Exploring the Coca-Cola Space Science Center

September 18, 2014 by  
Filed under NEWS

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Coca-Cola Space Science Center

 Exploring the Coca-Cola Space Science Center

by Charlotte Bowman, Muscogee Moms

My boys are in love with outer space. They like putting on their Clone Trouper costumes and waging mock battles. They plow through every episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Netflicks, and they have a large collection of astronomy books.

The apple didn’t fall far from the tree. I’m a huge Star Trek fan, while my husband prefers hard science fiction. When there’s a chance to encourage their interest in astronomy, science and space exploration, we seize it.

That’s why in August 2011, we checked them out of school (with their principal’s blessing) to go to the Kennedy Space Center and watch the launch of the Juno spacecraft. They were wildly excited to see a live rocket launch. It was loud. It was exciting, and it was spectacular!

Launch of the Juno spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 5, 2011

That trip truly fired their imaginations.

For months afterward, it was all they could talk about. They built rockets and space shuttles out of LEGOS® and played “Blast off to Jupiter.” They wore their Clone Trooper costumes for Halloween. And they begged to go back. But a trip like that is a once-in-a-lifetime deal.

So we do the next best thing… We take them to the Coca-Cola Space Science Center.

CCSSC Medical Console

Medical Consoles from Mission Control Firing Room 3 at the CCSSC

Owned and operated by Columbus State University, the CCSSC is a small space museum located in Uptown Columbus. Don’t let the size fool you! This museum is packed with fun, interactive exhibits — just right for sparking your child’s interest in science, engineering, math and technology.

CCSSC Flight Simulators

Three of the four flight simulators at the CCSSC

Along with a host of interactive gallery exhibits, the center is home to the Challenger Learning Center mission simulator, MeadWestvaco Observatory, Omnisphere Planetarium Theater. It also serves as the teaching and research site for all Columbus State astronomy courses. It has four flight simulators, astronaut memorabilia, interactive space and science exhibits, as well as an area just for preschoolers.

CCSSC Engine Nozzle

Space Shuttle Main Engine Nozzle at the CCSSC

The Center proudly houses Georgia’s most extensive NASA Space Shuttle artifact collection. This collection includes a nine-time space-flown Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) Nozzle, BioMed and Operations Management Consoles from Kennedy Space Center’s Firing Room 3, Space Shuttle Escape Basket, General Onboard Computer, Front Shuttle Tire and more.

CCSSC Moon rovers

Interactive Moon Rovers at the CCSSC

My boys love to visit every chance we can. They have a blast playing in the flight simulators. They love messing around with the weather cam, watching the movies, and navigating the remote control trucks on “the moon.” It’s one of their favorite places to spend the afternoon.

CCSSC Tot Zone

Preschool Playarea at the CCSSC

The Center is also a favorite destination for both school field trips and summer camps. Kids as young as 5 years can engage in space-related activities, launch rockets, complete Challenger Missions, and create their own aliens. Older kids can explore gaming, comics, astronomy, Sci-Fi movie making, and explore robotics. The Center even offers special LEGO® camps!

Emmet from The LEGO Movie would say, “Everything is awesome at the Coca-Cola Space Science Center!”

Coca-Cola Space Science Center

701 Front Ave, Columbus

Phone: 706.649.1470 | Website: http://www.ccssc.org

Summer Camps: http://www.ccssc.org/summercamps.html

Educating Kids About Severe Weather

September 16, 2014 by  
Filed under NEWS

severe weather

Educating your kids about severe weather 

When the alert for a tornado watch lit up my phone, my boys were immediately worried. “What does that mean, mama?” They asked. “Is a tornado coming?”

Severe weather can be very frightening for young kids, especially if they are unsure of what to do.  Including your kids in preparing for a storm and talking to them about their fears can help them cope better. Here are some tips to help you educate your kids when severe weather threatens.

Explain the types of severe weather

Here in Georgia and Alabama we have three common types of severe weather, especially during the spring: thunderstorms, tornados, and flash floods. During late summer and early fall we will encounter tropical storms and possibly a hurricane. Explaining the differences to your children can help eliminate the fear of the unknown and create awareness.

Consider your child’s age, personality, and temperament when talking to them about storms.  If your child is a worrier like my youngest, minimize information that might make them more anxious. If your child is curious like my oldest, include more factual information about storms, how tornados form, and what causes bad weather.  Be sure to also explain the difference between a “Watch” and a “Warning.”

Tip: Explore educational websites together with your child. Ready.gov/kids has fun, educational games and activities for kids that you can use as teaching tools.

Teach your kids weather safety catch phrases

You probably remember the phrase “Stop, Drop & Roll” from childhood. Here are a couple more catch phrases you can teach your kids to help them easily remember weather safety:

  • When thunder roars, stay indoors.
  • Turn around, don’t drown.
  • Ignoring a warning can cause much mourning.
  • When you see lightning flash, get out of the pool fast.
  • When hail rains down, there could be a tornado around.

Review your family emergency plan

Make sure your family has a plan in case of an emergency. Become familiar with your community’s Severe Weather Warning System and make certain every adult, teenager and child in your family knows what to do and where to go when a tornado watch or warning sounds.

If your children are older, sit down together and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go and what you will do in an emergency. Review the plan with your children and practice it often, just as you would for a house fire.

Tip: Ready.gov has a Family Emergency Plan (FEP) that you can download and fill out.

Recruit your kids to help

Taking shelter during a tornado warning

Children can be great helpers. When a Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Watch is issued, have them to help you gather the items you’ll need in an emergency. Giving them a job helps them feel in control, which reduces their anxiety. Make a scavenger hunt out of it and have them collect the following items:

  • Favorite toy, stuffed animal, or book
  • Bike helmet
  • Backpack with a change of clothes
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Raincoat or jacket
  • Tennis shoes
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Pillow

Manwhile, you can restock your diaper bag and charge up your cell phone. Put everything, including your Family Emergency/Disaster Kit in your home’s safe spot. If you live in a mobile home, put these items by the door so you can grab them and go.  When a Tornado Warning is issued, your family will be ready if you need to take shelter.

Tip: Download FEMA’s Emergency Supply Kit Checklist for Parents

Items to Keep in Your Family Emergency/Disaster Kit:

  • Non-perishable food items and bottled water
  • A manual can opener
  • First-aid kit
  • Sun block
  • A flashlight and extra batteries
  • Safety Tattoos for young children (in case you get separated)
  • Portable NOAA weather radio
  • A wrench and other basic tools
  • Work gloves
  • A set of car and house keys and glasses
  • A highway map that marks the counties to follow the storm

Items to Pack When a Watch is Issued:

  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • One backpack per child (including a change of clothing)
  • Prescription medications
  • Feminine products
  • Identification and a credit card or cash
  • Important documents, including insurance policies
  • Baby items, such as diapers, wipes and formula

Set a good example

Remember, you are your children’s best role model during severe weather emergencies. They will look to you for help and clues on how to act. Stay calm and take appropriate precautions. Explain what is going on, but keep it simple. While feelings of fear are natural, be in control of the situation as best you can. Your kids will watch and learn to do the same.

Tip: Most kids are resilient. But some children can be at risk for more enduring psychological distress. Ready.gov/kids has a list of FAQs to help your children cope during or after a disaster.

A Visit to the Springer Opera House

September 11, 2014 by  
Filed under NEWS

Visit to the Springer

A Visit to the Springer Opera House

I’ve never believed in ghosts.

To this day I have serious doubts that I saw a ghost. But when I pointed to the man dressed in a top hat and gray cape on the other side of the theatre, no one in our group saw him. Instead, they gave me strange looks.

It was 1998. My mother and I were taking part in a “behind-the-scenes” tour of the Springer Opera House in Downtown Columbus. The historic building, known as the State Theatre of Georgia, was slated to undergo a $12 million renovation. The tour was our last opportunity to see the building in its original state.

The project restored the main theatre, expanded the ground floor public spaces and reclaimed the entire second and third floors, which had been in ruins for more than 30 years.

Thanks to the renovation, the Springer was able to expand its popular Theatre Academy program for kids.

Springer Theatre Academy

Students of the Springer Theatre Academy. Photo Credit: Springer Opera House

Today, the Springer Theatre Academy is the largest theatre training program for young actors (over 800 strong) in the Southeast. Kids (5-18 years old) get to work with professional actors, directors, theatre teachers and technicians. Age appropriate classes are held year round.

Plus, students have the opportunity to be in Springer productions — both on the Main Stage and the Children’s Theatre.

Cast of Charlottes Web

The Cast of Charlotte’s Web.
Photo Credit: Springer Opera House

The Children’s Theatre produces first-class shows for families and young audiences. The series includes daytime school performances and public performances.

Both of my boys have had the joy of watching Broadway-quality productions with their classmates. And every December I have the joy of taking my nieces to see a play. It’s become a family tradition. This year we have tickets to see Disney’s Mary Poppins.

Springer production: Cinderella

So did I actually see a ghost that night? Or was it an actor dressed up to entertain the guests? I don’t know. What I do know is that from near ruins to national renown, the Springer has come a long way since 1998. It is a true blessing for our community, and every child should have the opportunity to visit.

Springer Opera House

103 10th Street, Columbus, GA

(706) 324-5714 | springeroperahouse.org

Childhood Obesity: Making Healthy Changes Together

September 10, 2014 by  
Filed under NEWS

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September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Did you know? One in 3 children in the United States is overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Overweight kids also may be prone to low self-esteem that stems from being teased, bullied, or rejected by peers.

The good news? Childhood obesity can be prevented. In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Muscogee Moms encourages your family to make healthy changes together.

Get active outside:

Walk around the neighborhood, go on a bike ride, or play basketball at the park. Take your kids to the playground after school. Kids over 2-years old should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.

Limit screen time:

Keep screen time (time spent on the computer, watching TV, or playing video games) to 2 hours or less a day. If necessary, plug your TV into a digital timer to limit access during the afternoons. Discourage eating while watching the tube.

Make healthy meals:

Buy and serve more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods. Cut back on soft drinks and juice boxes with high sugar content. Watch portion sizes. Let your kids be more involved in making good food choices, such as packing lunch.

Make it a family affair:

If you eat well, exercise regularly, and incorporate healthy habits into your family’s daily life, you’re modeling a healthy lifestyle for your kids that will last. Talk to your kids about the importance of eating well and being active, but make it a family affair that will become second nature for everyone. Most of all, let your kids know you love them — no matter what their weight — and that you want to help them be happy and healthy.

When to see your pediatrician:

If you’re worried that your child or teen may be overweight, make an appointment with your doctor, who can assess eating and activity habits and make suggestions on how to make positive changes. The doctor also may decide to screen for some of the medical conditions that can be associated with obesity.

A Parent’s Guide to Teenage Slang

September 4, 2014 by  
Filed under NEWS

teenage slang

A parent’s guide to teenage slang

mmmm

With school back in session, it’s the perfect time for parents to brush up on the latest teenage slang. Young people tend to have a language of their own — new words and phrases that make adults scratch their heads. #getusedtoit

If you’re someone like me who likes to stay current or if you’re feeling lost in textation, the definitive online lexicon for streetwise lingo is UrbanDictionary.com. Unfortunately, seven of the top 10 words trending this month are unprintable here. So I did the next best thing — I asked my teenage nephews what words their friends are currently using.

Here is a partial list:

Bae

DEFINE ITnoun. “Before Anyone Else”. Used as a word for “girlfriend” or “boyfriend”, unless you’re in Denmark. Similar to the French endearment, “petit bébé.”

SAY IT: “I just want to be with my bae tonight.”

Bounce

DEFINE IT: verb. To exit a location or situation. The letter “z” is often added to make the term even more ghettofied.

SAY IT: “This party is boring. Let’s bounce.”

Cray Cray

DEFINE IT: adjective. Crazy.

SAY IT: ”That screb is cray cray!”

Cupcaking

DEFINE IT: verb. Flirting or being flirtatious.

SAY IT: “Stop cupcaking with my bae!

Grind

DEFINE IT: Used to express the process of doing something difficult. You have to be “on” a grind. It modifies the preexisting process you are discussing. After all, nothing is easy when you are a teen.

SAY IT: “I’m on that midterms grind, I have to study at the library this weekend!”

Mad

DEFINE IT: Adverb. Translates into “a lot” or “extremely.” Can be used almost interchangeably with “very.” Because “very” is very lame, and “mad” is mad awesome.

SAY IT: “Yo, Sarah is, like, mad chill. She’s one of the coolest chicks I know. I want to ask her to prom.”

Mupload

DEFINE IT: verb. Used to replace “Mobile Upload” with one easy word. Most commonly referred to when using Facebook’s phone to internet picture uploading service.

SAY IT: “That was SUCH a great selfie. Mupload it to Facebook!”

Hashtag

DEFINE IT: Used in everyday spoken conversation to add some parenthetical meaning, emotion or feeling, whether it’s sarcastic or sincere, towards something or someone.

SAY IT: ”Did you hear Lisa is dating that senior guy? Hashtag WHATEVER.”

Ratchet

DEFINE IT: noun. Someone or something that is ugly, gross, annoying, unappealing, broken, etc.

SAY IT: “Man my car is so ratchet. I need a new one!”

Screb

DEFINE IT: noun. A dirty, unliked person.

SAY IT: ”Mike is a nasty little screb.”

Tight

DEFINE IT: adjective. Stylish, cool, having everything together. Pronounced as “Tiiight.” Used for most anything good including; ideas, events, occurrences, or to describe an activity.

SAY IT: “Did you see his ride, it was tight.”

Turn Up

DEFINE IT: Getting loose, getting wild and getting the party started. Also can be used ironically.

SAY IT: ”Did you hear Tracy is hosting an open house rager tonight? TURN UP!”

YOLO

DEFINE IT: “You Only Live Once.” That’s “carpe diem” for not-so-smart people.

SAY IT: “Don’t be scared man. YOLO!”

If you use the word “hashtag” in spoken language, what part of speech is it? #InquringMindsWantToKnow

Dealing With Depression: Tips from a Psychologist

August 26, 2014 by  
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By Bobby McGowan, Ph.D, Pastoral Institute

Dealing with DepressionMost people feel sad, lonely and blue at times. This is especially true when there has been a significant loss in their life. However, the severity and duration of these symptoms can increase and interfere with enjoying your life. They can occur abruptly after a traumatic event or gradually after weeks or months of extremely stressful living that has exhausted your mind, body and spirit.

Here are some suggestions when you are dealing with depression:

  1. Schedule regular times in you day to slow down and assess how you are thinking, feeling and acting.
  2. Look for common signs of depression such as loss of interest in pleasurable activities, sleep or appetite disturbance, difficulty concentrating, a negative view of self or life and increased thoughts of death or even taking your life.
  3. Seek help. Talk to friends, family and people trained to provide additional help such as pastor, your primary doctor or mental health professionals.
  4. Follow their recommendations. It is tempting to return to hiding the pain and the same old patterns of living

Treatment for depression can be very effective and the sooner the better. If you are concerned about a loved one or think you may be experiencing symptoms of depression, please seek help.

The Pastoral Institute in Columbus, GA has over 30 mental health professionals who specialize in a variety of areas. We have agreements with over 150 local companies and over 40 churches to provide counseling to their employees and members at little or no cost for the client. For a list of participating organizations, visit www.pilink.org or call (706) 649-6500.

Bobby McGowan, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist specializing in depression, grief recovery, marital therapy, PTSD, and religious issues at the Pastoral Institute.

Social Media Etiquette for Kids (of all ages)

August 18, 2014 by  
Filed under NEWS

Social Media Etiquette

Social Media Etiquette for Kids (of all ages)

How to avoid Facebook faux pas, Insta-fails and more!

In a few short years my oldest will turn 13 and be legally old enough to have a Facebook or Twitter account. But there are several rules of etiquette I want him to understand before he joins the social media world. These rules are not meant to spoil his fun, but to help him avoid Facebook faux pas, Insta-fails, and other social pitfalls.

The most important rule to remember is — You have a responsibility to protect your reputation and those of your friends around you. There is a fine line between being yourself online and not making everyone else uncomfortable.

Here are 10 rules for acceptable and unacceptable online behavior.

Rule 1: Think before you share 

Social media is not your private diary. Before you hit “post” or “tweet,” ask yourself what value your comment offers and what your motivation might be. Not every moment in your life is worthy of a status update, so don’t “over share.”

Also, consider the potential eyes on your profile. Would you be comfortable if your grandmother read your post? What about a college review board or a potential employer?

Here’s a quick list of what not to share:

  1. Over the top party pictures
  2. Stupidly insensitive jokes
  3. R-rated memes
  4. Embarrassing pictures of yourself or others
  5. Relationship drama
  6. Insults about teachers, classmates, coworkers or managers
  7. Comments that are cruel and insensitive
  8. Links to questionable web content
  9. Gossip
  10. Hate

Rule 2: Ask before tagging someone in a photo

Tagging may seem harmless to you, but others can view it as an invasion of privacy. The first time you post a photo of someone, don’t tag her, but send an e-mail or message with a link to the photo. Ask if it is okay for you to post the picture and whether she is comfortable with being tagged in the future. You may think that pic of “Sarah” passed out at a party is funny, but she may think otherwise!

Rule 3: Don’t be offensive

Things that are perfectly OK to say face-to-face, even in front of friends, aren’t necessarily OK online — and vice versa. It’s super easy for your tone to be misunderstood. People can’t see your facial expressions. They can’t hear your tone. All they see are the words you wrote. And if they don’t know you well, they may find your comments offensive rather than funny.

Also, no one is truly anonymous. Everything you post online is traceable. It doesn’t matter whether you delete the message or text. When you post something online, you’re creating a permanent cyber fingerprint. It may come back to haunt you. So be careful what you say.

Rule 4: Take complaints and arguments offline

We understand if you’re upset with a teacher or mad at a friend. Everyone has bad days. Just keep your venting offline. Don’t post negative rants or ugly comments about people on your account, and don’t post them on other people’s accounts!

Remember, words are powerful. So choose your words wisely. If you wouldn’t speak to that person that way face to face, then don’t do it online.

Rule 5: Think before you reply to a negative comment

If someone says something negative about you, the best option is to simply not respond. If you know the person, go offline to clear up the disagreement. If you don’t know the person and feel the need to respond, think twice before you write anything negative.

It’s never a good idea to post something when you’re emotional. Take some time to clear your head (or sober up) before you deal with the situation. Walk away from the keyboard. Compose a reply and get a trusted adult or friend to review it for you. This will help you refrain from saying something that you later regret.

Rule 6: “Unplug” around family and friends

Yes, it’s a normal impulse to stare at a glowing object in your hand. But texting or checking social media while someone is talking to you, is just as rude as if you were to get up and leave them in mid-sentence. Please don’t do it!

When you’re out with other people, unplug and put away your smart phone or tablet. Focus on the people around you. Be respectful and give them the courtesy of your undivided attention.

Rule 7: Ration the “selfies”

We love you and enjoy seeing pics of you, but please don’t flood our timelines with your selfies.

Also, be smart about what pictures go online and what pictures are simply for your own entertainment. Keep them in good taste. If you are doing anything you don’t want your grandmother to see, don’t take the picture.

There are wrong places and wrong times for posting selfies. Don’t post pictures of questionable gags or illegal activities. And for heaven’s sake, DON’T post pictures of yourself at a funeral! It’s beyond rude and tacky!

Rule 8: Don’t kiss and tell

It’s OK to be cute, but there is such a thing as too much information. From the sweet (tweet) nothings to the fights, keep the important stuff offline. It’s like the Internet version of public displays of affection — some people just don’t like it.

If you’re at the end of a relationship, a running commentary about your breakup does nothing to help the situation. Obviously, it’s important not to suppress your emotions, but a private journal or time with a therapist (or trusted adult) is best for that.

Rule 9: #don’t #overuse #hashtags

Using hashtags as a punchline for your jokes is fine. Just don’t misuse or abuse them. Consider the length of your hashtags. Long hashtags are aggravating to read and most people just end up giving up. Plus long series of hashtags are just plain annoying. (See Jimmy Kimmel’s video: #Hashtag)

Rule 10: Exercise the Golden Rule

The Golden Rule simply states, “You must treat others in the same way that you would want to be treated in the same situation.” It doesn’t matter how others behave. Don’t dish out anything that you don’t want to take. You don’t have to be a doormat. Just be considerate, thoughtful, and fair in how you treat others online.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Tips to Get Ready for School

July 30, 2014 by  
Filed under NEWS

As summer winds down, its time to start thinking about preparing your kids to go back to school. If you start now, you can make the transition easier for your entire family. Here are nine tips to get your family ready for a new school year.

1) Transition into a school schedule. Establish a school-day schedule for homework, TV, baths and bedtime. Starting 7-10 days before before the first day of school, ease your kids into your school schedule by backing up their bedtime 15 minutes each night and consistently waking them earlier. Also, establish a “get ready the night before” policy. Pick out clothes for the next day and set your coffee maker. Once the school year starts, add packing backpacks (and lunch boxes) every evening to your nightly routine. You’ll save precious time in the morning.

2) Organize your family calendar. From sports practice to music lessons, it will be easier on everyone if you work out who needs to be where and at what time. My husband and I use a Google Calendar to sync our activities. But we also keep a extra-large calendar hanging on the wall for our boys. They like to see the stickers that mark the holidays, birthdays, and vacation days.

Now is also the time to visit your school’s website and download a copy of the school calendar. For your convenience, we have compiled a list of local school districts in the Chattahoochee Valley area and their contact information: Click here.

3) Gather your paperwork. Schools require lots of forms. Have the necessary immunization records available for easy reference. Be prepared to update school emergency contact and health information for the upcoming year. Visit your school’s website to view registration information, school supply lists, and more.

4) Arrange transportation. Will your child be riding the bus? Find out the bus route and discuss bus safety rules with your child. Do you drive your children to school? Look into carpool options. Whether it’s an arrangement with your child’s classmate, or even your hubby, carpooling can help you save time and gas money.

5) Confirm after-school care. After-school care can be a challenge, especially if both parents work. Now is the time to confirm any after-school arrangements. Make sure your child knows when and who will pick her up when school lets out and when the after-school program ends.

6) Complete back-to-school shopping. Don’t wait until the last minute for this. Do any clothing shopping you can now. Keep in mind school dress codes while shopping. Will your child be wearing a uniform? Does she need new shoes? Backpack? Lunchbox? Now is the time to stock up on school supplies too. Alabama’s 2013 tax free holiday is August 2-4. Georgia’s 2013 tax free holiday is August 9-10.

7) Set up a place and time for homework. Set up a quiet place for your child to study at home and stock it with school supplies. Make sure the location is well-lit with a good work surface. Also, establish a regular homework time. As you ease your kids into a school routine, have them use this designated time to read a book, play a game, or do a crossword puzzle.

8) Try a practice morning run. Practice your morning routine several days before school starts. If you drive your children to school, use this practice run to find the most efficient route to school and which streets have the least traffic. Last year my boys attended different schools with vastly different drop off and pickup procedures. It took several practice runs, but I figured out that I needed to drop off my youngest child first before school and pick up my oldest child first after school.

9) Calm the “new school” butterflies. It is normal for your child to be anxious about entering a new school or starting the next grade. Here are some tips to help your child become more comfortable:

  • Talk about the fun things your child will learn, the old friends he’ll see and the new friends he’ll make.
  • Reassure her that other children have these feelings too.
  • Call the school and arrange a visit to tour the school and meet the teachers before the first day. Let your child see the classrooms, playground and cafeteria and get a feel for the new school environment.
  • If your child has special needs, such as a learning disability or food allergy, work with the new school as far in advance as possible to determine placement and to line up services and support.
  • Arrange play dates with friends from school to re-establish connections, or to create new ones.

An Open Letter to My Non-stretch Denim Jeans

July 16, 2014 by  
Filed under NEWS

denim jeans

Dear Non-Stretch Denim Jeans,

I really miss you. Do you remember the days when I could put you on and with a few plie squats we’d be like old pals? Remember that? I do.

Now, when I put on a worn-in pair of jeans, they fit. I mean, they really fit. Skinnily. My legs are encased like sausages and no matter how many squats I perform, these jeans, these awful jeans, just keep going back exactly where they were. And don’t even get me started on the low rise of these lycra-ridden jeans. Seriously, I am sure that no designer working on the jeans in today’s market ever had children. Instead, these carefree childless heathens continue designing pants that seem to cup my mom flub as if mocking my body for its inability to be comfortable in this style.

Now, I am not saying for an instant that I want some “Mom Jeans.” I don’t even want “Not Your Mother’s Jeans.” All I am saying is that I would love to go into Gap or Old Navy, heck, even Target and pick up a pair of jeans that fit like jeans! That stretch over time instead of overcoming gravity and other laws of nature to remain permanently taut over my weary legs.

I have been on the hunt for perfect jeans (that don’t cost a fortune) for about 3 years now. That’s a long time to spend on this one task. Every time I think that I have found the perfect jean online, I go to the store and I try them on. And it’s awful; they are too long, they make me look like a pear, they have weird pockets. The story is always the same. I leave the store dejected and wondering whether that perfect pair of jeans even exists.

The fact that I am getting old and that non-stretch denim is as rare as a unicorn was made so apparent to me over Christmas break last year. I walked into Old Navy and asked the teenage worker if they had jeans that looked like trousers: straight leg, mid-rise, clean cut, regular denim. Her response broke my heart, “Um, those were popular, like, 10 years ago. We haven’t carried them since then.” Ouch!

Still, I continue hunting for the perfect jeans that feel like home, that I never want to wash because I don’t want to mess up the way they fit when I first put them on. But, I promise that I will wash them when needed. With these mythical perfect jeans, three squats and they’ll fit perfectly even if I had to dry them on high heat.

You exist, perfect jeans! You might be hiding out like the Loch Ness Monster, but I believe you are out there. At least once a week, I open up my web browser and stalk you. Sometimes I get so close, but you always seem to get away. But that’s not stopping me. No, it just makes me more determined the find you, buy you and wear you until you literally dry rot off my body. This might take some time, but that’s OK. You are worth it.

See you soon,
Alexa

[Photo by: graphicleftovers.com]

Kids Craft Ideas

July 16, 2014 by  
Filed under NEWS

Kids Craft Ideas

As summer lingers, here are some easy craft ideas to occupy your children indoors for a hour or two. Together, you can create some masterpieces and fun memories that will last a lifetime. o.Remember to cover your table or work surface with old newspaper. This makes for easy cleanup once the project is finished.

Rock Animals

Supplies: Rocks, tempura paint, paint brushes, decoupage solution

What kid doesn’t love rock hunting? Take a walk together one morning and have your children look for rocks of all shapes and sizes. Collect flat smooth stones, as well as jagged, sharp rocks.

Once you get home, give your children an assortment of tempera paints and paint brushes and let them kids have fun painting the rocks to their hearts content. Once the paint is dry, use your rock creations to decorate your garden or household plants.

Decorative Picture Frames

Supplies: unpainted wooden picture frame, tempera paint, foam letters, decoupage solution, paint brush

Turn a simple picture frame into a work of art that will hold precious memories.

Carefully remove the pane of glass from the frame. Using your favorite sheet of piece of scrapbook paper, outline the outside and inside of the frame. Cut out with scissors and carefully glue the colored paper to the outside of the frame.

Once dry, glue various buttons, foam letters, dried pasta or seashells around the outside. Let your child use their imagination to create a special look. Seal the decorated frame with a decoupage solution. Wait until fully dry, then carefully insert your favorite picture and enjoy.

Miniature Clay Critters

Supplies: Oven-bake clay (various colors)

Older kids will love the endless possibilities that can be created with colored modeling clay. If the clay seems hard, don’t worry, it will loosen up quickly with the heat of your hands.

To get started, condition the clay by kneading it in your hands until it’s warm and pliable. Encourage your kids use their imaginations to create miniature flowers, dinosaurs, aliens or other critters. (Use a toothpick to draw patterns in the clay.)

Once your sculptures are finished, it’s time to cure them. Bake your critter in a preheated oven at 275 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Let cool completely before handling. Once you’ve baked your sculpture, you can do more wonderful things to it. You can paint it using oils or acrylics. You can glue on hair, feathers, fur, jewels or fabric. Be creative!

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