years edition of Focus Friday.

Reader Question:

I understand the idea of trying to make a home vacation be special. But is this really possible?

Answer: 

Absolutely.  As long as you don’t mind spending some time to make it special.  And you can have the time setting up be part of the process of having a vacation.  The most important part of the home vacation is doing things with your children. But don’t overload this.  You and your children will want to have some time apart.  And this will be good for the rejuvenating part of the vacation.

One thing to remember is that it is not the activity itself that will be special it is the attitude you as the parent bring to the activity which will make it special. 

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Question:

I love your ideas of the home vacation, only I really think I have house full of doubters and that thye will sabotage anything I try to set up.  Is there anyway to get them involved and past the “Poor me, I have to stay home” stuff?

Answer: 

What you do is have your attitude of comfort and pleasure of being at home.  Get things set up so that you can pull out the activities each day.  Pretend you are the counselor at a fun camp.  Be enthusiastic. 

AND instead of assuming they will sabotage your fun ideas you need ot change your own attitude.  Your family will follow what ever attitude you send out to them to do.  You are the parent and the leader.  Know this and set the stage for enjoying the home vacation

You need to do this with ease.  You cannot force yourself, spouse, or kids into ease if you are tense.  Roll with the process.  Relax and know you will have a fun and special home vacation.

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Question:

I read about the going away vacation and would like to better understand about the special to do stuff.  How can I keep my son from getting into it all at once? 

Answer: 

To keep children from getting into everything all at once put each activity in a separate baggie and label.  You can use labels for each day, or if you are wanting this to be for the actual travel portion of the trip them label with hours into the trip.  Either by first hour, scond hour, and so forth.  Or by time of day.   If your child is totally interested in the activity then give them an extra ten minutes.  But after that have them put that activity away and start the next thing.  This keeps them having fresh things to do.  If your child is bored with the activity then you can interrupt with a “New Flash.”  And start some very trivial news of what is happening on the trip.  Interview our correspondent in the other side of the world- well maybe just the back seat of the car or right next to me in the plane.  Play this mindless but silly game for a while.  Add songs or have one activity that is the fill in.  For instance, this activity can be a journal of the trip.  It can have coloring and/or writing.  But don’t pull out the next item till the time comes.  This gives your child the pleasure of anticipation.  It means that they will realize that they it is better to enjoy the activity that is there than rush through everything and have nothing at the end.

Hope your holiday season is as wonderful and stress free as possible!

Check out the Activities for Family and Children podcast full of unique ways to have family fun with your children during the Christmas season.

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.


 

Christmas Activities for Children and Families

December 25, 2007 at 10:34 am | Posted in children, dads, Families, Fun Activities, Holidays, moms, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem, siblings, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Merry Christmas.  Welcome to the Special Christmas edition of GEM Parenting!

Here are a few activities to try today.   Or if you are checking this out after Christmas you can still enjoy them.

Wrapping Paper Ornaments

What you need:

Wrapping paper- it is fine from presents if it is not too wrinkled.
Scissors
Tacky glue
String or pipe cleaners

What you do:

Cut the wrapping paper into circles that are about 3 inches in diameter
Cut a slit to the center point of each circle
Make a cone shape with the circle-
WITH THE colored side on the in side of the circle
Glue

Repeat till you have about ten cones

Now glue the cones together with points in the middle

Add the string or pipe cleaner so you can hang the ornament
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Take the time to sit with each of your children
Ask them about their presents. 
What do you like about this one?
How will you use this?
Why do you think you got this?

What I don’t want you to do is
Ask your children what is their favorite. Have your children say what is their favorite.
Or order them in any way.

Allow your children to enjoy each gift in its own unique way.
When you do this, your children can learn that every gift is truly a gift.

And there is the old saying, “It’s the thought that counts.”
Along this line, if you have your children order their gifts they loose perspective of gracious receiving.

Christmas Activities are here!  Check out the Christmas Activities for Family and Children podcast full of unique ways to have family fun with your children during the Christmas season.

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.


 

Motivational Monday: Christmas Eve Activites

December 24, 2007 at 5:22 pm | Posted in children, dads, Families, Fun Activities, Holidays, moms, Mothers, Motivational Monday, parents, Self Esteem, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Welcome to a Special Monday Motivation…Christmas Eve edition!

  • Create your own Christmas pageant:
    use props, dolls, neighbors, grown ups,
    a book to read from or make it up as you go.

Take as long as you have time to do this. 
And remember this story is both about Jesus and the love that each and every one of us have for our children and life itself.

  • A fun craft is:
    Taking the tin cans from your recycling.
    Clean them out and make them be safe on the edges.

Use bits and pieces of wrapping paper to cover the outside of these.

They can be used as last minute gifts for all the adults and children around. 
Or you can fill the bottom with sand, dirt, or pebbles and put candles in them.

Of course be careful about the paper and the flames!

Ready for the ulimate Christmas Eve Activity fun?  Check out Christmas Eve Fun podcast full of unique ways to have family fun with your children during the Christmas season.

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Creative Crayon Club: Vacation Activities for Families

December 22, 2007 at 12:13 am | Posted in children, Creative Crayon Club, dads, Families, Fun Activities, Holidays, moms, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem, siblings, toddlers, travel, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Here are enough things to help you have a really fun vacation at home.  Nothing is expensive!!

It is important to remember that expensive vacations do not emphasize lots of electronics.  And some down right don’t have time for them.  So when you are doing your home vacation remember to stop electronic

The other important thing to remember is that expensive vacations are not about the product, but the experience.  So when you do some of these activities (and others that you think of yourself), do the activity for the fun of doing it.  The product, the result, does not matter. 

Food Related

Jell-O fish tank

What you need:

  • Jell-O mix
  • Gummy fish and other candies that can be used in fish tanks
  • Clear plastic cups that can hold boiling water

What you do:

  • Make Jell-O mix.
  • Put it in cups
  • Let cool
  • Add gummy fish and candies to look like aquarium

Even after Christmas, cookies or brownies are always fun to make Home made pizza:

What you need:

  • Pizza dough form the freezer section
  • Shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Other yummy toppings

Fun Ideas for Children: 

  • Have a restaurant
  • Let your children wear an apron
  • Set the table specially
  • Make a menu
  • Seat you
  • Take orders
  • Serve the food
  • Clear the table
  • Usually the restaurant stops being fun here,
  • But if you can, let them do the dishes.

Make a Lasagna: 
It takes about an hour or two.  The result is delicious and can take a good bit of vacation time to make.  The thing about lasagna is not just how good it tastes, but that you actually have a great time making it. So remember that it is as much about the process as the product.

  • Lasagna noodles
  • Ground beef
  • Pint ricotta cheese
  • Pint shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Cup Parmesan cheese
  • Three eggs
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper taste
  • Two jars tomato sauce
  • Olive oil

Boil water to cook lasagna
Lay flat on waxed paper, or tin foil to keep separated.

While noodles are cooking,
Brown the meat in olive oil.
Put in a bowl

In large bowl mix
Cheeses, eggs, and parsley

In lasagna pan spread thin layer of sauce
Place layer of noodles
Spread cheese mixture over that
Sprinkle ground beef
Spoon sauce

Repeat till there is nothing left.

Try to have noodles with sauce for the top layer

If things don’t get put in the right order it won’t matter
It tastes good anyway.

Cover with tin foil
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes
You can take off the tin foil for the last five minutes and sprinkle more parmesan cheese on top if you like.
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Crafts

Painted T-shirts/Boxers

  • What you need:
  • T-Shirt or boxers
  • Fabric pens
  • Puffy fabric pens
  • Fabric glue
  • Sequins
  • Cardboard

What you do:

Cut the cardboard to fit inside the T-shirt or boxers
This keeps the paint and glue form going through to the other side.
Paint and color one side of the clothing.
Add sequins with glue.

Let dry completely-hairdryer can speed up drying

Do the backside.
Wear and enjoy
Wash-usually in machine
Dry- Hang dry

Paper Snowflake

What you need:

  • Pieces of paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape

What you do for Snow Flakes:

  • Cut paper to be square or round
  • Fold the paper in half
  • Three times so you have a triangle.
  • Cut small pieces out.
  • Unfold to see beautiful snowflakes all different from each other.

This is traditionally done in white, but you can use different colored paper .  Or scribble on the white paper before cutting out

Paper Christmas-Tree Chain:  Paper Doll Chain

What you need:

  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

What you do:

  • Fold paper in accordion fashion
  • Draw a tree or child with some part
  • On each side attached.

With trees use bottom branches
With girls use skirt bottoms and hands
With boys use hands and toes

Cut out.
Color faces or ornaments  
Christmas Collage Village

What you need:

  • Old wrapping paper
  • Christmas Cards
  • Anything that is small and is Christmassy
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Boxes from presents
  • Markers, Crayons, Paint
  • Optional book to get in the mood -Henry and Mudge and the Long Weekend by Stevenson

Use all your stuff to make a Christmas Village.  Do not hurry.  Take a day or so to set it up.  Leave it set up for a few days.  Have as much fun making it as playing in it.  And add to as you go along.  You can make this for dolls or action figures or for yourselves to play in.

Art work Weaving

What you need:

  • One piece of poster board per child
  • Two pieces of firm white paper OR- two pieces of old artwork that can be cut up
  • Crayons or makers
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors Ruler

What you do:

  • Make designs or pictures on the two pieces of firm paper.  Be sure to explain that these will be cut up. 
  • Label them piece A and Piece B or choose two pieces of artwork, piece A and piece B, which you are going to cut. They should be the same size, and they should be on paper and in paint, marker, or crayon (pencil could smear).

Measure equal increments along the length (the top) of piece A, and draw lines forming strips on the back of the piece. Number each piece in numerical order on the back.

Measure equal increments along the width (the side) of piece B, and draw lines forming strips on the back of the piece. Letter each piece in alphabetical order on the back.

Cut along the lines of pieces A and B — forming two sets of strips.

Using masking tape, tape the ends of the strips of piece A onto a piece of poster board — reassembling the artwork. Use the numbers to help keep the strips in order.

Carefully weave the strips from piece B into piece A — tightly. Use the letters to help keep the strips in order.
When finished you can either laminate the finished piece or wash over the painting with some watered down white glue.
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Outdoors


This is a list of activities that you can use as a starting point.  Be creative and remember one of the places kids love to be no matter what the weather is outdoors

Make a snow fort/house

When playing in the snow bring out some old scarves, or other used clothing items.  Your kids can find great ways to embellish the house.
Use drops of food coloring to have colored snow as well.

Add neighbors

Set up a store outside

This is great if you are in a warmer climate-
Collect some old cartons and cans-carefully taped with duct tape along the top to avoid any cuts.  Let your children figure out how to create the shelves, the check out, the freezer.  Again, there is the possibility of adding dress ups, dolls and neighbors to this game 

Go sledding

Take a nature walk-on your walk, try to find the alphabet. 
Look for birds and count how many birds you see
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Silly fun

  1. Use face paints
  2. Do finger painting
  3. Twister
  4. Dance time
  5. Play tickle monster

Get your FREE Momference Guide to Surviving the Holidays!

Learn how to have a real vacation at home with our podcast “Vacation at Home-Fun Things To Do” full of ways to combine a positive attitude with activities for a home vacation with high self-esteem.

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Vacation at Home: Family Fun for the Holidays!

December 21, 2007 at 11:54 pm | Posted in children, dads, Families, Focused Fridays, Holidays, moms, Mothers, parents, relationships, Self Esteem, siblings, toddlers, travel, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Not every one decides to go away for vacation.  Here are some tips to make your home vacation be as enjoyable as a going away vacation:

  • The first is your attitude as the parent.  If you believe you are deprived or slighted because you can’t go away then there is only one way for your children to feel: deprived and slighted.  If, on the other hand, you change this attitude by replacing it with thoughts of being grateful you can set your children up for loving their vacations.  You can be grateful for innumerable things; health, a job, being creative, and especially for having your children.  You can use this list as a starter.  Add to it and change it to be the things that you are specifically grateful for. 
  • As you change your attitude also prepare to change your routine over vacation.  Add special activities.  They do not have to cost any money, and during vacation week we will be providing activities to do at gemparenting.wordpress.com.  Set up a schedule with your kids of things to do.  By having a great vacation while staying home you let your children know that fun comes from within.  It is not something that must be bought or provided for from an outside source or that is has to cost lots of money.  When you give this gift to your children, it is a life long character trait enabling your children to adjust to situations and make the best of them.
  • You can also  remember that good old-fashioned vacations were loads of fun as a kid, so why wouldn’t they be now?  Being rather anti mass media, I suggest having huge blocks of time without electronics.  Don’t panic!  Do things that you loved to do as a kid.  And don’t get bogged down if your kids are having fun or not. Just go and do your fun things.  As you go and do fun stuff, they will get involved.  Or they may create things that you had never dreamed of. 

Here are a few super ideas to help get past vacation boredom:

  • You can build a fort in the living room with all the extra sheets and blankets.  I know one family who every winter would “camp in” in the living room for a few days between Christmas and New Years.  They set up a tent, roasted hot dogs in the fireplace and made s’mores.  They read bedtime stories by candlelight.  And looked at the Christmas tree while singing songs- some Christmas and others just fun to sing. 
  • You can have a party and invite the other “non go awayers”.  Have a theme, maybe a beach party.  Everyone bring bathing suits and summer attire.  If you live in the snow, beach balls are a fun addition to any sledding party.  You can toss the balls and see who can catch them while going down.
  • You can go for a few day trips to inexpensive places.  Or pick one special day that does cost money and do that.  And you can see if any of your friends who you don’t see very often but enjoy might be around.  In other words go visiting.  And children love taking nature walks.
  • Arts and crafts are wonderful for kids.  When you set up a schedule find things that you and your kids want to make.  Get supplies ahead of time, not necessarily before Christmas, but at the beginning of the week.  Do one activity each day.  At the end of the week have a celebration of everything that you made.  You do not need to have anybody but the family be there.  Your kids will love a celebration.  Set the things up for display.  And have some kind of special music in the background and of course food is always nice. 

A vacation at home is as wonderful and sometimes better than going away.  When you have your home vacation remember to change the routine for yourself as well your children.  Do some things totally out of character.  When you create an awesome home vacation your children will develop a high self –esteem.  You allow them to understand that it is not how they compare to others that matters, but being able to have a good feeling about what they are doing without concern for others that truly matters.

Learn how to have a real vacation at home with our podcast “Vacation at Home-Fun Things To Do” full of ways to combine a positive attitude with activities for a home vacation with high self-esteem.

Get your FREE Momference Guide to Surviving the Holidays!

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Wednesday Wisdom: Family Away Vacation

December 19, 2007 at 10:35 am | Posted in children, dads, Families, Holidays, moms, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem, toddlers, travel, Tweens, Wednesday Wisdom | 2 Comments
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Five Tricks to Help Your Family Enjoy Every Aspect of Your Vacation:

  • Travel Games
  • Food related issues
  • Entertainment
  • Being in new places
  • Being at home when it seems everyone else has gone

When vacation comes, we often think that it means we as grown ups can completely relax.  And yes that would be nice, but the fact is if we have children we are always responsible for them, even on vacation.  Now you can look at your responsibility as a burden, and if you do I would suggest you quietly check out from here.  Or you can have a different approach.  You can realize that you have the privilege to have a vacation and with every privilege comes responsibility.  Your children are your privilege.  Your vacation is your privilege .  And here are suggestions of how to have your responsibilities be enjoyable and enhance your vacation.

When you start your vacation you have to get there.  And that means you need to think of the travel as part of the vacation, not the time it takes to get there.  In preparation for the trip, create a small very special “travel only” set of activities.  In addition to the regular items of paper, markers, books, travel games, include action toys that are related to where you are going.  This will allow your child to release some anticipation in a creative way rather than “Are we there yet.”  And when you get this question- no matter how it is said- respond to it as if the only reason your child is asking is because he or she is so excited.  By having the vacation start the moment you leave home will give both you and your kids the opportunity to have an adventure.  And kids love adventures.  I hope you do to.

When on vacation food is often an issue.  Try to pack a few (or a lot if necessary) simple foods you know your kids will eat.  Being interested in healthy eating, I always bring dried fruits and nuts, granola, and then some less healthy foods such as cookies and chips.  When I arrive I always scout out how to be sure we can have fresh fruit, even if this means finding a food market in a foreign country.  Also, bringing the all American PB and J can really help.  When children are trying new foods they often make their decision based on looks rather than taste.  To get past this tell your children about how the taste buds on the tongue can’t see anything.  They can only taste.  And they feel a bit left out of all the great vacation stuff by not seeing anything.  So why not give them a little entertainment and give them a taste.   You can liven up the story and make it quite funny.

The other issue of food is that on vacation you may be at the mercy of others for when you eat.  If your children are getting hungry them ruin their appetite enough to keep them pleasant.  It will be no fun for anyone, especially you, if your kids have a melt down from hunger.

Entertainment is a large part of vacation.  The mass media has filled us with the idea that vacations should be entertaining.  And if you and your children think that every moment will be filled with entertainment you may find your children are over stimulated.  Notice if they are going a bit berserk.  This is usually a sign of over stimulation.  Create a way to have a  quiet time, even for ten minutes with older children.  And if you become stronger than the mass media you can even change your own attitude from being entertained for your vacation, which has a passive-follower  aspect to it, to being relaxed and rejuvenated, which has a proactive aspect to it.  Create guidelines for which activities you do.  I know you are spending lots of money, but you and your kids really don’t have to do everything.  Have the freedom to do as much as feels fun and interesting without getting over whelmed- isn’t getting grid of being overwhelmed one of the reasons you are vacation?

Another area to pay attention to is being in new places.  Sometimes children simply find new places scary.  You may be going someplace and think it a great idea for your child to be in the child –care.  They say just drop off. But it your child will be miserable, then know that it will take some time to help your child adjust to the new place  And you may not get to do everything on your own list while your little one is becoming settled in.  This can take away from your personal satisfaction, unless you realize that by helping your little one adjust you are giving your child the life skill of being able to enter new places with ease and comfort. 

When you go on a family vacation I want you to remember that the most important thing is not where you go or what you do, but it is the time you as a family get to spend together without your regular routines.  The media will not emphasize this.  It does not sound very glittery or exotic.  Don’t worry, by having a vacation built around comfort and relaxation you and your family will have more time to enjoy your vacation than the others who are desperately trying to fill up every moment of time.

Learn how to have a real vacation at home with our podcast “Vacation at Home-Fun Things To Do” full of ways to combine a positive attitude with activities for a home vacation with high self-esteem.

Get your FREE Momference Guide to Surviving the Holidays!

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Transcendent Tuesdays: Traveling with Children

December 18, 2007 at 4:56 am | Posted in children, dads, Families, Holidays, moms, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem, siblings, toddlers, travel | 2 Comments
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Ready to travel with your children this holiday season?

It can be easier. In the article written by Kitty Bean Yancey, family travel expert Eileen Ogintz gives great tips and tricks for traveling with tots during the holiday season.

Suggesting ways to travel with children to allow less stress and fatigue during the holiday season, Eileen Ogintz suggests the top 10 ways to travel with tots in a USA today article “Make flying with kids easier — before you even take off!”

GEM Hint:  Eileen Ogintz’s blog, Taking the Kids, is a wonderful resource for parenting traveling with children!

Enjoy Your FREE Motivational Monday: Family Vacations

Remember, if you have any questions about vacations to be sure to e-mail grace@gemparenting.com by Wed night.

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Motivation Monday: Family Vacations

December 17, 2007 at 11:21 pm | Posted in children, dads, Families, Holidays, moms, Mothers, Motivational Monday, parents, Self Esteem, siblings, toddlers, travel, Tweens | Leave a comment
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This week we will be talking about vacations. There are really two kinds of vacations. One is away and the other is at home. There for I have set things up this week to include some useful information about both these types of vacation.

Enjoy the free audio podcast for todays Motivational Monday: Family Vacations!

Enjoy Your FREE Motivational Monday: Family Vacations

Remember, if you have any questions about vacations to be sure to e-mail grace@gemparenting.com by Wed night.

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Activities For Divorced Families

December 15, 2007 at 11:29 am | Posted in children, Creative Crayon Club, dads, Divorce, Families, Holidays, marriage, moms, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem, siblings, spirituality, toddlers, Tweens | 2 Comments
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Welcome to the Creative Crayon Club with a special emphasis on Divorced Families!

Ginger Bread House

What you need:

  • Either make a ginger bread house from scratch or buy a pre-made one from the store
  • Small baggies-one per person
  • Scissors
  • Powder sugar
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Spoons
  • A variety of Christmas Candy
  • Paper towels

What you do:
If using premade house use their supplies directions

If making the house from scratch follow directions from cook book. You need to make the ginger bread two days in advance of assembly

  1. Cut a very small corner off the baggies
  2. Put the powder sugar in the bowl
  3. Add just enough cold water to have the sugar become a paste
  4. If you are coloring the paste separate into bowls and add a few drops of food color
  5. Spoon some sugar paste into the baggies.
  6. Use this paste to put together house.
  7. House has to stand for at least one day before next step.
  8. Put all unused baggies of paste in a bigger sealed baggie. Keep in fridge.
  9. Add the candies in any pattern you can think of.

This is a nice activity for divorced families because you can tell the children that this wonderful house is your special part of the holiday. The fact that it takes days to do do and can sit around for weeks before eating will give the kids a sense of continuity and stability.

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Look at Christmas Lights

This is super simple and often not thought of as an actual activity.

  • Make a thermos of hot chocolate
  • Some PB&J sandwiches cut out with Christmas cookie cutters.
  • Have a Christmas song book or tape
  • Have warm clothes and head out.

Enjoy the Christmas lights!

Get your copy of “How Divorced Families Share the Holidays today and enjoy the joy of the Christmas season again!

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Focused Fridays: Q&A for Divorced Parents

December 14, 2007 at 11:56 am | Posted in children, dads, Divorce, Families, Focused Fridays, Holidays, marriage, moms, Mothers, parents, relationships, Self Esteem, siblings, spirituality, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Focused Friday Question:

I am so stressed and my heart is truly breaking.  I have to send my children to their father.  He lives about three hours away.  And they have to stay with him for a week.  I get to have them on Christmas day.  But after that, they are gone.  How can I possibly stand Christmas knowing they will be gone the next day and how can I ever manage to spend that week with out them?

GEM Parenting Answer: 

I can feel your pain.  I know it is hard to send your kids away.  What you are feeling is the pain of mourning.  The dream you had of a family has been demolished.  Now it is time to use some very strong energy on your part to bring yourself to harmony with your knew situation.  Each and every time you have a thought of loss remind yourself of three things you are grateful for.  This may take up a few hours of time.  Just keep at it.  And be gentle with yourself.  This loss can be slow to heal.  But you will heal if you give yourself permission to do so. 

The other thing to realize is that even though your life now may revolve around your kids, you did do things before you had them, and you will do things without them as they grow older.  The timing may not be perfect, but do some things when they are gone that is complicated or difficult to do when they are with you.  And forget about feeling guilty about doing something fun.  The situation is a fact.  The kids will be gone and you have the time.  Use it to benefit yourself.  This way when your kids get back you will be refreshed and eager to see them, not anxious and worried. 

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Focused Friday Question:

This is my first year being divorced.  We have a structure of time.  How can I actually make any changes with my ex-husband when we both hate each other?

GEM Parenting Answer:  

You may not be able to change the structure this year.  But you can approach your ex-husband with respect rather than hatred.  Explain that you are working on trying to develop a respectful way of interacting with each other.  You would like to know what is important for him during the holidays and you would like to share what is important for you.  You can say that in the court process you were unable to deal with these kinds of things.  But as time goes forward you would like to see if things can be set up with respect for each other as well the needs of the kids.  Hopefully, this will open the door for discussion. 

If it does not, then you need to organize your time with your kids to include what is special for you.  Only you do not have to do everything, nor should you even try to. 

And one more thing.  Remember this is the beginning.  It will not stay this way forever.  And you will be developing new customs and celebrations.  Look at this new situation as wonderful new opportunity. 

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Focused Friday Question:

I really want to give my daughter a gift that her mother, my ex wife, does not want her to have.  But now that we are divorced why shouldn’t I get my daughter whatever I want? 

GEM Parenting Answer:  

There is no law that says you can’t.  But think about this.  There are about a million things you can give your daughter for Christmas.  Why do you have to get hooked on the one thing that her mother doesn’t want her to have?  It seems to me that with all the possibilities out there you can find something that would not be offensive to your ex-wife

When you change to this route, your daughter will not have to get caught in a trap between you parents.  You will not be changing the gift for your ex-wife, but for the harmony and peace of your daughter.

Get your copy of “How Divorced Families Share the Holidays today and enjoy the joy of the Christmas season again!

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