Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Father's Gift
John Shaughnessy

Click here for the full story.

Lakewood Moms: Please ask your husband to click on this link above, and read this inspiring article from All Pro Dads. If Dad is interested in doing something like this for our kids, please have them contact my husband Stephen, by email at

Bill Bissmeyer shares the simple idea of a monthly breakfast that strengthens the bonds between fathers and their children, which has mushroomed into a concept that has been embraced by hundreds of groups in at least 40 states and six countries. He also describes “the miracle” that happens during one part of the special breakfasts—when each father stands up, introduces his son or daughter and then publicly shares at least one reason he is proud of his child.

“The look on the child’s face is like one of those time-delayed pictures of a flower blooming,” Bissmeyer says. “When the father introduces the daughter and says something sincerely about her, she literally grows in her father’s praise.”

“It’s nice to be just dad and the kids,” say Ben Stallings, a Roncalli parent and a father of five. “We did that when they were younger. It’s harder as they get older, and they have so many other things going on. It would be nice to do this once a week.”

His 15-year-old son, Ray, enjoys the time, too. “Me and my dad are real busy,” says Ray, a sophomore at Roncalli. “It’s nice to get up early and do this once a month. It gives us a chance to talk. I like that.”

The approach to the breakfasts is simple, Bissmeyer says. “The ingredients are: breakfast, kids, an introduction and praise from the father of the child, and a 10-minute speaker,” he says. “It’s kind of like saying you invented the cake when a cake has been around forever. You’re just showing people the ingredients to use.” He pauses and adds, “I never had an inkling that this would grow into what it has. It’s not to be credited to anyone except the individual father who takes the time to come.”

The breakfasts can get emotional for parents and children who don’t see each other on a regular basis because of a divorce. The emotion flows through everyone in the room when the speaker for the morning is a father who shares the story of a child who died.

“Every one of those fathers says the same thing, ‘Hug your kid,’ ” Bissmeyer says. “That’s their main message. Nothing else but
‘Hug your kid.’

Monday, July 21, 2008

Kids are Bored?

Here is a fun list of activities that I got mostly from the All Pro Dads website. Some fun ideas for your next Family Game night, or whenever your kids say "Mom, I'm bored!"

Start with a tissue or shoe box and let your kids decorate it. When you come across an idea that strikes your fancy, write it on a slip of paper and place it in the box. Send them running to the idea box when they say they are bored. You can start by using some of the ideas listed below:

*Make a sponge garden. Soak a sponge in water and place it in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with alfalfa or rye grass seeds. Keep it moist and watch it grow
*Let your child finger paint with shortening on cookie sheets
*Create a mosaic by cutting construction paper into zillions of small pieces and gluing them to a sheet of paper to create patterns or scenes
*Make frozen fruit juice cubes in an ice tray
*Make a batch of homemade Play-dough. Recipes can be found online at
*Spray paint two-liter bottles and use them for bowling pins. (Put a little water in the bottom of each one to weigh it down.)
*Make a bird feeder by rolling a pinecone in peanut butter, then in bird seed. Hang from a tree with string
*Have your children create books about themselves. They might want to include their birth date, handprints and footprints, drawings of themselves and their families and a story about themselves. These are wonderful keepsakes.
*Read and act out one of your child's favorite stories.
*Make a mystery bag by placing familiar objects in a pillow case. Ask your child to close his or her eyes, feel the objects in the bag and pick out the item you name
*Hide a small toy in a room. While the children look for it, give them clues such as, "You are hot" when they are close, and "You are cold" when they move away
*Put a sheet or blanket over a table and make a tent, doll house or secret hiding place. This is also a great place to take a nap or have a picnic lunch!
*Play hopscotch with your kids – all it takes is a little sidewalk chalk!
*Soak a stalk of cut celery in a glass of food coloring and a little water. Watch what happens the next day. (You can also use Daisies or Carnations for this experiment)
*Make a volcano. Mound dirt six to ten inches high and then clear a hole down the middle of it. Put 2 teaspoons of baking soda in the hole. Pour in some vinegar and watch your "eruption"
*Save pennies in a jar. When the jar is full, use the money for a family outing to the ice cream parlor.
*Picnic at a different park each week.
*Lie on a blanket in the backyard at night and look at the stars.
*Dress up and serve dinner by candlelight once a month.
*Have a sock fight. Roll socks into balls and throw at each other.
*Look at Me! Have your children observe you for a minute. Leave the room. Return to the room, having changed a small detail in your appearance. Can they guess? Take turns being “it”.
*Plan a scavenger hunt for items around the house.
*De-Clutter the closets and toybox, and have a garage sale of toys. Let the kids earn their own money to purchase something they’ve been wanting.
*Have a family car wash. Wear bathing suits and be ready for sponge fights and water squirt wars.
*Go on a long bike ride. Map your route before you leave, choosing new and interesting destinations each week
*Plan a special baking day and discuss what you will bake together. Distribute baked goods to neighbors and friends to be a blessing.
*Play the "message game" at bedtime: Draw letters on your child's back and have him or her try to decipher them
*Take your children on a "mystery date". Don't tell them where you are going or when the mystery ride will occur. Go to the beach for a picnic. Visit a children's museum. Go to the mall or a toy store and give each child $5 to spend any way they choose. Visit a grandparent or cousin. Bring them to a movie they've been wanting to see. Head to a lake or park. Just make when and where a big surprise!
*Put up a tent in the backyard and have a family pow-wow to talk about what happened that day. Who has a funny story to tell or something new to share? Can't build a fire? Microwave the S'mores!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Are you a Mean Mom?

Was your Mom mean?

I know mine was.
We had the meanest mother in the whole world!
While other kids ate candy and poptarts for breakfast,
we had to have cereal, eggs, and toast.

When others brought a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch,
we had to eat sandwiches.

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times.
You'd think we were convicts in a prison!
She had to know who our friends were
and what we were doing with them.
She insisted that if we said we
would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.

We were ashamed to admit it,
but she had the nerve to break
the Child Labor Laws by making us work.
We had to wash the dishes, make the beds,
learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry,
empty the trash and all sorts of cruel jobs.

I think she would lie awake at night
thinking of more things for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth,
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
By the time we were teenagers,
she could read our minds
and had eyes in the back of her head.
Then, life got really tough!

Mother wouldn't let our friends just honk
the horn when they drove up.
They had to come up to the door
so she could meet them.

While everyone else could date
when they were 12 or 13,
we had to wait until we were 16.

Because of our mean mom, we missed out
on lots of things other kids experienced.
None of us have ever been caught shoplifting,
vandalizing other's property or ever arrested
for any crime.

Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honest adults.
We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was.

I think that is what's wrong with the world today.
It just doesn't have enough mean moms!