Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Travel Scavenger Hunt

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Brooklyn Bridge

We love to travel with our kids and…

…When they were little, the primary goal was just to get there and back again without losing our sanity. Be it by car or plane, the trip was deemed a success if accomplished with the minimal amount of tearing out of hair (our own) or disturbing the peace (a group effort).

However, as they got older, we began to want them to actually get something out of the experiences.

And thus, the Travel Scavenger Hunt  was born…

I swear, it really works!  Go here –  over to ParentSociety.com – to my article about how it works and how to make your own Travel Scavenger Hunt – trust me, you kids will love it!

For more Sweet Spot Travels: Go Here!

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Teen Talk: Episode #6

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We now interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you another episode of  Teen Talk.  I assure you, everything you are about to hear is real and unedited. Please, do not try this at home. Unless your Mom has a good sense of humor.

One day, Teen discovered the new chalkboard Mom had put up.

chalkboard3

The End.

Teen Talk: Episode #5

Teen Talk: Episode #4

Teen Talk: Episode #3

Teen Talk Episode #2

Teen Talk Episode #1

For more views by Teen Go Here: Teen Talk

9 Free Activities to Do With Kids in Italy

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Venice

Travel: it costs money. Sometimes a lot of money. Scratch that, travel pretty much all the time costs a bucket load of money. Unfortunately for our pocketbook, my husband and I have developed an obsessive love for traveling, and we have successfully infected our kids with the obsession as well!

Today, over at ParentSociety.com,  as a result of a trip to Italy in November, I am sharing nine of our favorite free (or practically free) activities to do with kids in Italy (believe, if you are planning a trip to Italy – with or without your kids – you are gonna need it!). Go here!

9 Free Activities to Do With Kids in Italy

Other Sweet Spot posts about Italy.

A Boy’s Eye View of Italy

Just ‘Cause It’s Friday

For more Sweet Spot Travels posts Go Here!

The Chaos of a Newly Working Mom

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Today, it would be nice if I was doing something like this:

Santa Cruz, CAOr maybe even this:

pig chillinBut, in all likelihood,  my day will probably look more like this:

messyhouse2

In September, I began the task of looking for a job outside my home.  It turned out to be a much more arduous process (and at times embarrassing – Bag Lady Goes a Job Hunting) than I had anticipated.  But at long last, in December I was offered a full time position (someone finally took pity on me) and officially changed my status from WAHM (work at home Mom) to WOHM (work outside the home Mom).

I expected a transition time, what I got was chaos.

Head over to ParentSociety.com where today, I share the whole messy story and what I plan to do about it!

Go Here: The Chaos of a Newly Working Mom

I Have a Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

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Muffin_Top

I had a dream.  No, not one of those “lofty” dreams like Martin Luther King, Jr.  Just a dream.  Come to think of it – it was more of a nightmare.  Honestly, I  usually do not write about this type of thing on Sweet Spot.  However, the dream has haunted me ever since.

It started out simply:

There I was in my kitchen one morning,  wanting (more like needing desperately) to make coffee – a typical morning. But, try as I might, I could not find the coffee machine, anywhere.  I searched and searched.  Finally, I did find a machine for making coffee – but it was miniature, like Barbie-sized.  Anyway, it was of no consequence about the missing coffee machine because it was then I realized there were no coffee grounds to be found anywhere in the house either.

Quickly, I grabbed my kids (no dream is really a nightmare unless your kids are somehow involved) and we headed out in search of coffee.  We didn’t have to go far, for very quickly we came to a place whose countenance promised loads of coffee.  I quickly stepped up to the counter,

Me:“Coffee, please”

Her: “Sorry, no coffee”.

Me:  “What? “Well, where can I get coffee.”

Her:  “Nowhere.”

Me:  “What are you saying?

Her:  “This is the Alternate Universe.  There is no coffee in the Alternate Universe.”

Me:  “Alternate Universe?  What?  How did I get here?”

Her:  “You thought the wrong thing.”

Me:  “How do I get back?’

Her:  *shrugs*

 “Also”, Alternate Universe Girl continued, “In the Alternate Universe you don’t have to even order.  We know exactly what you want.”

No sooner had Alternate Universe Girl uttered this statement when she handed each of my kids a bag with one donut each inside and then to me she handed…

a box of a dozen muffins with NO MUFFIN TOPS.

The end.

Seriously, the Alternate Universe sucks. Don’t ever go there…

(Please, do not attempt dream analysis.  I fear the results would be futile and not a little bit scary).

Down with Fish Tyranny!

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My son got a 5.5 gallon fish tank for Christmas – something he had long wished for.  The day came to go purchase the lucky inhabitants.  My son dutifully put in colored rocks, hooked up the light, put together the filter, let it run for a few hours, and “Voila!” ready for fish!

Our trek to the pet store was actually twofold.  One, to acquire the perfect fish for his tank and two, to pick up potty training pads for puppy-size-of-a guinea-pig  my mom & dad in-law had UN-preparedly acquired (which is a story in an of itself and will likely be filed under the heading – Sounded Like a Good Idea at the Time).

Anyway, back to my fish story.

Once at the Pet Store, we confidently headed for the fish section and engaged the attendant.  However, before we could even start our fish inquiry, we were barraged with questions.

“Has your tank been running for a minimum of two days?”

“Umm, no, more like two hours.”

“Have you treated the water in the tank so the fish don’t get stressed?”

“Fish stress-out?”

“Do you have thermometer in the tank?”

“Well, no.”

“Is the water the right temperature for tropical fish?”

“Yeah, probably.  The guppies we had in the fish bowl seemed to do fine…well, two out of three anyway.” (In retrospect, I probably should have kept this last tidbit to myself).

“Do you even know how warm it needs to be for Tropical Fish?”

“Warmish?”

“Do you have a heater in the tank?”

“No.”

“Have you considered tank décor?”

(ok, she didn’t ask this but I know it was coming!)

I sensed where the inquisition was going and so did my son whose eyes were beginning to well up in disappointment.  I offered to him that we could go ahead,  get the fish and take our chances. It was at this very moment we discovered we had fallen into the net (ha, fish humor, get it?) of The Fish Nazi – for before my son could even consider my proposal, the Fish Nazi interrupted with…

“OH NO, NO FISH FOR YOU!”

“But…”

“NO, NO FISH FOR YOU!”

And that was that. We were loaded up with all the necessary items needed to acquire fish in some distant future and hustled out the door with an unceremonious don’t let the door hit you in the butt.

However, two days later, we dared show our faces again in the Pet Store Fish Republic.  But this time, we were prepared.  When we arrived, The Fish Nazi was busy terrorizing another customer so we were offered help from The Fish Nazi’s Assistant.

We were informed by The Fish Nazi’s Assistant,  for the fish tank size, my son could have 3 “beginner” fish and two shrimp cleaners – any more than that and the fish get “stressed” (Oh yeah?  Bring it on Fishies, I’ll show you stress – can you say Christmas shopping in Wal-mart???).  However, with The Fish Nazi within earshot,  we decided to acquiesce quietly.

Once chosen, we left The Fish Nazi’s Assistant on his own to collect our 3 fish & 2 shrimp into a bag – a mistake as it turned out.  For, when we returned for our bag-o-fish & shrimp, The Fish Nazi’s Assistant was having trouble looking us in the eye.

“Ummm, well, you see,  I was just told (duh, by The Fish Nazi!) that you can’t have the shrimp until you have had fish in your tank for a minimum of 2 to 4 weeks.” 

In other words,

NO SHRIMP FOR YOU!

So for now, my son’s tank has 3 fish and no shrimp as we await the day our tank will be worthy.

The fish, however, seem happy and completely without stress (boy that Valium works wonders).

I, on the other hand… well let’s just say I fear the fish tank experience may also end up under the heading – Sounded Like a Good Idea at the Time.

Aaaand….

That is where my story was supposed to end.  But, before I could stop being a slacker and finish it, I found myself a few days later back in the Pet Store returning items (a little over zealous on the tank décor).

I couldn’t help it.  I had to take a chance.  I stealthily crept through the aisles and peeked around the corner at the wall of fish tanks. There, happily scooping up fish for any and all, was your average (but knowledgeable) Pet Store employee without The Fish Nazi or The Fish Nazi’s Assistant anywhere in sight.

So, I explained to the average (but knowledgeable) employee, I wanted for my son’s new  5.5 gallon tank, a cleaner fish or shrimp.  She unceremoniously offered me the very fish my son had previously been denied – something about it being an “intermediate” fish and he  but a lowly “beginner”.  She, however, did not seem concerned.

“I’ll take it”, I said as I quickly looked around for any blindsided sneak attack. (i.e The Fish Nazi jumping out from behind the fish food). Home I went, cleaner fish happily in hand (or, well you know, in the bag).

And with this heavy blow to the  reign of The Fish Nazi and let’s just face it, to all Fish Tyranny in general,

My fish story is finally all told out.