Hurried Homemaker

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Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

August 9th, 2013 by Rhiana

Preparing a Child for Surgery

Knowing that your child needs surgery, no matter how major or minor, is gut-wrenching for us parents. And we can’t even imagine what goes through the heads of our precious little ones. Not too long ago, we found out that our youngest needed surgery (a minor one albeit). I’m not going to lie, I’d have rather eaten a worm than tell her. We are quite fortunate that reason works well with her, as her level of intelligence allows for that. Her anxiety, on the other hand, is a whole different ball game. Add to that a medical condition which makes anesthesia complicated, and you have a very freaked-out Mama on your hands.
I have a few simple tips for helping your child prepare for surgery:
  1. Get the facts. Know what is going down so that you can explain it all in a positive, kid-friendly way. 
  2. Use your judgement when talking to your child. (Example – if you know your child is a control freak, you may opt out of telling them that anesthesia will put them to sleep.)
  3. Be sure to talk with your doctor so that everyone is on the same page about the verbiage you wish to be used with your child!
  4. This may seem obvious, but relay EVERY medical condition that you are aware of. A good doctor will be thorough will all info that you provide. (Our anesthesiologist had never heard of our daughter’s condition before, as it is rare. Had I not researched the condition+ anesthesia, I would have never known that receiving Nitrous Oxide could have killed her. Our anesthesiologist was grateful that I shared this and did his own research as well. We spoke nearly every day leading up to surgery to develop a plan that was safe for her and we both felt comfortable with.)
  5. Do a walk-through. If the facility will allow it, take a practice tour of exactly what you’ll do each step. Start in the waiting room, go through the area where they weigh & take temps. Then walk to the surgical room. And on to the recovery room. Seeing it all beforehand makes it much less scary!
  6. Don’t lie! They will likely have some pain or discomfort afterwards – don’t tell them that it won’t hurt.
  7. Practice. People coming at you with blue head coverings. Breathing into a mask. It can all be a very scary thing for kids (and the gas STINKS!). Play a game by putting on your own hair coverings and using a surgical mask (like this one) to breathe in and out of. Take turns being the nurse and the patient. And the masks can be used again for dress-up play later!
  8. Stay calm. When you freak out, your kids notice. Leave the waterworks for the waiting room.
We made it through with lots of preparation and prayer. (You better believe I cried and prayed throughout the entire surgery! I either converted the whole room or they thought I was a lunatic.) But when it came time for recovery, I was calm and ready to help her wake up. She had a great experience, thanks to the wonderful medical staff and their willingness to help make it go as smooth as possible. Now, she wants to be an emergency room doctor!
June 21st, 2013 by Rhiana

Day of Crazy Parenting (not by me): Part 2 – What Are They Thinking?

We followed up that interesting Costco visit with coming home to find out that the AC went kaput. It wasn’t a shock. Our house was built in the 50′s and it is likely that the AC unit that we have had is from then, as well. We met hubs for dinner before he met up with his bus for the road and I shared the news. Well, he spoils us, so he immediately booked us a room at the Hilton in Downtown Nashville. [They even let us bring our dog!]

We decided to make the most of it! Have a girls’ night out! The kids were thrilled, and honestly I was excited too. So we checked in, showered, turned on the TV. We do not have “regular” TV at home. I mean, we have Netflix and Hulu – so we still can watch stuff – but I am pretty careful about what we spend our time watching. I prefer for it to be educational and/or wholesome entertainement.

So, the kids nodded off and I turned on Lifetime. OMG. I just wasted 10 minutes of my life watching Pretty Wicked Moms. I couldn’t watch any more than 10 minutes. What a horrible show! PLEASE tell me this is scripted! No one is really this dense, stuck-up, and self-absorbed … RIGHT?

In the few minutes I could stomach, this Emily/Queen Bee person (who apparently has a look-alike or twin or something that never leaves her side) admitted to rarely taking her kid to school [so little that she couldn't rememember how to get into the building] and almost never picks the child up on time. And upon drop-off (late, mind you) she begs the staff not to tell her husband that she was late … or that she forgot to bring the kid last week. Stellar.

I couldn’t handle more than a few minutes. I was disgusted. This is what we celebrate? Parents so self-absorbed that they can’t be bothered to be on time to pick up their kids from school? So consumed with whatever is going on in that seemingly empty head that they have no respect for other people’s time? And so mind-numbingly shallow that they aren’t concerned with the example they set for their children? Whoever her husband is must be so [insert eye-roll here] proud. Or he’s also just shallow.

Now, maybe I just caught the worst of the show in the 10 minutes that I watched tonight, but I’m guessing the majority of the show is similar. (And I only saw a few minutes, so I could only comment on one of the “characters’.) I am just sad that in America, we are so proud to celebrate poor-to-mediocre parenting … well, as long as it is done by a semi-attractive-plastic-like woman. What are they thinking by putting this crap on TV?

June 21st, 2013 by Rhiana

Day of Crazy Parenting (not by me): Part 1 – What Would You Do?

So, today was the weirdest day in a while. It was only the second day that the kids and I have felt up to doing anything following the cold we picked up at CMAFest. We headed out this morning about 11am to run some errands. It was exhausting. The kids would rather be at the pool. I’m worried I’m picking up the wrong water for the hub’s bus. Let me tell you a little story about the end of our Costco visit …

There we are, sitting in the food court at Costco. I broke down and let the kids have lunch there since it was, well, lunchtime. We sit and eat. And then I hear, “Well, it isn’t that hard. Just type whatever you need to say right here. You won’t even need to use it. You’ll be fine.” I look to my left to see a mother and her 2 boys (maybe 8 and 4?). She is telling the kids that she is going to do the shopping while they sit there and eat. The oldest is whining “I’m scared, don’t go.” She is getting mad at him. “Mommy, just don’t go. I’m scared!” She gets more upset. She tells him he is worried over nothing. She then follows with quickie instructions on the universal sign for choking, etc. Way to reassure him, Mom! She takes off.

I decided I would sit there and watch over these kids until their mom got back. How scary! The door isn’t far away. Realistically, someone could just come in, grab them, and leave in moments. I won’t let that happen. My kids are even appalled. My 11yo is telling me how not safe it is that this mom has left these kids here. I thought and thought and thought. What could I say to her when she comes back? What can I possibly say that won’t sound judgey? Because honestly – I’m judging. I can’t believe she got mad at the kids for [rightfully] being scared to be left alone in a busy store.

Then, I realize something. Maybe she was just having a bad day. Maybe this isn’t usually how she parents. Maybe something really horrible is going on in her life, and she really just couldn’t wait for these boys to finish their lunch. I decided that she didn’t need any judgement. She needed some grace. And so, when she came back, I got up and left. And said a silent prayer for her and those boys.

What would you have done?

March 7th, 2013 by Rhiana

Family Game Night

We have never had a dedicated “game night” at our house. We don’t do family time with any kind of schedule … we prefer to just let it flow, naturally. When my husband is out of town over the weekends, the girls and I usually do a Friday night movie. When he is in town, we usually wind up playing a game a few nights a week. We thought it would be hard to find games that both our kids would enjoy, given their age difference (they are 11 and 4). But, we just started trying out games and found success with Uno, Go Fish, Sorry, Rumikub, Chinese Checkers, Monopoly, and Clue.

The other morning, my oldest had the idea of Charades. What a fantastic idea! But we would have to find a way to make it work for everyone. So, the girls and I sat down and came up with a list of shows/movies that they both are familiar with. We developed a list of 8 shows/movies, so that everyone would get 2 turns – seemed like a good idea for the first night.

I realized that there were probably a couple words that my 4yo would not be able to read and included a picture along with the title. This helped keep the game focused on fun, not on reading.


Monday Night: Following dinner, everyone worked together to clear the table. While hubby & I did dishes and caught up from the day, the girls got ready for bed. We all met in the living room for our first family game of charades. After going through all 8 titles, the little one was so jazzed, she asked to do it all again. And so we did. What fun!

So guess what? Tuesday morning, the girls and I decided it was definitely happening again. This time, we chose 16 book titles. Another night of family charades success!

The best part? Yesterday, while I was making dinner, I heard my girls in the other room playing charades! This will definitely be something we add into our game rotation!

January 15th, 2013 by Rhiana

Gold Coin System

Being a home schooling family has its advantages, more free time being one of them. I love that my kids choose much of their free time to play creatively – making up puppet shows, creating their own scenes as characters from their favorite books/shows, creating music videos on their iPads, writing songs using their voices and instruments, and so much more! But there are also all these wonderful technological devices that we so love – the iMac, their own iPads, the Apple TV (can you tell we’re an Apple family?) – that can be distractions from using their creative little minds. We decided that even thouh the kids didn’t watch much TV, they were beginning to spend more time than necessary on their other devices. We found a way to limit that technology-time. Enter … the Gold Coin System!

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  • Gold coins bought in the education section of my local office supply store
  • An old lunchbox/cookie tin-like container
  • 2 candle holders spray-painted with chalkboard paint (each kid’s name is on their jar)


Gold coins are NOT earned for performing their decided-upon home responsibilities (some of you call these “chores”). Why? Because we are a family and we ALL live in this house. Therefore everyone must contribute.

Also, coins cannot be bargained for (“If I do XYZ, can I get 2 coins?”).

Coins ARE earned for  …

  • Going above and beyond the call of duty (ex – instead of just putting books back on shelf, noticing that the shelf is getting messy and straightening it up)
  • Being especially helpful to a sibling, parent, friend, or stranger
  • Doing something positive out of their comfort zone (for our youngest, this is stuff like initiating a conversation with a new person, trying something new, etc)
  • Oftentimes we give coins when we notice excellent teamwork
  • Taking care of their responsibilities without being asked to do so
  • Other times at our discretion

Coins can be spent as follows (all are with permission first):

  • 1 coin/10 mins of technology time (approved games and websites only)
  • 2 coins/show (most shows are 20 mins) *
  • Occasionally coins can be cashed in for stuff – items in the $1 bin at Target, Target gift cards (read about how we started that here)  a sweet treat, or other “want” (new nail polish, etc)
  • Stay up a little later

Coins can be lost! Being nasty to a sibling, disrespectful to a parent or other authority figure, refusing to perform responsibilities, etc. – these are all ways to lose a coin.

* We like to have a family movie night (at home). When we do, we choose a day in which everyone has been well-behaved and no one turns in coins for these family-movies. These are a gift!

It has been really fun and interesting to watch how each of them uses their coins. Our oldest loves to save hers up, while the little one would use them up as fast as she gets them if we’d let her. It has been great for all of us … even more family time, lots of creative play, and less technology time and “I wants”.

Do you try to curb the “I wants” and use of technology at your house? Tell us about it in the comments below!
All items mentioned in this post are things I do/have purchased with our own money. None of the companies mentioned in this post are sponsors.


September 24th, 2012 by Rhiana

Kid Rewards

We do not give our kids an allowance or reward for doing “chores” around the house. Matter of fact, we rarely even use that word. It is our opinion that our kids should participate in the upkeep of the home because, well, they live here too. We feel that we are teaching our kids to contribute to the running of a home – and this will serve them well as they have roommates and, eventually, spouses. Each kid has different responsibilities that they have to take care of. They also have several that we require that they do together, as a team.

We also do not reward for “good” behavior. We feel that if you only behave to earn a reward, you aren’t doing it for the right reasons. We strive to raise our kids to WANT to do the right thing, and to do it. No reward needed.

That being said, we DO like to reward for above-and-beyond help and exceptionally helpful behavior. Sometimes it is just a “Thank you so much for your extra work this week. We really noticed it and it was awesome to have all that extra help! You rock!” Sometimes, we grab a frozen yogurt and tell them how thankful we are over a sweet treat. And sometimes, it is a $5 gift card to Target.

The gift card is definitely one of my favorites! I always keep two on hand and love to see their faces light up when I dole them out. Even more fun? Watching them trying to choose how to spend their precious $5! And, of course, it is awesome to see math skills at work in a real life situation.

What is your special way of thanking your kids?


This post is not sponsored by Target. However, it is fully endorsed by my kids – who have just successfully chosen some cool toys with their recent aquisition of a $5 Target gift card each.

March 30th, 2012 by Rhiana

Mommy Vent: Where is my brain?

I love staying home with my kids. I really do. But … stick with me here … and please tell me I’m not the only one …


I mean, it is bad enough that I have to (gasp!) AGE. But now I have to go and get all half-witted too? I mean, where are the witty retorts? the grown-up words? And what happened to the ability to create an entire sentence without (a) saying “um” because my memory was clearly delivered along with that second baby; and (b) without being interrupted by phrases like “Sweetie, Mommy doesn’t want to tell you not to do that again” or “Sweetie, if I have to ask you to stop texting and set the table again …” or “Sweetie, go wash your hands – that was nasty!” or “Sweetie …” (I think you get the idea!)

My IQ has always lurked fairly up there, but now? I’m not so certain. And yes, I realize that this is not a ringing endorsement for the fact that I home school. But I’m not talking about book smart. I have always been that. Probably always will be. I am talking about that loss of the super-smart, educated sounding, eloquence in daily conversation. Maybe that is because I mostly speak to children?

I was chatting with a girlfriend the other day (she works full-time and is an awesome mommy, too) and I got off the phone and thought: “Damn she’s smart! I feel so dumb right now. Seriously, dumb. Was I that smart when I worked, too? Maybe I should go back to work. Oh heck no. I’d rather be dumb.”

February 29th, 2012 by Rhiana

Don’t look at me like that!

Killing time between school and ballet class the other day, I decided to take the girls to the mall for a little girl time. I really don’t enjoy the mall, per se, but I never mind browsing the Free People section of any given department store. And my 3yo? She shops like she’s been handing over a black AmEx since birth. But, I digress …

There we were, walking through the store to the kids section and they just HAD to put Free People right there, on the way. And so I stopped. I browsed. It lasted all of 2 minutes. The little one thought it would be funny to hide behind a maxi dress. The oldest decided to sneak up on her. Upon being found, the little one shrieked in both shock and excitement.

That’s when it happened. I got “the look” from an older lady browsing nearby. You know “the look”? The one that says “you should be so ashamed of that child”. And it wasn’t just “the look”. NO! She did the head shake too. Oh, the horror on her face!

I was tempted to say something to her. Very tempted. But then I realized that she was likely a woman who had never had children. Because anyone who has ever had a child, and taken that child in public, would never give that look. Because anyone who has ever had a child, and taken that child in public more than once, has like had their child do something loud, or obnoxious, or rude, or inappropriate. And anyone who has ever had a child would’ve likely given me that knowing mom glance.

It wasn’t all bad. While I chose not to say anything to the dragon lady, the sales lady and another shopper said plenty … by laughing hysterically.

January 15th, 2012 by Rhiana

Pink Party!

The little one turned 3 on New Years Eve … and how did she wish to celebrate? With her favorite color, of course – PINK. She specifically requested a PINK PARTY and even chose the dress that the theme was centered around (a multi-pink ruffly number from Gap Kids). We put pink everywhere – pink lemonade, pink cups, pink candy-filled jars with pink rock candy arrangements, pink balloons and pink tissue paper flowers, pink cake, pink dress, pink wand and crown, and even a pink-iced cookie tree. I had pinned a pink ruffly cake a while back on Pinterest, but she saw another pink cake I pinned and decided at the last moment that she wanted it instead. That exact cake. And she got it. The only way it could have gotten any pinker was if I’d painted the walls. She absolutely adored it, as did I, so I wanted to share a few pics with y’all.


May 12th, 2011 by Rhiana

Summer Reading Programs for Kids & Parents

The summer before our oldest was going into kindergarten, she expressed a BIG interest in reading. Never having taught someone to read before, we were at a loss as to what to do. Lucky for us, a college nearby was hosting a reading program for different age groups, beginning with 4yo and rising kindergarteners. And so we signed up.

It was a 5 or 6 week program. We spent maybe 2 hours on a Saturday morning there. They provided the materials and a cd. We showed up, paid attention, and practiced during the week. After the class and continued practice, she was reading before she ever went to kindergarten. She was 4 years old. Not only did the class help us work with her, but it sparked in her a love of reading that she continues to possess today.


I hope that if you, or someone you know, has a little one that wants to read – or even an older child that needs or wants help with reading and reading comprehension – you will check out the Institute of Reading Development website and find a class near you. No matter how hurried you may be, the few hours of work that this takes have a lifetime of positive results!

Hurried Homemaker was in no way compensated for this post.

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