Category Archives: Mama Mania

Travelpro Luggage could come in pretty handy next time we travel

My husband and I recently went to Mexico for a belated honeymoon. We didn’t have matching luggage, we didn’t have sturdy luggage, we just had random bags which we packed and hoped would withstand the trip. Let me explain why I’ll be participating in the TravelPro sweepstakes in hopes of scoring two Rollaboard bags and perhaps even 500,000 miles from the Delta SkyMiles program.

On our way back as we left Mexico and the security went through our luggage, I realized it would be nice to have bags which I didn’t have to cram things into. It would also be nice to have a set for ourselves which we could be able to point out more easily on the carousel.

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Enjoy your travels and make sure to plan many more trips!

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This post brought to you by TravelPro. All opinions are 100% mine.

Feeling inspired and wanting to share

Sharing with you a story I read today on my friend’s facebook wall. It inspired me and filled me with such warmth that I thought it best to pass it along. If only more people were so compassionate and selfless in our society today, we would be better for it. To my friend, you did a wonderful thing, you were an angel on Earth today.

So….I was driving to work today minding my own business around 8:30am. On Rt. 1 by the mall exit, a young Hispanic (Carlos, 24) was jumping up and down in the right lane, hysterically waving his arms. His desperation and frantic need for help were very apparent. I immediately pulled over, ready for the emergency. As i ran toward the white “fast n furious” wanna-be Mazda protege, i saw a young woman (Marta, 23) in a odd position in the passenger seat. I knew what emergency i had stumbled upon before i reached the car. Spanish flowed out of my mouth effortlessly. Both of the young couple were terrified. Carlos was standing paralyzed with fear behind me as I knelt at the open passenger door. For what ever reason they had not called 911. I barely had time to state the emergency and location before i told the dispatcher that i had to set the phone down. I pulled my t-shirt off just in enough time to catch the baby boy. I don’t even think that i checked to see if he was breathing, but i flipped him over and smacked him on the butt (because that is what you are supposed to do in the movies). I had never have been so happy to hear a baby cry. I am not sure how many minutes passed until the paramedics arrived, but it seemed like an eternity. I was nicely shooed out of the way and the paramedics did their thing. As Marta and the baby were carted passed me to the awaiting ambulance, she smiled at me. Carlos hugged me. I walked back to my truck with tears welling up in my eyes. Sunday November 20th 2011, is a day i will NEVER forget. I did not ask for my shirt back.

You declutter and I’ll organize

I try to declutter, I do. It’s all but impossible when you have two young kids. And now that Christmas is just around the corner I know the influx of new toys is inevitable. Even though our home already looks like a New York toy store, people will still buy toys and Santa will still deliver.

So the plan is to try and find new ways to organize the mess… I mean… the toys my boys love so dearly that they must leave them scattered all about the house.

This idea below is one I found on Pinterest. Cheap crates have been used here as shelves. Someone simply nailed them up on a wall and like magic there is now a clever array of cubes for your storing pleasure. Brilliant.

Also pictured you will find old books used as shelves. While some people might be appalled at the idea of using books as shelves, I say if you can find an old sturdy book at a yard sale or flea market and turn it into a shelf then by all means do it. I think this is a quaint idea and while it wouldn’t help you to organize much it could get some items decluttered or off the floor and also help you with your huge book collection.

Source: via Sonja on Pinterest

You know those mail holders you can often find in offices? Well why not pick some up at Staples or Target and use them at home? My kids have a ton of papers that I like to keep and my husband and I have papers all over the kitchen table and counter. I don’t want to throw them away and when I attempt to neatly stack them somewhere they end up all over the place by the end of week’s span. So get yourself a wall mount letter holder, they aren’t very expensive. Create a section of wall space for a couple of those and maybe a chalkboard like in the picture. There you go friends, now your papers are off the counter and table. Presto!

Last but not least, do not throw away the old cans you have from soup or chili or tomato puree! Keep them, clean them and paint them pretty colors! They are your friend and they can make delightful murals on your walls. After you have them cleaned and painted, put them on the walls and they become little holders. If put in your kids rooms they are the perfect size for scissors, crayons, or my personal favorite… little army men that I end up stepping on!

Let me know in your comments if you have any organizing and/or decluttering tips, I would love to hear them and I am sure everyone else would, too.

This is All Hallows Eve aka Samhain

Yes, Halloween is my favorite holiday above all others and I am incredibly excited each year to take the children trick-or-treating. Getting sick with fever and aches this weekend was not part of the plan and so I am sure I’ll be completely tuckered out by the end of the night, but I am not going to let it stop be. I’m also not sure why it has to be 30 degrees out on Halloween, but again, we will be sure to dress in layers and enjoy the tricks and treats.

In the photo below you will see three goofballs, I am in the middle. Kermit is a contributing writer, Adam Thomas and the “Painter with an Afro” is our friend Juan. We all work in what is affectionately known as the Townsend Dungeon. Really, we work in a converted lab, now office area, in the basement of Townsend Hall on the UD campus. We are half underground, half above ground so when we look out the window we are eye level with the grass and look straight into the brick wall of the stairs leading up into the first floor grand entrance of the building. We like the dungeon, it’s quiet unless we play loud music or are laughing about one of Adam’s animal playing an instrument youtube videos. These guys are great friends and I’m honored to be working with them every day.

Bad @ss group

Samhain is another name for this amazing time of year. Samhain, means “End of Summer”, and is the third and final Harvest. It is generally celebrated on October 31st, but some traditions prefer November 1st. It is one of the two “spirit-nights” each year, the other being Beltane. It is a magical interval when the mundane laws of time and space are temporarily suspended, and the Thin Veil between the worlds is lifted. Samhain is not, and never was, associated with evil or negativity. It has always been a time to reaffirm our belief in the oneness of all spirits, and in our firm resolution that physical death is not the final act of existence. Though death is very much a part of Samhain’s symbolism, this Sabbat also celebrates the triumph of life over death.

Some legend for you…

Halloween, All Hallows Eve, or Samhain (for those of Celtic descent, pagans or Wiccans), is associated with many customs, not just going door-to-door asking for candy.

The origin of Halloween dates back over 2,000 years and is often attributed to the Celts who lived in what is now Ireland.

The legend of the most familiar Hallowe’en symbol–a lighted pumpkin–comes from a tale of an old Irish miser named Jack. Jack made several pacts with the devil. He also tricked the devil. When he died, he could not get into Heaven for his sins and because he had tricked the devil, he could not get into Hell. The Devil gave him a coal and Jack placed it in a hollowed out turnip, which lit his way as he wandered the earth until Judgment Day.

These lit up turnips of ancient times were also said to help ward off evil. Pumpkins, native to America, were plentiful and took the place of turnips.

Printables to download for Halloween:

[Click for coloring page]

[Click for coloring page]


Perhaps you desire your very own “WANTED” poster? Or you would like to create a “WANTED” poster that represents a certain sibling of yours? Hahaha.
Character Wanted Poster (pdf)


[Download Vampire Mask (pdf)]


[Print Small Broom Parking Poster]


[Monsters vs Aliens Printable Maze]

Ways to Help the Angry Child

While no person or no family can be anger-proof there are ways you can help your child get a handle on anger.

1. Help your child have inner peace
Research has shown, and our experience supports the observation, that connected children and their parents get angry with each other less. The connected child, growing up with a sense of well- being, has peaceful modeling. He will get angry, but he learns to handle the anger in such a way that it does not take over his personality. Connected parents know their children well, so they are less likely to create situations that provoke them and their children to anger. Attached parents know they don’t have to be harsh to be in control.

The unconnected child operates from inner turmoil. Down deep this child feels something important is missing in his self and he is angry about it. (This feeling may continue into adulthood.) This void is likely to reveal itself as anger toward himself and parents, placing everyone at risk for becoming an angry family.

2. Don’t let your child stuff anger
Encourage your child to recognize when he is angry, starting with the toddler. Be an attentive listener, helping your child work through feelings. Given a willing audience that shows empathy rather than judgment, children will often talk themselves out of their snits. Our eight-year-old, Matthew, insisted on watching a certain TV program. I disagreed, and he became angry. Matt felt that he absolutely had to watch the program. I felt that the program content was harmful to his growing self and to family harmony. I listened attentively and nonjudgmentally while Matt pleaded his case. After he had made his appeal, I made mine. With calm authority, I made my own points, while conveying to Matt that I understood but did not agree with his viewpoint. I asked him probing questions, such as: “What about the program is so important to you?” “Could you think of an activity that is more fun than watching this program?” “Matt, do you understand why I don’t want you to watch it?” “Are you just bored? If so, I have an idea…” Gradually Matt realized that this program was not worth getting so worked up about. As the dialogue continued, his eyes dried and his reddened face relaxed. I’m sure his pulse rate was coming down, too. We ended this encounter with a chuckle about how he had let such a stupid program upset him. We went out and played catch instead.

3. Look beneath the “bad” kid
The habitually misbehaving child is usually an angry child. If your child seems “bad” all the time or you “don’t know what else to do” or your child seems withdrawn, search beneath the surface for something that is angering your child. In counseling parents of these children, I have found two causes: Either there is a lot of family anger – mother and/or father is on edge all the time and the child incorporates these feelings as part of himself; or the child feels angry because his sense of well- being is threatened. Helping children who misbehave repeatedly or seem “bad” more than “good” usually begins with a total family overhaul. Take inventory of the influences in your child’s life. What builds up his self-esteem? What tears it down? What needs are not being met? What inner anxiety is at the root of the anger? Anger is only the tip of the iceberg, and it warns of needs to be dealt with beneath the surface.

Inner anger often causes a child to withdraw. In a struggle to ward off attacks on a shaky self-image, this child puts on a protective shell. On the surface he may seem calm, but underneath a tight lid is a pressure cooker of emotions needing to be channeled or recognized. To keep the lid on, the child withdraws, avoiding interaction that might set him off. This is why we advise getting behind the eyes and into the mind of your child – things may look different from that perspective.

It’s devastating for a child to feel that she is a “bad kid.” Unless that feeling is reversed, the child grows up acting the part. To get the “bad” feeling out of your child, intervene with a reassuring “You’re not bad, you’re just young, and young people sometimes do foolish things. But Daddy is going to help you stop doing them so you will grow up feeling like you are the nice person I know you are.” This sends a message to your child that you care enough to find the good child beneath the bad behavior.

4. Laughter – the best medicine for anger
Humor diffuses anger and keeps trivial upsets from escalating. Our kids love spaghetti – the messier the sauce, the more they love it. Once at dinner we left the older kids in charge of the two- and five-year-old, who were dawdling over their messy meal. As often happens in large families, the oldest child delegated responsibility to the next oldest and so on down the line: “You watch the kids…” Lauren and Stephen were ultimately left unsupervised, and a spaghetti frenzy ensued. When we discovered the stringy mess we scolded the older kids for allowing it to happen. While we yelled at them, they yelled at each other. Lauren and Stephen peered up at their angry elders, sauce covering their cheeks and foreheads and spaghetti in their hair. We all began to laugh, and worked together, in good spirits, to clean up the kids and the mess. Now when we delegate authority, we’re more careful to be sure the appropriate-aged child really is on duty.

5. Model appropriate expressions of anger
Anger that is expressed inappropriately blocks your ability to discipline wisely. For example, your four-year-old does something stupid. She covers the dog with spaghetti sauce, and the dog bounds off into the living room leaving orange-red paw prints on the white carpeting. This is not the time to blow your top. The more aggravating the deed, the more you need a clear head to evaluate your options in handling the misbehavior. Each situation is different, and you must be able to think straight to choose the reaction that best fits the action. Being in a state of rage clouds your thinking. Your unthinking expressions of anger cause the situation to escalate. You hit the dog (which causes him to run through more rooms leaving more sauce behind); you spank the child and send him to his room (which leaves you, still seething, to clean up the mess alone). By the time the episode is over everyone feels abused. An approach less draining on everyone requires a level head and a dose of humor: quickly grab the dog and head for the bath tub, calling for your child to come along (in the most cheerful voice possible) to help de-sauce the dog and then the rug. Your child learns how you handle a crisis and how much work it is to clean up a mess. A temper tantrum from you can’t undo the childish mess, it can only add to it.

Anger puts a barrier between parents and child. Our children taught us this lesson. We saw a distance developing between us and our seventeen-year-old, Peter. We weren’t communicating comfortably with each other. Our then fourteen- year-old daughter said, “He stays in his room to escape the yelling. He’s afraid you’ll get angry and yell.” We hadn’t thought of ourselves as an angry, yelling family, but Peter felt we were and so he recoiled from family interaction to preserve his peaceful self. This quote from Hayden explains in a nutshell why anger creates distance, especially in a child like Peter, who has a laid-back temperament. Hayden’s openness prompted us to reevaluate our show of emotions. We called a family meeting, acknowledged that yelling seemed to be a problem we needed to deal with, apologized for this failing, and discussed how that would change.

Also, we wanted our children to feel comfortable approaching us, no matter what they had done or how they felt. So we promised to eliminate the fear factor: “Here’s the deal. Your mom and I promise not to yell at you as long as you talk to us. We will listen calmly to anything you tell us. We will not yell.” This did not happen overnight, and we still “blow it” from time to time. When this happens, we apologize and move on. Displays of anger scare children and put them on the defensive. They will either retreat into a protective shell or grow to have an angry personality themselves. Once we removed the barrier of fear, Peter came out of his room. And we continue to work on our communication. We’ve learned to calmly say, “I get angry when you…” Children and spouses need to know what makes you angry. They don’t need to have your anger spewed all over them.

Small children are devastated by the sight of big, scary, out-of-control daddy or raging mommy. They fear that the parent will stop loving them, hurt them, or leave. You don’t want your child to have to squelch the flow of his normal feelings because he’s frightened of what he might set off in you. Adults should be responsible for controlling themselves. The child should not be put in a position where he starts to feel responsible for controlling your rage. This sets up very dysfunctional patterns as your child grows. If your anger is out of control and scaring your child, seek help! You need to learn that it is not wrong to feel angry, even as an adult (remember—you have a heartbeat). Unfortunately, many of us as children were taught that anger is bad, sinful, or very frightening. Anger itself is not right or wrong—it is a normal response. It’s what we do with anger that can be very wrong. Staying calm in the face of any feeling (anger, fear, even love) is a measure of emotional maturity. Your child will learn how to handle his anger by watching you. Our goal is to acknowledge and communicate our feelings (so our children know we are real people) and at the same time model to them the kind of real people we want them to become.

If you and your child have a healthy relationship, you don’t have to worry that an occasional emotional outburst will harm your child. In fact, it’s healthy for a child to know you’re annoyed or angry. Honest communication sometimes requires honest anger that does not frighten or shame the child. Here is how one mother (she and her child have a healthy attachment) used healthy anger to get through to her child:

Discipline story. When my son was three, I was totally exasperated with his behavior one day. He was in what my husband and I call “a dip” — a temporary low spot in maturity and judgment on his life road. He was being exceptionally testing that day, and after repeated time-outs, which apparently meant nothing to him, exile to his room was the next step. I sat him on his bed. He raced me to the door. I tried it again a bit more firmly (as though there was some sort of adhesive on his pants that wasn’t working properly). He did the same thing again (of course). I sat him on the bed again, a little too firmly, I felt, and was angry at myself. I sat on the bed with him, and was angry clear through, so I said very loudly, “Listen! Do you think this is a fun game for me? It isn’t! In fact, I hate it! Do you know why I am here! Do you know why I’m going to keep it up until you get it right? Because I love you, and I’m not just going to stand by and watch you grow up and act like a jerk!” I was livid and couldn’t even stop myself from shouting the words, “I love you” in total anger.

But when Sammy heard the word “jerk” he laughed. It wasn’t a giddy what’s- going-to-happen-to-me-now kind of laugh, it was a sincere giggle at something funny. I realized then that he had never heard the word ‘jerk’ before. What did he think it meant? Taken literally, I suppose it must have conjured up a pretty comical mental picture. This little levity, though, gave us the needed opportunity to talk calmly and resolve the issue with quiet ‘I love you’s’ and hugs, then he completed the required time-out in his room, followed by more love and hugs.

My point in relating this story is you can read all you want about how to teach your children what is right, but in the heat of the battle when your wits are at their end, you’re going to revert to just being yourself and saying what you think on a gut level. This is risky, of course, and potentially damaging if it gets out of hand. Yet when your relationship with your child is based on a solid attachment, letting yourself go will most often work to your advantage. Sometimes sincerity is the only thing that will penetrate even the toughest brick wall that stubborn children set up.

6. Lighten up the perfectionist
Children need to learn that it’s all right to goof. You can lighten up the uptight child by modeling ways to handle mistakes. You spill your coffee, you laugh it off, “I guess I win the Mr. Messy award today.” You don’t rant and rave when you leave the shopping list at home. Children learn that adults mess up, too. It’s all right to mess up and it’s normal not to be perfect. This is especially true of the perfectionist who may feel that approval—and therefore his value—depends on error-free living at home and at school. We realized that Matthew was very hard on himself when he didn’t get a task done perfectly at home or at school. We realized he was picking up on our tendency to become angry at our own mistakes. once he saw us lightening up on ourselves, he lightened up on himself. Mistakes are a good way to learn, and we do a lot of learning in our family. When one of us makes a mistake, someone is sure to comment: “Now, what can we learn from this situation?” If the anger button gets pushed this won’t work. Be careful not to react in an angry way when someone spills his milk or tears his pants. Just say, “Now what can we learn from this?” Then, maybe even have a laugh over it. The laugh part will take a lot of work, though, if you were punished angrily for every mistake you made as a child.

Dare I speak about something personal on scrink?

I think I must. Before I pull anymore hair out, even if they are the gray hairs.

So I am creating a new category and I’m going to share it on twitter or on facebook while keeping it off the frontpage of, at least for now.

We’ll see how it goes and if I even keep up with it.

You may or may not know I have two kids, Finnegan and Braeden, ages two and seven respectively. Both of which are going through some sort of aggressive, frustrating stage in their life during which they feel the need to either yell at me for no apparent reason, cry at the drop of the hat as if it’s their time of the month OR hug me because I’m worthy of all their love and attention.

Tonight it’s the frustrating, aggressive mood on both accounts and I’ve sent my seven-year-old up to his room. I just cannot tolerate how he talks to me. He is inexcusably disrespectful on a near regular basis these days and I’ve had it up the HERE! Now, I’m pretty short but I’m on tip toes and stretching to reach really high right now, I mean, UP TO HERE!

Meanwhile I’m not getting any sleep because Finnegan won’t sleep in his bed through the night. He gets up 3 or 4 times each night, runs into my room, flings himself up on the bed and across me and then begins sucking his thumb as if he is going to cuddle right in and sleep right there half on my head, half on my pillow and all up in my business.

Lack of sleep. Lack of wits about me. This means physically being ill. True. My immune system is at an all time low. I’ve been to the doctor three times, maybe four this month alone and am on yet another course of antibiotics. Simple sinus infection, nothing big, but it’s draining me. I’m run down, I’m exhausted and it shows in every sense of the word. I get to work and go to meetings and I kid you not at one meeting a lady actually gave me advice about putting a spoon in the freezer so that it would be cold and in the morning it would help bring down the puffy bags under my eyes. Hahahahaha, thanks unnamed lady, so glad you noticed and commented on my lack of sleep. Now let me tell you where I’ll be sticking my frozen spoon.

Where is my husband in all of this? Mostly working. He has been working 12 and 14 hour shifts on a pretty consistent basis these days. When he does have off he is tired, too. So much so that he doesn’t even come up to bed. He falls asleep on the sofa every night. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. I want my husband in bed with me at night. Sure I might be asleep when he comes up at midnight but at least when I roll over at some point he will be there snoring, I find an odd comfort in that. And yet, most nights he isn’t there…not cool.

So today I had a doctor’s appointment, he gave me oral steroids, that’ll kick some sinus infection ass! But before filling that prescription, I stopped at Whereabouts Cafe for a delicious Creme Brulée Latte ;)

Hey, if I have to go back to work the only kind of self medication which would suffice was something sweet frothy.

See kids, this is why we eat our veggies

I get the Rachel Ray magazine. Yes. I do.

And the issue for March came in the mail yesterday. It had such YUM-O sounding recipes and so I decided I am going to make dinner tonight for my parents. Braeden has decided he is going to help me. =o)

We needed ingredients. Fresh mozarello. EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil). Capacolla. Pasta. Vodka Sauce. Bread crumbs. Deeee-lish. While walking around I came across a new kind of broccoli bites, which didn’t at all fit with the menu but I bought them anyway.

**cut to making my own commercial**

A woman with brown hair in a ponytail and cute chunky glasses on came up to me and asked me why I picked those broccoli bites. I told her that my son and I are cooking together tonight and I thought they would be fun. In addition, I love broccoli bites. She asked if she could put a recorder on and ask me some questions. I said okay…

Apparently I impressed her, because the next thing I knew another woman was there and Braeden and I were going to get paid $150 to film ourselves making the bites and then eating them. They gave me $25 today and after I send back the digital video camera they will send the other $125. The only other thing I need to do is fill out the question sheet that came with the camera which basically asks what my eating habits are and if I enjoy cooking, yada yada.


Never a normal day in the life of Christy. But who knows, maybe this could be Brae’s big break. I don’t think he cared too much though, because they gave him a sheet of stickers and then he was all smiles. Haha.

Plug for the brand…Green Giant.