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10 Steps for Fun Camping, Even at Home!

22 Mar

This weekend I went camping and I had a great time. I also realized that camping is such a great activity for kids. While I think it is wonderful to take the kids for a weekend and go “for real camping” like out in nature, tent, fishing, in the woods, making fire with your bare hands (joke), this is also an activity that you can do at home. Maybe you don’t have the time to take the time off for the weekend and plan such a trip or maybe you are babysitting just for an evening camping can be for any one at any time. This can also be a learning experience for the kids. Here is how to camp at home.

Just take the basic ideas of camping and make them happen at home.

1. Collect everything you need including tent, food, bedding, fishing poles, flash lights, etc. This can be a learning experience helping them to understand what you need for camping. If you want to get really intense here is a fun check list that I found online. Intense Camping Checklist

2. Set up the tent either in the back yard or over their own bed. Tents can be found at Walmart for pretty cheap and they are super easy to set up or you can build your own out of sheets.  If you are building your own you can use chairs to hang sheets on outside or build it over their bed by attaching the sheets to the walls, connecting the corners with tough string and hanging the sheets over the string. Or just go here: Walmart Tents

3. If you can build a fire in your back yard GO FOR IT! If it is illegal, please don’t. Or you can get really creative and take a small fan and tape some red or orange fabric strips on it and turn it on to make it look like fire. If you have your own fire place, make some s’mores! If you don’t have a fireplace and can’t make one in your backyard, just throw them in the microwave. 🙂

4. Fishing poles. Get a little pool or a pretend pool and FISH! You don’t have to have real poles either. Just take a stick, string, and something small that could be used as bait and just pretend.

5. Decorate your surroundings. Get as many wild animal stuffed animals that they have and set them around. If you are in their room, turn the lights off and just have a flashlight on. Find sticks and logs if you are outside, if you are inside just make it dark and as nature like as possible. If they have a closet that you can all fit in, clear it out and make it a new hiding spot to camp in.

6. Tell stories! Either make up your own or look some up online. Here is a site with a list of camping stories. Make sure they are age appropriate. Don’t scare little ones too much. This site also has other camping tips if you want to browse around more. Camping Stories

7. Get a CD of nature sounds. These are easy to find either look on Amazon to find one you like or go on iTunes. But these sounds are fun to play while you are pretend camping.

8. Sing songs and tell stories about each other. This is a time to bond. You turn the TV off, no more video games, just each other. Take the time to learn something new about each other.

9. Play games. Now these games don’t have to be played while camping but I think these are fun. A favorite game of mine is called “Chubby Bunny” Now just a warning, please don’t make yourself sick from this game, because it is possible, but you can’t say I didn’t warn you. Chubby Bunny is a game in which participants place marshmallows in their mouth and try to say, “Chubby Bunny.” If you’re the one who can say it with the most marshmallows in you mouth, you win! Simple and hilarious. Here is a list of top 10 games and how to play them. Remember to choose age appropriate games. Campfire Games

10. Have FUN! Always a great rule. Go all out. Like I said before, turn off the video games and TV. They will not get bored with this but you have to plan it out in advance so you can keep them entertained. We are constantly competing with technology but I am a big advocate of turning that stuff off and finding something more productive and fun to do. A little technology is ok but camping is a great alternative.

I will be sure to post some pictures of my camping experience soon enough and tell you all about it. 🙂

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Dog Disagrees With Craft Set

10 Mar

The other day I bought a craft set and I placed it on my dresser only to find my dog did not quite agree with my new purchase. Apparently he doesn’t care for new items in new places, but whatever the case may be I was fortunate to catch it on film and I would like to share it with you all.

I have posted a lot of videos lately. I will be sure to post some new tips and crafts next week, so stay tuned! Also if you liked the craft set in the video go to the CONTEST tab on BabysitterBlab.com to see how you can win it!!!

 

Star Wars According to a 3-Year-Old

6 Mar

Adorable YouTube videos of kids really tug on my heart. I think laughter is one of the most important things in life and what better way to find joy than in what little ones say. I think some of the most adorable things come out of their mouth…hmm maybe I should rephrase that because I have had some not-so adorable things come out of their mouth and on to my shirt but that is beside the point. What I am trying to say is that kids say the darnest things!! This is an old video but it is one of my favorites. Enjoy. 🙂

A Heart to Heart About Being on Time

24 Feb

Alright, so today we are going to get a little personal about my day, my meeting, excuses and how this applies to you as a babysitter. I will start by saying today I had a meeting. A very important meeting which I have been excited about since last week. With that said, here is a timeline of my day leading up to the meeting.

8:00 am – Class begins

8:15 – I wake up to a call from someone in my class asking why I wasn’t there taking the midterm test

8:20 – I arrive at class in sweats, sleepy in my eye, and no makeup on to take the midterm test quicker than I had planned

9:10 – I finish the midterm and head back up to my room

(did I mention it is pouring down rain?)

9:15 – Arrive in my dorm, change, attempt to make myself presentable

9:30 – Walk/run to my car, which is 10 mins away from my dorm, in the POURING RAIN! I am leaping through puddles.

9:40 – Get in my car, start driving, and make a phone call to a client for a class in order to schedule a meeting today

9:50 – Pass the turn I needed to make and have to turn around

10:00 – Meeting starts

10:10 – I arrive

Obviously I am 10 mins late to my important meeting that I had been looking forward to for a week (did I mention I was dripping wet because of the rain and the 10 min walk to my car?). This is my life lesson on excuses and meetings:

1. Don’t be late. At all. Period. No excuse. If you have a babysitting job, give yourself PLENTY of time to get there and arrive 10 mins early (NOT LATE). Give yourself room for rain, wrong turns, traffic, and life. By being on time you show that you are excited about being there without having to say a word.

2. Make sure you are clear on the time. Before today I received an email from the person I was meeting with and it said “Lets meet at 10:00am-10:30am…” I read that as “Let’s start the meeting sometime between 10 and 10:30…” No the meeting was to last FROM 10:00am-10:30am. Make sure you are clear before arriving. People won’t be upset with you asking questions to clarify but if you’re late because of a misunderstanding that you didn’t clarify ahead of time…chances are they will be less than happy.

3. Don’t share your excuses with them. Because if you give yourself plenty of time then you shouldn’t have an excuse. If you are late, apologize and don’t let it happen again. Truth is, there is nothing you can do about it. The impression has already been made and anything you do after will be making up for that first bad impression. If you give yourself plenty of time and arrive way early, hang out in your car and catch up on some of my blogs that you may have missed. There is a phone friendly version.

I hope you can learn from my mistake and be a more timely person. Be a professional. As a side note, the meeting that I schedule while missing my turn, I was 40 mins early to, and I wrote this blog.

P.S. – Dear Anonymous, If you are reading my blog and I was late to your meeting today, or if I have ever been late to anything EVER, I am sorry and it will never happen again. 🙂 Lesson learned. And thank you for getting me coffee.

Super Bowl 2011

8 Feb

I was pretty disappointed in the commercials for this years Super Bowl but when I saw this ad for Volkswagen I laughed so hard. I thought this commercial was so clever and it described a little boy perfectly. I just love how it portrays this little kid. It was just precious. I would like to share with you my favorite Super Bowl commercial (and probably favorite commercial ever). If you missed it or if you just want to watch it again, here it is.

Kids are so entertaining. 🙂 Send me your comments about this video and if you have anything to say about the Super Bowl, feel free to share your thoughts!

When Things Get Tough

20 Jan

“Watch this!!!”….These may be the two most said words at the age of 3. “Watch this…watch this…hey..hey…hey!…watch this!!” They will keep saying that until you watch them try to do the splits. You can fill in that blank with whatever you may like. At times it gets so repetitive and they keep showing you the same tricks over and over and sometimes you are just fed up with watching. But remember, there will come a time in their life where they will not want or accept your approval. There will be a time where they may in fact go completely against what you do approve. And as they grow into these preteen and teen years you will think to yourself, “I wish I could have those times where they told me to watch.” The simple smile on your face or claps they receive from you was all they were looking for. The times where, yes of course they made a mess but with everything they did they lived to please you. At that young age, all you may have to do is raise your voice for them to burst into tears because you do not approve. As they grow older it seems as though they live to bring tears to your eyes. All of this to say…Cherish the early years. Time moves so much faster when you watch kids grow up. As they enter each new stage of their life, brace yourself, but know that the time will pass so much quicker than you could imagine. So cherish that time. Think of the positive things of each stage of their life and focus on those and enjoy it. Here are a list of the early stages of life: the things that drive you insane and the things that keep you going.

Infant:

They may poop all the time…but they fall asleep in your arms.

Toddler:

They may make a mess…but you get to teach them how to walk and talk.

Kindergarten-5th grade:

They may be rowdy…but they love sharing with you. They are going to school and learning then coming home to teach you what they learned. (Usually you learn a thing or two. It is a good time for you to refresh your math skills, the names of the presidents, and the capitols of the states).

Middle School:

They may be rebellious…but they are discovering who they are as a person and who they may be in the future. Don’t give up on them.

High School:

They may be experimenting with all of the things you taught them their whole life not to do…but…eh I’ve got nothing on this one. Ha, no they are still learning and growing into the person that they will be in their life. You watch them settle into interests and hobbies and they begin to find their niche in life. Just stick it out. Remember they will be leaving soon and you will miss them dearly.

College:

They may be gone…but they still try to call you to appreciate all that you have done for them.

After College:

They talk to you, give you grandchildren, have nice dinners with you, and watch videos of all of those years I just mentioned. They tell you how crazy they were and they apologize for all of the rowdy things they did that made you, at that time, want to give up. You will smile and remind them once again that they will go through the same thing with their children.

When they are grown you will show them the video of their past and you will say to them, “Watch this!!!”

“What My 4-Year-Old Son Taught Me…” – Darren Rowse

13 Jan

I am currently taking a college course called Promotional Management and we are studying Internet Marketing. I came across this blog that my professor retweeted and I thought I would share it with you. So many times kids say things that are so profound and they don’t even know it. Their simple understanding of life can sometimes impact us, even as we are living in our big world. Don’t get so distracted that you miss out on something because it is “too simple”. You never know how much you can learn for someone so small.

This is a man who is a professional blogger and this is what he learned from his 4-Year-Old-Son.

Here is a link to the video or you can just read the blog below.

Tell the World Something Important by Darren Rowse

About three months ago now, I was sitting here at my desk, typing away, blogging, and it was in the afternoon—about three-thirty, four o’clock.

Now, in my house around three-thirty, four o’clock, things get a little bit crazy. I have a four-and-a-half-year-old boy and a two-and-half-year-old boy. And in the afternoon, after sleeps and after a long day, they can get a little bit silly. So around this time of the day I would normally hear, you know, a bit of shouting, a bit of screaming. And sometimes I’d hear the footsteps racing down the hall towards my roo,m and I’d see the door burst open and all manner of strife would happen in my offices. Cords get pulled out and my kids demand that I make videos of them, and all kinds of stuff and it’s kind of a fun but also a bit of a crazy time of the afternoon.

On this particular day, things happened a little bit differently, though. I did hear some footsteps walking down the hall towards my room but there was no accompanying shouting or shrieking or laughter or giggling. It was just these quiet little footsteps padding down the hallway.

And then I heard the door handle creak and the door slowly open. And out of the corner of my eye I saw my four-year-old son Xavier standing at the door. I didn’t look around: I wanted to see what he would do. He very quietly and gently got down onto his knees and then he got down on his tummy and he began to commando-crawl into my room.

Now Xavier has this perception that if he can’t see you, you can’t see him. And so he had his head buried down low so that he couldn’t see me and he began to crawl into the room. And he crawled up my right hand side and then he crawled in front of my desk in plain sight for me, but he thought he wouldn’t be seen. Then he crawled down on my either side and then he stood up very quietly and gingerly behind me.

Again, I could kind of see him out of the corner of my eye and I could feel his presence there at my left shoulder, and he just stood there for 30 or 40 seconds as I continued to type. I was trying to finish a blog post before whatever happened was going to happen.

And as I was sitting there writing, he just watched. And after a moment or two I felt him lean into me, and I felt him begin to breathe on my neck and on my ear. And as he leaned in he just whispered in my ear “Daddy, what are you doing?”, and then he leaned back again.

Now I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to describe blogging to a four-year-old. It’s not something that I really know how to do, so I just said “I’m writing a message to the world.” And he seemed to accept that.

Again there was silence for a moment or two and again he leaned in close to me and he said “Daddy, make sure you tell the world something important.”

And then he leaned back and he got back down on his knees again and he commando-crawled back in front of me and out the door and shut the door behind him.

And it was kind of a bizarre little moment. For one, I wasn’t quite sure why he wasn’t in his normal hyper mood, but as I began to think about what he’d actually said to me, it kind of, it was a moment that I found actually quite challenging as I began to think about the type of blogs that I was writing and the information that I was putting out there.

I’ve been blogging now for eight years, and I’ve always wanted to tell the world something important. I’ve always had a motivation of trying to help people. But as someone who makes a living from it also, there are these other motivations. You want to make money out of it. You want to build some credibility and you want to build your profile. And so all these other motivations creep into it.

And so for me, that little moment where he whispered, “Tell the world something important”—for me it was kind of a challenging moment as I began to think “Yeah, that’s so true”.

That was the reason that I got into blogging in the first place but it’s also the secret to any success that I think I … success that I have had. The times where I’ve actually told the world something important rather than something that I think might be profitable, they’re the times where things begin to take off for me. The times where you’re actually are solving people’s problems, when you’re actually doing and saying things that matter. They’re the times that people seem to respond the most, and they’re the times where the profits actually do come down the track—for me, in my experience, at least.

And so I guess my message to you as I tell the world a message today is to keep that in the back of your mind. For one, it’s much more satisfying to be a blogger who’s actually saying something important, who’s making a difference. But two, a successful blog is actually built on that. If you’re actually doing something that matters to people, if you’re doing something that’s real and that is actually impacting people’s lives in some way, you’re much more likely to build a blog that people are going to take notice of, and that people will trust, and that people will keep coming back to.

So from the mouths of babes, from the mouth of my little guy Xavier who’s coming up to four and a half now, I’d encourage you to keep that in your focus. Tell the world something important.

Darren Rowse – What My 4-Year-Old Son Taught Me About Successful Blogging

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