#1. Tiny tea. You know the little plastic measuring cups that come on a bottle of cough syrup or allergy medicine? Well I keep a little stack of those by the sink in the bathroom. After the girls have brushed their teeth we have a tea party in which we fill them with water, clink our cups and sip our "tea" with our pinkies up and I talk in a really crazy old lady voice and stick my lips out as far as I can and use words like "delectable, magnificent and extraordinary." My girls giggle every time. It is sometimes helpful in getting teeth brushed faster when they know they have the chance for a tiny tea party at the end and it takes about 30 seconds of my time.
#2. A breakfast picnic indoors. Basically you throw out an old blanket on the living room floor, serve finger foods for breakfast (like french toast sticks, and fruit kabobs) and eat on the floor off of paper plates. It is a great change up from the usual and so fun to have a picnic for breakfast.
#3. Soup or salad. This one comes from my mom actually who when cleaning out her garden at the end of the year would give me a huge bowl full of wilted lettuce, overgrown spinach, rotten zucchini's and bug eaten beats and they were all mine to cut, tear, smash, and turn into basically whatever I wanted. Well my girls have been loving the outdoors in the cool mornings and have been cooking up a storm. With what you ask? Well I decided that if the lettuce in my fridge has become wilted and I am going to throw it away anyways why not just give it to them. Same thing with other veggies that have been forgotten in a back corner some where. I also grew lettuce in my garden this year? Why? I have no idea because I have lettuce coming out my ears. Well I was just going to let it go to the bugs, but my girls have been making a lettuce soup with it nearly everyday. Same thing with cabbage leaves, and flowers that are dying. They don't ever eat it. They just chop it up with plastic knives and put it in pans and buckets and bowls and anything else they can get their hands on. They think it is fantastic and I can't think of a better way to get rid of my unwanted garden produce.
#4. Tip Toes. The mere act of tip toeing around the house or to go and "secretly brush your teeth" or find a sibling, or go for a nap brings giggles and smiles (not all the time but lots of the time). It works especially great if you as the mom does some sort of crazy version of tip toeing with weird faces included. The stranger the better for kids.
#5. The water blob revisited. The last list I shared included a picture of a large plastic water blob we had made. Well we made a second one, only my husband had an idea to include some mini water blobs. We made these out of heavy duty (and I mean as heavy duty as you can get) garbage bags. They were so simple to make because we only had to tape one end off. They were easier to fill and because they were small we were able to fill them quite full which made them like little water beds. My girls loved, loved, loved them. Next time we are just going to make a series of mini water blobs for them to jump on. Plus they held up so well we were able to just clip the corner, empty the water and store to be reused next time.
#6. Mud. I know, I know-it is dreaded by all moms. The thought of the mess it makes and the clean up afterwards is exhausting and certainly enough to discourage any mom from letting their kid cover themselves in it. But I am telling you, if you want to be the "best mom on the block" let your kid sit in the mud puddle and grin and bear the clean up. The look on your kids face when you say, "it's fine, go ahead and sit in it," is priceless. And really, it takes nothing from you as the parent except to gather up buckets or pails or shovels and to stand near by with your camera, grinning and cheering on every new mud pie. How much easier could it get.