Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Giveaway: Powder Pouch

*** This giveaway is closed ***
I was just sent a product for review and giveaway that I can't wait to share! Pure genius! And I'll give you all the juicy giveaway details...in a second.

I live 30 minutes from a gorgeous beach that's often featured in Family Fun magazine...it's that good. Think white beaches with clean sparkling water in walking distance from the cutest little shops, bistros, and ice cream parlors. The thing is, as much as I love the beach sand, I wish it would stay there and not on my feet, the car mats, and well...certain delicate areas. I can handle it (I'm a big girl) but I always feel for my kids. I usually peel off their suits to find a cup of sand in the suit and still more stuck to their tushies. Ouch. Talk about chaffing!

Here's the solution.... The Powder Pouch is a sand removal system. It includes a leather pouch to keep the inner powder pouch from pondering the inside of your beach bag and a 100% cotton pouch filled with their amazing powder. The pouch is washable and re-closes with Velcro so that you can refill it with your favorite powder or cornstarch....genius. Plus, it's just cute! It's extremely easy to use too. You just remove the pouch from the leather bag, pat it a few times to release the powder, and wipe off the sand with the pouch. And if your aren't impressed yet...let me jsut add that Powder Pouch was featured in InStyle magazine as a top recommended beach product and the only item to be labeled a "Wow Product"! Yeah, I know...wow! Is it just me or do I here babies rejoicing?! No more owie diaper changes at the beach!

And....I have 3 to giveaway! Leave a comment below for each entry. This contest ends Friday July 2.

1. First, and you must do this step to win. Become a follower of Parenting in Blue Jeans. If you already follow, just leave a comment and remind me.

2. An extra entry for visiting the Powder Pouch website. Come back here and leave a comment with the html and which fabric choice you think is the cutest.

3. A 3rd entry for following Parenting in Blue Jeans on Twitter. If you already are just leave a comment and remind me.

4. One more...why not?! A final entry for listing your favorite beach and or favorite beach story involving sand.

Traveling With Kids Tip

I was talking with some teenagers last weekend and they were going on about a road trip. They're new to driving and were planning discovering the back roads to the beach. I mentally traveled back in time and remembered the carefree road trips I used to take with my best friend from high school. Somehow, road trips don't have the appeal anymore with 2 kids in tow. Hmmm....trapped in a car with 2 kids singing at the top of their lungs, arguing about who's touching whom, and always needing to pee at the worst times. No thanks.

Time in the car is unavoidable with summer in full swing and family vacations booked. Here's a great tip (that I origianlly heard from my friend Angel over at Salty and Sweet)for keeping your sanity and paying your kids for good behavior! When you're all loaded and ready to hit the road, give your kids a roll or quarters. Most likely, you'll be buying them a treat or souvenir anyway. Might I suggest putting the roll in a Ziploc plastic bag with their name on it...we don't want to start any new fights. Warn your kids that anytime they argue, act rudly, or behave inappropriately during the trip in the car, they will be paying you a quarter. Then let them know that they may save or spend any quarters that they have left over at your final destination.

Yep, it's bribery. But it's fabulous! Happy trails friends!

Be sure to enter the Powder Pouch GEVEAWAY....here!

For other helpful ideas visit We Are That Family!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Control Freak Seeks Advice

I'm struggling in that very gray area between being helpful and being controlling. I leave for a 10 day vacation with my mom and sister in a few weeks. I'm thrilled for myself and trying not to feel too spoiled as my mom is the one whisking us away. Meanwhile, my brain is making lists in hyper-speed. It's actually making lists of things I need to make lists of...that's a sure sign of insanity.

I konw my husband and mother-in-law are completely capable of caring for the kids. I'm incredibly grateful for a husband who is willing to take a few days of vacation so that I can go to the Mediterranean. If it were the reverse, I would be so jealous and whiney. He's not. He's amazing. I'm also thankful for my MIL who's willing to move in for a few days! Here's where I'm struggling...how can I be helpful to them without being controlling?!

What I want to do is lay out everything the kids are going to wear the entire time I'm gone. Why? Ummm... well, maybe it has something to do with my son being spotted in Meijer at 9:30 pm with chocolate all over his face and a mismatched outfit on the last time I was gone. Hmmmm....

I also want to make ahead meals. Why? Ummm....maybe because hubby might think that Cheerios and marsh mellows are a great dinner.

All I know is that I don't want to be the gatekeeper. I don't want to be the type of wife/mom who stands in front of the kids and acts like my way is the only and the best way. At the same time, I want to help ahead of time because I won't be able to help when I'm gone.

Any advice? What practical thing have you done in advance to help with the time you're away? Please leave a comment if you have any ideas!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I'm Lovin' CSN

I love CSN stores! Remember how I live in our 2nd fixer upper...A.K.A. ugly 1960's ranch. Well, I've found that CSN is the perfect place to shop for the items that we need when we redecorate a room or, for that matter, when our coffee maker died 10 years to the date from our wedding....c'mon!

CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from cookware to cribs to specific needs such as dining room sets and dog beds! There are so many options that I'm having a hard time choosing! Should I go with what we need...a 8 quart pot, or something fun?! Stay tuned for the review...

**I received no compensation for posting this, but I will be receiving a gift certificate to use for an upcoming review. My opinions are 100% my own and others may have different opinions.**

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How Long is Summer?

When my son finished preschool he was so sad to find out that he had to wait a whole summer until he could begin kindergarten. This year, he wasn't as naive but he still had a hard time grasping how long summer vacation would be.

My solution...a paper chain. My kids love having a green and red paper chain count down until Christmas and my thought was...why not for summer too?

We stretched out the days of summer in front of us...

Wow! That's a long summer. We have some plans for this summer that the kids are really jazzed about. It's what, week 2 or 3 of summer vacation and I'm already tired of explaining to them how long until our family vacation. That's why I went all color code crazy on the chain. Each color stands for a special event or vacation. The kids can easily see how long until each event and even count out the chains. Ahhhh...no more pestering mommy!

So, for us...
blue = nothing planned (I love seeing all that blue)
yellow = baseball
Red = mommy's out of town
orange = vacation Bible school
green = family vacation
red, white, & blue = 4th of July....what else?!

It's a great rainy day project and all it required was a scissor, stapler, and colored construction paper. Happy chaining!

This post is a part of Things I Love Thursday

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Make a Haul

I hate lugging in the groceries. By the time I get the kids to the store, wrangle our 3 year old into the cart, argue about why we are not buying Oreos, unload the cart onto the conveyor belt, pay, load the cart back up with the bags, put 2 kids on the penny pony ride...I'm done! It's exhausting and the last step of putting the groceries away can seems like cruel and unusual punishment. Here's my favorite tip to get the groceries from the trunk into the kitchen...in one trip, which should sound like the hallelujah chorus to those of you who are not blessed with an attached garage.

Use a dowel or a broom handle to thread your bag handles onto. Put mommy in the back and a kid or two at the front and viola....one trip!

For more great tips visit We Are That Family

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A post about weather...I must be getting old!

Last night we had a tornado warning or watch or something. If you haven't figured it out already...I live in Michigan and well, we just don't get tornadoes in Michigan.

I went to bed last night to some pretty lightning and a storm off in the distance. I love thunderstorms and I thought it was a beautiful way for creation to celebrate the summer solstice. Sometime in the early morning hours, I was awakened by the sirens. Like I said before, we don't get tornado excitement in Michigan so my ears didn't recognize the foreign sound. Like having an infant crying in your house, I realized that the sound wasn't going to go away, so I pushed back the covers and made my way the television. I was a little surprised by the weatherman's pronouncement to go to the basement. I walked back to our bedroom to rouse my husband, which is an extremely hard task. After much bouncing, tapping, and shaking he finally woke up. Our great protector would sleep through my murder...ah, well. We each scooped up a kid and their blankets and headed to our basement.

Now, our basement is not pretty. It's a wood paneled basement with a cement floor and it's dotted with the random pieces of free furniture. It's also where the majority of our kid's toys live and go to die. We snuggled our kids onto a day bed and turned on the basement television. Our local weatherman gets a little excited. Every year, the slightest snowfall turns into The Blizzard of 2000 whatever... So there we are...2 kids asleep on a random daybed, my husband and I watching the weatherman in all his glory, and lightening flashing all around us.

Nothing ever came of the storm. Today, all is calm. We're all a little more tired for it but I'm also in that state of heightened awareness that, the people who I head to the basement with, are the most important people and I love them the most. They are also the people I will force a nap on later today...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Whoa....where'd I go?!

I was spoiled this weekend. My husband took me for a weekend getaway to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. We headed north to a bed and breakfast. We've never stayed at a B&B and we assumed that all B&B's were painted in mauve and hunter green with lots of lace and dried wreaths....not really our thing. We were happy to find out we were wrong. We stayed at a new B&B that had tastefully decorated and spacious rooms(even aJacuzzi). We spent our first day going on a tapas and wine tasting tour. We learned about wine making from vine to wine and pairing wine and food. Before you think that my husband and I are "pinkies up" type of people let me assure you that we aren't. We visited a few other wineries and tasting rooms before we hit the beach and dinner. We tucked only ourselves into bed (I'll keep it PG kids), and woke up the next morning for breakfast and a day or sight seeing.

The best part about the weekend was rediscovering that we are fun! At one point during dinner, I turned to my husband and said, "Did you miss me?". He didn't miss a beat. He knew exactly what I meant. Sometimes, I'm all mommy and no Jen or I'm all mommy and no wife. I'm thinking that this happens to a lot of mommies. We get entrenched in work, cleaning house, cleaning up kids, buying food, preparing food, and cleaning up the remnants of food, and we loose our former selves in the job.

To all the Jen's, Kathy's, Christy's, Stephanie's, Jessica's, (your name here)....out there. Do yourself, kids, marriage a solid and book a weekend away. Take off your mommy hat and enjoy being kid and care free! You'll come back with a new perspective on parenting and missing your kids like crazy!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: IKEA

I love IKEA. Can I get a what what (or the equivalent in Swedish) ?!? If you've never heard of IKEA..."Ikea offers everyday furniture in modern designs, emphasizing function, affordability, and style".

IKEA is God's gift to parents! While you shop, your kids can either play at the IKEA play place or can shop with you and be hypnotized by the bright colors and lights. In the IKEA food court, you will find everything you need:kid friendly food, baby food, baby bottle warmers, high chairs...good golly they have it covered!

My favorite IKEA kid product is this chair. It helps little people sit up at the table without any hideous jungle print,or whatever the current baby gear trend is,while still being easy to wipe down. Genius!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

10 Years

Today, I'm celebrating 10 years of marriage with my husband. It feels like we're standing at a marker in this marathon called marriage. We have 10 years behind us and countless years set out ahead of us. It's been hard work. It's the kind of work that you're thrilled to show up for every day. It's the most rewarding work I've ever had and at the same time it's exhausting. The blessing is that we're running the same direction...we're running together.

I heard a quote once for Christian singles. It went something like this...
Run hard towards Christ. And while your running, if you see someone running the same direction, look twice.

I can't say that this was Rob and I. We were more like two individuals standing still. We had blank looks on our faces...we had no idea where to go. We both had accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior but we weren't running...we weren't seeking him. That's what's so beautiful about the last 10 years. We're running now...together, and we both know that it's only because of the grace of God. It's only by His grace that we are running at all and that we are running together.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

There Should Be A Warning Label

There should be a warning label on every mother out there! I was with a group of fabulous bloggers last night and, after we wrapped up talking about the business of blogging, our conversation trailed on to topics of child birth and child rearing...a danger when you hang out with more than one mother at a time.

It struck me then, as it's struck me before, that mother's should walk around with warning labels. We are liable to talk about poop, pee, diapers, child birthing stories, vomit, bodily fluids, the ridiculous things our kids say, and well anything and EVERYTHING else is fair game. We have NO sense of modesty. No, we lost that during childbirth. Therefore, we are willing to discuss the most delicate of subjects brassy, loud, and unabashedly at any given moment.

On behalf of all mother's everywhere, I apologize for what may come out of our mouths. There...consider yourself warned.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Bucket List

It's week 1 of summer and it's official...we're bored! Now, I've always believed that only boring people get bored. I don't think I'm boring so I'm going to have to adjust that saying into, only boring people stay bored. I have a plan to get us out of this state of boredom...the summer bucket list. I'm not sure where I heard about it 1st but it's not mine originally

Tomorrow, we're going to take one of our countless sand buckets and brainstorm a list of things we want to do this summer. The pail turns into the cruise director and gives us something fun to do each day.

To keep control of this little project, I plan on using a few shades of paper. Before one of my kids get to pick from the bucket list, I can tell them which color they may choose. BIG ideas that will take up the entire day, lots of mommy energy, and money are going to go on blue paper. A blue paper day might be going to the beach or zoo, or even going camping (backyard or otherwise), or having a friend sleepover. Smaller ideas will go on yellow paper. These are the little things we want to include like making homemade ice cream or popsicles, blowing bubbles, going to the library, building a fort out of sheets, going to the park, or setting up the slip and slide.

I like this plan...it helps keep a little element of surprise in our lives and it makes me feel like we're going to get the most out of our summer.

I'd love to hear what you would include on the bucket list! Leave a comment with ideas that I can stack our bucket with.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

DVD Review: Hermie: Who is in Charge Anyway?

Hermie: Who is in Charge Anyway is the latest DVD addition to Max Lucado's Hermie and Friends series. I'm thinking that I just might be one of the last parents on planet Earth to hear about this series...

The stars of the show is a flea named Freddie and a group of his buggy friends, all cleverly named and brightly animated. In this DVD Freddie struggles to understand his purpose in his bug community. The story flashes back to introduce all the characters of the garden and their talents. Freddie discovers that God does not make mistakes and made even Freddie with a purpose. This DVD, like most these days, offers bonus material including a trivia game, a behind the scenes short film, a sing-along, and a read-along.

As a Christian parent, I love that the DVD is founded on the scripture of Psalm 90:16,
"Show your servants the wonderful things you do; show your greatness to their children."
The DVD succeeds to present God as approachable, loving, and perfect. My 3 year old was entertained and was able to verbalize, "God doesn't make mistakes." after watching the DVD. My heart is always joyful to witness my kids learning Biblical truths like this.

Here's where I cringed...While I want my children to know that God is approachable and that they can pray to him in anyway and anywhere, I also feel a little funny about a flea talking to clouds. I understand that it is difficult illustrate God but somehow moving clouds do not sit well with me just as a Caucasian Jesus robed in white fabric with a blue sash makes me cringe. That said, I still recommend the DVD and encourage parents to sit WITH their children to watch movies and to have conversations about what they have seen as a follow up.

I plan to keep this DVD in our collection because overall, it teaches strong Biblical values and truths. I recommend this DVD to families with children ages 2-5. Please leave a comment if you have seen any of the Hermie & Friends series with your thoughts!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, June 11, 2010

Top 10 Signs That It's Summer

10. Bedtimes are creeping later and later. During the school year I just about qualify as a bedtime tyrant. We are religious about the 8:00 bedtime. We're still in the first week of summer and the kids are already up past 9:00. I love that.

9. Bath time is a nightly event. My kids feet are dirty by 9:00 A.M. It's ridiculous how dirty they can get in 24 hours.

8. Our mud room is living up to it's name. The kids are running in and out of the house and the mud room is covered in sand and dirt all the time. I'm starting to wonder if it's really worth cleaning up the mess every night or if I should just wait until the end of summer.

7. We all smell like bug spray...another reason for nightly baths.

6. I sleep until the kids wake up which was *gasp* 8:30 this morning. There's no bus to miss, so why not?

5. The kids have "summer" legs. There are old scabs, new scabs, and a little bit of scab-free skin in between which is usually bruised. My kids legs look like a war zone between the scabs, bruises, and mosquito bites!

4. The freezer is stocked with Popsicles and ice cream. Horror of horrors...we are out of fudgsicles! My kids acted like they were being deprived when I announced that we were down to push up pops.

3. We eat lunch and dinner outside. We still feel the need to soak up every cnance to be outside and the vacuum needs a break!

2. Toys are becoming lawn art. The yard is strewn with baseball bats, bikes, and pretend mowers. Our driveway is covered in a slick of spilled bubbles and sidewalk chalk. It's a look.

1. I'm stuck. Leave a comment with your best sign of summer...we can't have a top 9!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dollhouse Renovations

Yesterday, the kids and I turned DIY into DIT (Do It Together). Our daughter was given a dollhouse from my sister for her birthday. Years ago, our dad had made the house for her. Being her younger sister, I got to play with it too and I have many fond memories of it. After 25 years of sitting in our parents attic it became a little fixer upper.
It seemed like the perfect mother daughter project to me. And it was. I found out that my daughter has opinions about color and skills for painting. She likes to create and has great ideas. It let me focus on her and get to know another side of the little person that she is.

We put a fresh coat of paint on the exterior. She had a blast painting and it was a good exercise in giving up control for me. We also went to Hobby Lobby and picked up some supplies including shutters. Thank goodness she picked green and not hot pink...the thing does "live" in my living room after all.

We peeled off the old contact paper/wallpaper. Then, we used house paint to paint ceilings and walls white. They're not perfect but that wasn't the point. I know this because I had to remind myself about 50 times yesterday

I did talk her into using my living room paint color to paint the walls. I wanted to use paint that we already owned and it made me all the happier that she picked the living room paint since I know it will end up there.

Hobby Lobby had hard wood and tile floors for doll houses. I could really get into this! We went to the fabric section and found some faux fur to use as carpet. The other side of the fur is leopard print which is a little over the top for me but...hey, it's a doll house.

Now, we just need some furniture...

This post is a part of Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Birthday un-Cake Ideas

We celebrated our ,now, 3 year old's birthday with our extended family. She has recently discovered that she has a sense of humor. She thought it was knee slapping funny to tell people that her birthday was May 22 instead of the acutal date, May 21. Most people didn't get the joke but it gave me an idea of what to make for her cake...or rather birthday dessert.

For the adults...fruit pizza. She thought that it was a great joke.

Press your favorite sugar cookie dough into a pizza pan. Bake. Frost (I used a cream chese frosting). Cover with fruit.

For the kids...ice cream cone cupcakes

Place your cones into a mini muffin tin. Fill your cones about 3/4 full with cake batter (true conffesions...I use a box). Bake. Frost and add sprinkles.

It was a perfect solution for a mommy who didn't want to slave over a cake, and a little girl with a budding sense of humor.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pruduct Review: Ecostore USA

Recently, I received 2 cleaning products for review from ecostore USA. I'm always happy to clean and happier to try new products. I did a little reading first and read from their website:

Our eco-friendly, plant-based household cleaning products are as effective as the leading supermarket brands, and our body and baby care ranges are gentle on your skin and are simply beautiful to use. All of our products are made from plant- and mineral-based ingredients, free of toxic chemicals that bring people closer to nature with non-toxic, environmentally safe solutions that also help to reduce our carbon footprint.

I found the all purpose cleaner very effective at removing the grime and toothpaste from our counter tops in our bathrooms. My complaint with our old cleaner was that it left a residue that I could feel after it dried. Ecostore's all purpose cleaner cleaned up our mess without leaving any residue. Plus, I'm big on smells and the all purpose cleaner has a wonderful scent...very lemony and fresh.

I was also given a bottle of toilet bowl cleaner. I'll spare you the details, but I found that it too cleaned as well as any other cleaner I have used in the past. To it's credit, it smelled nice compared to other brands which leave your bathroom smelling like you live in a penal colony.

While I was cleaning, I noticed that there was no safety cap on the toilet bowl cleaner. At first, I was shocked. Mom 101 is keep all your cleaning products far out of your children's reach and to make sure that your safety caps are lock tight. Then I remembered that the product is non-toxic. I don't think I want my kids chugging it down, but the point is...if it requires a safety cap do you really want to be pouring it down the drain? Just a thought.

Overall, I'd recommend using these plant based cleaners to readers who are looking for a green way to clean. I found them effective at putting a shine on my house!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Waiting to Swing

I'm so pushy and impatient.

Today, I woke up and decided that we need a rope swing in our oak tree.

Today, my husband has the day off....

I think I've forgotten that all the DIY shows have editing software. What? The hardware store doesn't have the right type of rope? What? You have to rip your own board? What? You need to take measurements, drive around town getting materials and learn how to tie the proper knot?

Today, it's going to rain and it seems that the rain might be sent to wash my impatience away.

Today, I'm waiting to swing tomorrow and practicing patience.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Top 10 Reasons To Smell Like Bug Spray

Time to introsuce my new summer scent...bug repellent. I love summer and as a result, I love bug repellent. Thankfully, these days there are a number of brands that you can wear that do not contain DEET and don't leave you sticky and stinky.

!0. I feel guilty when one of my kids gets bit. I think, "Oh, their poor tender skin was exposed and the mosquito went for the young blood. Poor thing."

9. Scratching is not attractive and it's not all that effective either. I do love Benadryl's itch cream which will actually take the itch away for a while.

8. I don't like being woke up in the middle of the night. "Mommy, I'm itchy!" And worse... there's nothing much I can do about it.

7. There seems to be a bumper crop of mosquitoes in my neck of the woods this year. They are even venturing out into the sun in the middle of the afternoon.

6. Mosquitoes drink blood and that's just gross. They're like mini-vampires and not as cute as the Twilight kind.

5. Infection. My son scratched a mosquito bite on his back so badly and now it has a nice red ring around it. If you see this on your kids...use a pen to draw a line on the current infection line so that you can tell a nurse if and how much it grows. Fun, Fun.

4. I like to ward off anything that began life as larva.

3. I don't like to live in fear. There's nothing like being at a dinner party, trying to have a conversation, watching every inch of your exposed skin, and having your hand ready to make the kill.

2. I like my ankles. I got bit thrice on one ankle in the same evening! Come on! I also got bit in between my fingers and on the sole of my foot. What! Try to itch that in your sleep.

1. I find the sound of a mosquito flying incredibly irritating. f They should play a recording of them during hostage situations. Nothing is worse when you are trying to gain entrance into sleepy land than the whine that comes from their persistent wings.

This post is a part of Things I Love Thursday.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Works For Me Wednesday - Fighting Boredom

Summer is approaching and even more than the heat and humidity I dread the Boredom. I've always subscribed to the thought that only boring people get bored. There's always something to do...you just might have to put a bit of effort into finding it. Maybe it's more accurate to say, only boring people stay bored. And seriously, worse than the boredom is it's affect on kids...trouble. It's when kids are bored that they come up with their most dangerous, most dirty, and most destructive ideas. So here's one little trick that I have up my mommy sleeve to keep my kids entertained.

For all of you born after...oh let's say, 1978...this is a casserole warmer or a hot plate. Mine has never seen a potluck but my kids use it ALL the time.

Coloring becomes 10 times the fun when you use a hot plate! Coloring even becomes fun for boys when you use a hot plate! All you need to do is plug the hot plate in and wait a minute for it to get warm. Next, cover it with paper. Use peeled crayons to draw on your paper and watch them melt as you color. The crayon will just melt away as you use it.

You can find abandoned and forgotten hot plates at your local thrift store and feel good about repurposing something old. Now, being a mother, I feel the need to point out that the item is called a HOT plate. I've met a few hot plates in my day and they run at different temps. Be sure to test yours before you use it to see just how hot it gets.

You can find more cures for summertime boredom over at We Are That Family.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

$$$$$ Talks

I hear Neil Diamond in my head....

Money talks.
but it don't sing and dance and it don't walk.
And long as I can have you here with me

I'd much rather be
forever in blue jeans.

It's in your head now too, isn't it? I'll spare the non-Neilers and not have the song play when you visit my blog but I'll hook the rest of you up.

I'm thinking about $$$ today and the great task of teaching it to my kids. In our household, we like to tell our kids that money is to save, spend, and share. We teach our kids and remind ourselves that all things, including money, are from our heavenly Father, God, making money a gift and a responsibility. Recently, we had an opportunity to teach a little $ sense to our 6 year old.

We live by the cutest little ice cream shop. It has a darling awning strung along it's quaint storefront. It offers adirondack seating and picnic tables. It's located just across the street from a wonderful park complete with a sprinkler pad. It's perfect except for it's prices. It's not that we can't afford (I never say that phrase to my kids by the way...even if it's true)the ice cream but it pains me and my husband to pay between $10 and $15 to take our family out for ice cream. I recently took my 2 kids there. We sat and enjoyed ice cream with my brother, his wife, and their 2 kids. My 6 year old understood that it was a special treat. He knew that while we can afford such ice cream prices, that mommy and daddy don't choose it often. He understood because when the shop first opened it's doors for summer, my husband and I took the time to literally show him the price of ice cream.

Instead of telling our son "no" and the 1st of what will be a million requests to go out for ice cream....we gave him $15. We told him that $15 is about how much it costs our family to get whatever we want from the ice cream shop. Then, we loaded the fam into the car and hit the grocery store where we let him and his sister pick out the works. They picked up a box of cone bowls, their favorite flavor of ice cream, whip cream, and chocolate sauce. We sent him through the check out line where his grand total was $8. We saw the light go on when the cashier handed him back his change. We made our way home and dished up 4 ice cream bowls and tucked the surplus of supplies away for another day. Our son was so excited to see that we still had enough to have ice cream on another day and see that we still had money left over. We were so excited to see it click with him that we let him keep the change...a reward for a lesson well learned.

Here's the best benefit. The ice cream shop is on our main route to well, everywhere and I don't hear begging and pleading anymore. We plan to visit the ice cream shop a few times this summer...but its' extra special now for everyone.