a DIY project with the kids!!!

so this week we were on lockdown. quarantine. sequestered. and I had to entertain a rambunctious 4-year old little girl who would rather jet set to other parts unknown or go to the mall apparently I learned this week after having to say no to Chicago, Georgia, and a visit to see my mom!

we had all sorts of crafts to do but nothing was really sticking, and then suddenly yesterday morning I must’ve come out of my illness fog and remembered I used to be a preschool teacher and could pull activities out of my butt! (and I was quite proud of this one I might add!)

it was super simple.

all you need for supplies are:

  • – plastic containers, we used empty Danimals bottles (drinkable yogurt)
  • – tissue paper in various colors cut up into small squares (or ripped up into small pieces)
  • – glue with water mixed in for a sticky yet thin texture
  • – a paint brush

 

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First you drink the yummy yogurt! 🙂

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Then you rinse out the container and rip off the label.

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Cut up tissue in a myriad of colors. I went with fucsia, lavender, purple, blue and sparkly gold knowing my audience.

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Grab some white glue and mix it with some water in a small bowl and grab a paint brush and your tissue and you’re ready to go!

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Sorry for no action shots, but you decopauge the tissue onto the plastic container. You can put a thin layer of the glue mixture directly onto the plastic vase and then lay the tissue paper pieces down one by one and as you stick them down you saturate them on top to make them stay. when the whole thing is down it will appear to be covered in the white glue but the glue dries clear and hard. *this vase here was made completely by a 4-year-old with minimal help from me*

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And voila! We let them dry during naptime and then went for a quick walk and cut a few flowers to fill our vases!

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Makes a very cute bud vase if done well could be used for a baby shower or bridal shower. You can add glitter or sparkles on top if you so desire. Your options are endless!!

 

See, I told you it was simple but cute! I’m not a DIYer normally so this is a great, easy, fun project for the you and the kids!!

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Posted in the munchkins, things i love <3 | 2 Comments

please, for your children.

I wrote this post almost 2 years ago………..and tonight I feel the need to share it again. And I will keep sharing it as long as I keep hearing about young children drowning in preventable situations.

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Okay guys, time for to me turn my attention away from me and my life and focus on one of my biggest pet peeves in the universe. WATER SAFETY and CHILDREN.  This is not a joke and not something to EVER be taken lightly.  In my opinion, you can never be too safe with a pool when kids are involved.

As I watched the 10pm news last night I heard of a tragic story of a 3-year-old little girl here in Southern California who drowned this past weekend in a jacuzzi and when found she had been on the bottom of the jacuzzi for at least 15 minutes. FIFTEEN MINUTES.  My first question is, why is a 3-year-old ever unattended for 15 minutes ANYWHERE…….much less near a pool?!?!

This is a tragic, awful, PREVENTABLE, tragedy.

I taught swimming lessons for many years, and life guarded in a day camp setting at a pool as well as for private parties. I have a WSI (water safety instructor) and my lifeguarding license. I cannot stress enough how important water and pool safety is to me.

I’m helping to raise two (soon to be 3) children who are growing up with a gated pool in their yard.  This is topic is close to home and one of the most upsetting things I think parents take too lightly.

Here’s the first thing to do, THROW AWAY ALL WATER WINGS and VESTS.  While when working properly they CAN be helpful, they also have several negative effects.

1.) Often they just fail to work properly. They’re defective. It’s scary, but true.

2.) In the story above the 3-year-old was able to remove the clasp herself and removed the vest all on her own without anyone noticing.

3.) The SCARIEST one for each and every one of you that I urge you to REALLY understand: the water wings, noodles and vests give the children the false sense of confidence that they can swim. Accidents happen when they end up jumping in or going in without one on and no one sees them and they drown. They didn’t know that they didn’t know how to swim. They provide a false sense of security.

The only solution as I see it here is to be vigilant. 

  • Never allow your child in the pool area without you.
  • Never allow them in a pool without you.
  • Refuse to play at any home without a pool fence or gate.
  • And as early as possible TEACH THEM TO SWIM!!!

It’s never too early to teach water safety and what to do if you fall in!

Negligence is the sad reality here too many times each summer and it kills me each time I hear about it. These are preventable deaths.

Do what you can to teach your kids the skills AND to teach them water safety.

  • We’ve taught the kids never to run in a pool area.
  • Never to go into a pool area without an adult.
  • Never go into the pool without an adult.
  • Never jump into the pool without counting “1-2-3” WITH the adult you are jumping to.

……and most importantly we’ve been giving them swimming lessons since the summer that they turned 1.

I know there are times it is so much easier to use these vests, wings and noodles.  I get it!!!  But they are not the solution.

We had a swim party for a 5th birthday party just two weeks ago, we hired a skilled certified lifeguard to be in the pool area the entire length of the party.  AND we told the parents in the invitation kindly that any child that wanted to swim had to have a parent or adult IN the pool with them, if not, there were other water games, a kiddie pool and a water slide for them to enjoy.

Please, please, do whatever you can NOT to become a statistic.  Most water safety accidents ARE preventable. Do your part!

~ traci xo

P.S. Of course water toys are fun and even I love playing with the noodles, but they should only be used by someone who knows how to swim and always while being supervised!!!

  • I’ve heard great things about some of the YMCA programs though I cannot speak to them personally.

  • Call your local ER, ask your pediatrician.  Network.  If you don’t know where to turn reach out, I’ll help you find someone in your town that will help you find the resources you need to teach your kids to swim.

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our silent heroes

bigstock_Fire_Department_Emblem_5049554-297x300this might seem like a random post and it kinda is. i’ve always had a huge affinity for the police department and then by no surprise dated a police officer.

i was obsessed with police shows. everything related to law enforcement as far back as i can remember. but i never had exposure to much fire dept related. i’ve always appreciated the job they did, but never did i know what i was going to learn.

Chicago_Firebut in the past few weeks i’ve become OBSESSED with Chicago Fire (and Chicago PD but this post isn’t about that).

i am riveted because i have learned so much about what firemen really deal with on a daily basis that i never thought of before. i’ve never needed their help, THANK GOD, so having never really pondered what goes into the life of a fireman (and EMT) i never pictured what they see on a daily basis.

i never imagined what choices they often have to make in a split second.

i never imagined the emotions involved in their jobs on a daily basis.

i ignorantly only had pictured them putting out fires. that’s about it.

i pictured the pumper and the hook & ladder and that was that.

but through the new show Chicago Fire i have had the opportunity to learn so much more about what a fireman deals with on a daily basis.

the gruesome accident scenes they see. imagesZMVGWW49

the lives they save while putting their own at risk.

the terrifying situations they put themselves into daily in order to do their job.

i don’t know that thank you would ever be enough.

i do know that i will never take for granted the job of a firefighter.

i have a few friends that ARE firefighters and you know who you are, and i dedicate this post to you. for all that you do every day that you go to work. for every day that you leave your families to work with your brothers (& sisters) of your firehouse.

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and thank you Dick Wolf and NBC for opening my eyes to something I’m ashamed to say i wasn’t realistic about for 38 years. the firemen out there are the true heroes of our world. ❤

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random thoughts by traci volume 1

it occurred to me tonight kind of out of the blue that i somehow got stuck on this serious imagine_box_atopic business of the blog.

indicative of my state of mind i’m sure, but not really who i am.

somehow i want to start sharing some of the bizarre shit that happens to me and only me, and i want to share my quirks and some of the things that i like or don’t like or do or don’t do that have people commonly referring to me as an enigma. 😉

for starters, i need to figure out how to get into a better writing place. i want to write all the time, but with my not being a morning person, you wouldn’t get anything upbeat or appealing then, and lately, i find at night i’m just so exhausted that i take my laptop out, i fire up wordpress, and then i sit here watching tv zoning out.

so, i bought one of those iPad cases that has a Bluetooth keyboard, figured i’d try it out. it was a cheap knockoff i got on groupon (my first groupon purchase EVER, yes, shocking to many of you i’m sure.) and hopefully it will help me write when a certain toddler-to-be decides to nap and i have some time to think. (which in reality, should increase my blog posts from 1 per week to maybe 2! LOL)

i can’t really tell you what triggered this next thought. i’m AT home and haven’t been women's restroom signanywhere but work today, so i’m blanking on what i saw or did that prompted what I’ve decided will be my first quirk announcement! LOL.

i don’t use public bathrooms. like ever. i can tell you where they are most places i go because my mom or my best friend seem to need to visit every single one in every single place we go. but i rarely if ever will use a public bathroom. now, if i’m being honest, which why shouldn’t i be, it’s not just public bathrooms, it’s most bathrooms not my own or not ones i use regularly.

like at my parents house or work, i use the same exact bathroom every time i’m there regardless of if that means i have to wait.

i prefer not to use bathrooms that children use. it’s a cleanliness, germy thing.

it’s a claustrophobia issue. it’s a smelly issue. it’s a i have a weak gag reflex and am not great at plugging my nose without actually using my hand issue. i just don’t like them. and luckily for me i don’t have to go too often.

toilet_squarea few exceptions are disneyland, dodger stadium and most starbucks have been ok. but that’s my limit. oh, wait, i’ll use a macy’s or nordstrom’s bathroom too, i just don’t frequent them often.

it’s bizarre and weird and probably something you could go the rest of your lives never knowing, but now you do! i hope you sleep better tonight! ha! 😉

it’s so much my “thing” that most of those closest to me will return to me after a trip to a public restroom and rate it to me quietly as if they know i’m waiting to hear just in case i need to go! recently my SIL did it, and we giggled that she’s joined the crazy train that is my bathroom phobia.

and really, the irony………..i’m the daughter, grand-daughter and great-grand-daughter of a wholesale plumbing supply mini empire. in other words, they sell toilets. Bwaahaahaa!

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unanswered prayers

yesterday i was given THE best gift of my life.

my friend and her husband and baby came to town and i offered to take the 22-month old so they could go out to dinner and then he just stayed the night.

he is just adorable! and the sweetest little guy. it was so weird being with another little person the same age as the baby that i watch all week, that wasn’t him! we had  a great time together. and he is welcome to my house any time he wants! i mean, he slept later than me!! his mom had come from the hotel and we were having coffee and talking for a while before he got up! my kinda guy! 😉

having him here at my apartment was THE BEST gift anyone could have ever given me.

whilst 12-hour days with 3-kids, chasing, carrying, question answering, directing, meal preparing, argument referring, question answering and cuddling are all just in a days work  for me, it’s my job. i leave my house and i step into their house and i’m at work. but having a baby in my own house, on my saturday night was eye-opening.

i wasn’t in work mode. i was at home. and yes, my house is not completely baby friendly and if a baby lived here full-time it would be, but ZOMG you can’t get a god damn thing done!!!

and it REALLY made me realize what i was on the brink of getting myself into last year and was still considering. single motherhood.

it changed my thoughts on EVER trying to do this alone. i will add the caveat knowing what i know about kids, it would be MUCH easier with an older child, but they start out as babies and then become toddlers before they are older children!!

i digress.  imagine_box_a

as i sat here last night in my room, watching the sweet little baby in the pack n play  by the light of my electric baby safe candles, i couldn’t help but think of garth brook’s unanswered prayers.

i want to be a mom more than anything in the world. and i know what it’s like to take care of them and be with them, but to be the sole care-taker of a child under 5 is just exhausting. it’s never-ending. it’s rewarding and fun but it’s nonstop.

today has been an interesting day.

feeling sad. i can’t help but think of the adoption that didn’t happen. but i also can’t help but be relieved because of those 18-hours it made me realize how not ready to have a baby on my own, in this apartment i am.

it made me grateful. so very grateful for that experience and ability to come to this conclusion on my own.

and i know someday we’ll know all the answers, but for now……..it is what it is and maybe, just maybe there’s a good reason some things don’t work out. ❤

“sometimes i thank god for unanswered prayers

remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs

that just because he may not answer, doesn’t mean he don’t care

some of god’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

sig_pink

 

Posted in life, uncategorized | 1 Comment

what’s on my mind tonight

i don’t really want to write.

i don’t really have anything to say. not anything that matters. one red balloon

ryan saldana’s family is on my mind. constantly.

some people don’t understand. that’s okay. i won’t try and explain.

but i will explain how i know many of us are feeling.

sad.

hopeless.

helpless.

afraid.

confused.

angry.

sad.

scared.

i know what is the hardest to digest is how it was a tragic accident. an accident that parents worried about for years before my time and will continue long past.

there’s no illness to fight.

there’s no time to be mad. to be angry. he’s just gone. in one snap moment their lives were shattered and changed forever.

as someone who watches children and loves them deeply this rocks me to my core because it could happen to me.

it could happen to you.

none of us can say that it can’t.

i think that’s why so many of us are having a hard time with it. we are helpless to do anything to change what has happened and helpless at what to do to keep it from happening again.

all we can do is grieve for ryan. we can pray for his family. and we can be extra vigilant knowing that bad things just do happen when we least expect them in the worst ways.

hug them a little tighter. watch over them a little longer. hold those hands a little tighter.

that’s what’s on my mind.  sig_green

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red balloons have new meaning

red balloons

i have no words.

in the 2 hours since i’ve read about this, i cannot think of anything else.

i have nothing to share.

i have nothing important to post.

nothing that could top the saddness i felt when i heard this morning about the tragic accident and loss of a 3.5 year old little boy.

today, i have no words.

i just see red balloons for ryan.

please read here and you can find out all about #RedBalloonsForRyan.

i pray for his mommy and daddy and all those who loved him.

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bar mitzvah weekend 2014!

okay so i totally screwed up. i agree to a blog a day in the month of may and then on may 3rd i dropped the ball!!! BUT, to be fair i was busy having amazing bar mitzvah fun celebrating an amazing young man. so get over it!! 🙂

i’m going to work on catching up at some point by posting twice in a day…….just you watch!!

but, without further adieu…..

this past weekend was the bar mitzvah of my cousin’s son who is more like a nephew to me was called to the torah saturday, may 3rd, 2014.

THIS IS HUGE!!!

how is the little guy i helped potty train now considered an adult within the jewish faith.

time flies, that’s how!

there are no words to properly explain the how proud i am of louis and the job he did.

there are no words to explain how mature and such grace he showed the entire weekend.

the little boy was gone, all signs of little louis missing and only this teenage version was there.

20140506-060518.jpghe read from the torah beautifully.

he honored his family and friends.

he showed respect.

he showed appreciation.

i don’t know what REALLY should make a man, but those things are what really matter.

friday night was the shabbat service. we had a small, short-ish service. it was at that time that his mom, julie gave him his tallit (prayer shawl) that he will wear for the first time saturday morning when reading from the torah. this is the first time he will be able to wear one and carry on this tradition.  we had a wonderful family dinner afterwards, held at the synagogue and outdoors yet their group of friends and family are so warm that the feeling was incredible. you forgot you were outside you were so engulfed in pride and love.

saturday morning was the big day! louis assisted in leading the morning service and read his torah portion. he did amazing. it was obvious he’s worked hard to get there and that, no surprise he was a force to be reckoned with, just like he is on the ice playing hockey!!

we celebrated louis with a luncheon at the synagogue following the service and even there, i watched him and that little boy who would’ve been running around and being silly was not so little and not running around, but visiting with family and friends and accepting the accolades he earned and deserved.

saturday night was a small party for the kids and out-of-town family and very close friends. 20140506-060544.jpgi’m not gonna lie, they ALWAYS know how to throw a party! they don’t do it often, but when they do they are not easily forgotten!! complete with taco truck, green screen & photographs, an awesome music track that i thought was a DJ most of the night. oh, yes and a bar. with the most delicious pomegranate martini’s i *might* have had quite a few of! 😉

 

the weekend was amazing. and it’s times like this that i am so glad i live in so cal and can be part of these kids lives. not just on the big days but through it all. admittedly in the past few years our schedules aren’t in sync but i’ve gotten to see them grow and flourish on the day-to-day.

i will leave you with one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE louis stories. he has been and continues to be the most compassionate person. no matter how many times i’ve told this story in 10 years it never gets old to me!!

i have very curly hair that i mostly wear straight. and at that time, i apparently never wore curly around the boys. on a particular monday i had gone over to play and help out i was wearing my hair curly. if i remember correctly the day before my roommate/friend rachel and i had gone to a wine tasting in malibu and gotten caught in a torrential downpour, of LA proportions and therefore my hair wasn’t straight. okay, so most of that afternoon louis was not his usual loving self. he threw toys at me. he pulled my hair, he wasn’t nice. i realized he was uncomfortable with my new “look”, so i asked if he wanted to touch my hair. he did. he played with it. he asked 8239584 questions, as louis ALWAYS does btw, and he learned all he could about why exactly i came over looking like this. in the end, the best explanation was it was rainy and wet and i didn’t feel like taking the time to blow dry it.

we went about the rest of the evening with dinner, bathtime, tv, goodness knows what else. and as i’m walking out of his room and turning off the lights he says, “traci, maybe you shouldn’t come over and play anymore when it rains”.

even at 3 he had a kind heart and a sweet soul, and i hope he never loses that.

congratulations louis. i love you and am so very proud of you. xoxo T

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change of plans!!

i had every intention if sharing with you today about the VERY exciting weekend starting at 5pm today……..but I interrupt this previously planned post to tell you about a little scare I had yesterday!

before i start, i am absolutely fine now, but since it’s never happened before and could happen again or to any one of you I want to share so that you too can have some tips that hopefully you can remember in a pinch.

sunshineit turns out I had heat stroke. we are having temps in the 100’s right now, and unfortunately there’s no avoiding leaving the house when you have kids to pick up at school. and at our schools, sadly no carpool line, you park and walk, and wait, and go into the classroom to get the child and then walk back to your car. it is by no means a far distance but it’s a tad bothersome in the extreme heat. we are very fortunate that we can walk to and from school so most days that IS what I do because otherwise you have to get there 30 minutes early to get a parking spot, fun, right???

so yesterday i was feeling it was too hot to walk and didn’t want the baby in the direct hot sun while we walked, so we drove. we sat in the cold air-conditioned car until almost the very last second. we picked-up and then came straight home.

it’s about 2:45pm at this point and I’m getting the boys snacks, i felt a little off but was on a mission because i had 90-minutes before i had to get the kids in the car, go pick up at preschool and head to swimming lessons. i was very focused at the tasks at hand.

the baby was in his high chair, THANK GOD eating a snack. the kindergartener was doing his homework with his back to me but in the same room.

i started prepping dinner since when we got home from swimming it would be late and crankytown so while i may have chilled on the couch usually I was running around getting stuff done.

about 20-25 minutes after getting home as i’m assembling mini English muffin pizzas for the kids dinner i started suddenly feeling light-headed. so i drank my water, but as i moved to get it I immediately got a queasy, headachey, i may pass out feeling. something that’s never happened to me before and was feeling quite scary at that second.

my mind immediately goes into emergency resolve mode so i remember hearing to just sit down, so i did. they have tiled kitchen floor and passing out on it could have added injuries that no one needed!!!

*important fact*
since the first one was a baby i always keep my cell phone with me when the kids are here. i’ve always felt that since i’m an adult home alone with kids, it’s necessary just in case. i think i started it during bath times thinking god forbid anything happened while they’re in the bath i can’t be running all over looking for a phone. so pocket or no pocket when the kids are home the phone goes from room to room with me, and more for an outgoing need than trying to stay in touch!

ok, i digress. so I’m able to reach up to the counter and grab my phone and immediate text my BFF who’s a nurse. that’s when i knew something was very wrong because I couldn’t text. i mean eventually i got the message out but it took 12x the amount of time it should have. i knew she was busy so i texted the two other friends i had recently been texting with figuring they’d have tricks or suggestions even if they said call 911. (ones a teacher and the other a mom of two who suffers from frequent migraines and dehydration like i do.)

immediately the first friend responded……GET WATER AND A PIECE OF FRUIT NOW.

well i can’t reach that and i’m positive from my shakiness i don’t want to try standing mostly because i feared fainting and at least sitting on the floor the kids were supervised!

i am terrified of scaring the kids so i very calmly ask the kindergartener to get me a banana and hand me my water. he doesn’t ask why i’m on the floor and actually laughs thinking i’m kidding about the banana! once i convince him i’m not kidding, he gets me what i’ve asked for after i explain i’m feeling a little funny, he plops down next to me and says “feeling a bit wobbly are you? is it ok if i do my homework here next to you?” here I was worried about scaring him and he thought nothing of it, thank god.

after eating the banana (or 4 because the baby is yelling “share me, share me” from his high chair) and drinking some water & oj I feel a little better. my hands are still a little shaky so i stay sitting on the floor.

at some point i had the genius idea to wheel the baby in his high chair to the living room and put Sesame Street on for him, so i knew no matter what he was safe and entertained at this point. i realized i was still shaky so that’s when i plopped myself on the floor of the playroom area directly inline with where the strongest AC vent is, AND got advice from my teacher friend to take my shoes off, i of course had converse on. never would’ve crossed my mind but apparently feet trap the heat, so as soon as i get them off i feel the first signs of relief.

after an hour i definitely was not myself but felt confident enough that I was safe to drive to preschool pickup. had I not been, i had several ideas in mind……but i took it slow, drove side streets even though it’s only a mile away, i was doing a little better once we were in the car. i blasted the AC which of course didn’t hurt.

when we got back home I saw the temp on the thermostat still read 84 INSIDE the house even having run the AC all day. sadly this house gets amazing sun but with that comes major heat issues, but not usually until august!!

i made it thru the rest of my shift moving slowly and having very cooperative kids. when i left the house the thermostat was still at 80 INSIDE at almost 8pm.

i drove the mile home feeling VERY wobbly and sweaty hot. it took 90-minutes in 68 degree temps at my apartment for me to cool off. i am usually FREEZING at anything below 70 so this was another huge indicator how off my body temp was!

i am still very dehydrated but working on it and am taking it slow. nothing that needs to get done is as important as the kids and my health & safety! damn Type A personality wanting it get everything done quickly!!

the kids’ mom and i have a working plan in place and she gave me some great options so if driving is the biggest concern i know i always have help.

i also know now that i will be doing the following throughout this heat:

– drink lots of water and constantly carry ice & water filled thermos with us, even just from the car and back!

– when we get home i will get everyone plenty of fluids and sit in one of the rooms to cool off and not push myself (forgot to mention above i later realized that the kitchen has no vent, which could not have helped my situation!)

– as soon as we get home all shoes and socks come off!!

– and worse case scenario the baby and i hop into the shower and sit in there and cool off!

i’m very grateful it happened they way it did if it had TO happen! but sure hope it never does again!!!

come back tomorrow for the exciting family event happening this weekend! i’m so excited to share with you all. sig_pink

 

Posted in my own brand of crazy, uncategorized | 3 Comments