***NEW HOME for LB Living Better***

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a new logo — what do you think?

Hi Friends,

I have merged this blog with my new website:  www.lblivingbetter.com.

I appreciate all  the support, comments and conversations I have had with followers of this blog and I sincerely hope that you will click on this link and continue to follow at LB Living Better Out Loud.

If you prefer you can receive posts via twitter @LBLivingBetter or on Facebook!

Cheers, LB

p.s.  A new business card too…. what do you think?

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“Wait, STOP Dropping the Pumpkins!”

October means pumpkins. I have never looked at a pumpkin without thinking of my twins and their first horrifying, yet funny, visit to the pumpkin patch.

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Raising twins boys has its joys and challenges.  In my case, my twins are as polar opposite as you can get.  The best way I can describe these boys is to say that they literally “split up the genes in the womb”.  You take outspoken, and I will take pensive, you take natural athleticism, and I’ll take analytical genius, you go strawberry and I got chocolate, you get the picture.  

By three years old, I was parenting two very distinct personalities in my young boys ~ Twin A, a.k.a. “Clinger” and Twin B, a.k.a. “Runner”.  Clinger would not leave my side without a meltdown of epic proportions, while Runner looked for every opportunity to bolt.  So, on the occasion of the preschool field trip to the farm, you know that their mother would be there to chaperone.  

The field trip took place on a beautiful sunny day at an apple orchard and farm near our house.  After picking their own apples, and examining the many different kinds of gourds, we headed to the highlight of the trip, the pumpkin patch. The farmer brought us up to a large field with row after row of pumpkins.  After explaining how the pumpkins grew, he then released the kids to the patch to pick a pumpkin to bring home. 

Clinger didn’t move, he held tight to my pant leg as the rest of his class descended on the patch.  Runner, on the other hand, started down one of the aisles, moving quickly and with a fierce determination.  As he ran down the row, Runner began picking up pumpkins and putting them down (okay, dropping them, not “putting them down”). 

To my horror, he started to move faster and faster, grabbing pumpkins, looking at them and dropping them.  “Runner!”, “Runner!”, I yelled, but he was oblivious and the more pumpkins he grabbed the more upset he became.   Limping down the row with Clinger clutched firmly on my leg, I tried to catch up with my son. 

By the time I grabbed the back of his little overalls and turned him around, I could see that he was distraught.  “Wait, what are you doing, why are you dropping all of these pumpkins”, I yelled, probably a bit too loud since I was out of breath from chasing him. 

Runner turned, looked up at me and yelled right back, “I AM LOOKING FOR ONE WITH A FACE ON IT!”

                                Happy October!

Homework Battles – Two Tips to use Today!

Homework is here, homework is here, let the battles begin!  A few weeks into the school year and any novelty to the fresh new notebooks, pens and pencils has worn off.   It is homework time, day after day, night after night you dig in for a fresh battle with your child.  Here are two tips to aid in that battle and to make doing the homework a little bit easier.

TIP #1

Discuss where your child will do their homework and know that there really is no right or wrong answer here.   Every child and every situation is different so I desk_caddy_homework_helperrecommend brainstorming with your child where and under what conditions they like to do homework.  Just involving them in this process can relieve some of the “battles”.

Who says you can’t do homework in a tree or under the bed… as long as it is getting done!  Focus on the goals of completion and timeliness (i.e. don’t let the location distract from completing tasks).

Everyone is unique in their learning preferences, look at lighting, music, type of pen/pencil, lap desk or traditional desk and help your child decide what they think works best.  Changing it up every now and then can also help keep homework battles at bay.

The key to a successful location however is supplies.  Use a desk caddy that can travel with your child and holds everything they could need to complete an assignment.

Whether they do their work at the kitchen table (and I would estimate at least 80% do), on the floor of the bedroom or at an actual desk, make sure that they have everything they need within arms reach. This not only saves time but also for those prone to distraction, a trip around the house looking for a ruler can be disastrous. Don’t be afraid to store supplies somewhere unique like your kitchen cabinet, or under the bed they sit next to when doing homework.

TIP #2

Almost every student from 4th grade through high school is given an assignment notebook to begin the lovely process of learning to be responsible for homework and to plan for long-term assignments.

Use a binder clip on the used pages so when the student opens the book to write down assignments, voila, they are on the right page. Pure genius!binder_clips_school_supplies

This also works well for the dreaded workbooks, no flipping pages as they tear and fall out.

(Do have them refrain from putting a binder clip on their nose as it does hurt, a lot!)

Last but not least, it is THEIR homework. You have done your homework, and I assume if you are reading this, you passed.  Set them up for success and let them work.

For more help with organization and tips for working with your children, visit our website at www.lblivingbetter.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Busted for Plagiarism in 1974

It’s true, my life as a writer was derailed in the fall of 1974paper_school_story_writing by my third grade teacher.  I was caught plagiarizing and the truth is, I was guilty.  Not only that, it was one of those moments that I can recall like it was yesterday and I know it has had a profound impact “writing” life.

In my defense, the expectations were way too high for an eight year old.  A new three – four sentence story every day, really?  And, it had to have a picture to go with the story that filled the top half of the paper.

You remember story paper, one half has lines for neat printing and the other half is a giant blank space for the picture.  “Make sure you fill in all of the paper with your picture” said teachers everywhere.

If the diagnosis for ADHD existed back in the mid-seventies, I’m sure I would have been a candidate.  That being said, my teacher’s took care of my symptoms the old-fashioned way and found many reasons to send me out of the classrooms.

In third grade, my teacher discovered that I liked to write stories. (I was not so happy about the drawings, but apparently not bad at the story part.)  Each day I was given a blank piece of paper and told to write a story and THEN, the best part, I was allowed to go down to the kindergarten rooms and read my stories.

This little charade went quite well until that fateful day when I met writer’s block.  I couldn’t think of a story and I was desperate to get out of the room and visit the other classrooms.  So, I did what any anxious, hyper, third grader would do, I plagiarized a story and I got busted.

How can I remember something that happened nearly 40 years ago, because I got caught in the most mortifying way possible, in front of everybody.

I had watched an Easter special on television the night before and basically I retold the story as my own the following day.  I read that story to a room of kindergarteners and as soon as I finished a little red-haired boy in the second seat of the second row jumped up and yelled, I watched that story on television last night.

It got louder and louder with kids yelling out that they had seen that show too.  They were pointing and laughing.  I can see the teacher coming from the back of the room and asking if I had written the story.  I kept my head down and begged the black and white tile floor to suck me into the basement.  I can still feel the redness burning through my cheeks.

“Did you plagiarize this story?”  bellowed the teacher.  (I’m 8 years old lady, do I know what plagiarize means?)  “You can’t take someone else’s story and pretend it is yours.”  (Well aware of this fact right now.)  “You need to go back to your room.”  Without a word I bolted out the door and ran down the hallway to hide in a bathroom stall.

Eventually, I returned to my classroom and told my teacher that I didn’t feel like reading today.  She seemed preoccupied and didn’t ask me anymore questions, thank goodness for small favors.

Busted for plagiarism at age eight, a lesson learned and never forgotten.  I never wrote another story and English classes made me feel anxious right through college.  I have since recovered and learned to write again the first time I had to deliver a eulogy (click here to read more about my writing).

 

The Truth of About “Going Screen-Free” this Summer!

time_unplug_children_summerI wish I could say it was a great epiphany or the culmination of the study of great parenting journals that helped me arrive at the decision to go screen-free for the summer.  No, it was nothing like that at all, it was an honest to goodness, full-blown, hissy fit. One of those not to be proud of parenting moments wherein you make a loud, impactful declaration from which you cannot back down.  Such is the birth of our screen free summers! Continue reading

I got the Best Mother’s Day Card 16 years ago… | LB Living Better

I received the best mother’s day card 16 years ago, in 1998, on my first Mother’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, my kids have made me some absolutely lovely cards over the years, but it was the first card, the first year, presumably from my new infant daughter that still resonates with me today. Everything you will ever need to know about motherhood, you can learn from Kanga.

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“How do you learn to be a mom?” asked, Pooh. “You just follow your heart, ” answered, Kanga.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of my fellow Mom’s, whether it is your first or your 60th, enjoy your day and your family.

via I got the Best Mother’s Day Card 16 years ago… | LB Living Better.

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New Summer Bucket List 2014 – Download Today!

Crazy as it may seem, we are more inclined “to do something”, if we write it down. Using this principle, I set out to make our summers full of “doing” and the summer bucket list is as much fun to create as it is to complete!

summer bucket 2014Since my children were very little we have had a summer bucket list and we continue to use it with our teenagers today.  It’s a great way to get input from everyone ~ because no two “perfect summers” look the same!  We also go screen free from June 1st to September 1st hence the need for the list!  That will be a story for a future blog post!

Some years our list included elaborate vacation plans while other years we focused on a theme.  There was the year of the sea shell, the year of visiting and last year, was the year of travel.

The list has space for movies, people to see, things you won’t do this summer and more.  Children love to fill this out and you will be surprised how simple and easy some of their requests are to fulfill.  I hope you enjoy this activity with your family.  Love to hear what is on your bucket list!

 

 

Spin the Bottle….(i mean map!)

lblivingbetter:

It’s that Time of Year again…. have fun on your adventures!

Originally posted on LB Living Better:

images (4) The Kids are Home, the Kids are Home…Spring Vacation in New England!

Here is a fun, simple game I have played with my kids for years, when we cannot think of anything to do! Get out a map of your town, state, local area and place on a table. Have your child close their eyes. Spin the map and have your child drop their finger to stop the spin. That is your new destination. If you have multiple children you can vote, fight, or debate the options after each one tries (good luck letting only one of them do it). In the meantime, take the opportunity to show your kids the different elements of a map and how to read it (bonus education points).

You can set parameters prior to the spin – we are only doing an outdoor activity, we have to stay in a 50 mile radius, we…

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…the only mistake is not to begin (the irony of my tagline)

lblivingbetter:

I can’t believe it has been a year since I wrote this post. Makes me smile now to think how much I have learned! This year my new social media “jump” is Twitter. Please join me @lblivingbetter!

Originally posted on LB Living Better:

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I am a planner, there is no denying it, but sometimes you have to be a jumper. You can plan yourself to death, this I know. However if you are always planning than you are not actually doing. I can’t help but hear a very wise old priest, my uncle, saying “if you want to see God’s sense of humor, just tell him your plans!” So today I jumped, sort of by accident, but a jump nonetheless. I created a facebook page for the website and future book that I am writing. I sent the page to a few friends hoping they could give me some feedback, when they of course “liked” the page therefore making it public. After a quick panic, I realized that even though I write about organization, and emphasize to everyone that it is not about perfection, I somehow felt that this did not apply to…

View original 34 more words