Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Brainfart of the Week

So this morning the news was on and my 5 year old son heard that it was going to be a beautiful day today in Delaware and got excited.  At that time, I decided it would be a great day for us to go swimming since I had just resigned up at the YMCA last Wednesday.  My son goes to camp Tuesday-Thursday until 12, so I planned on us going after camp.  In the morning when I was getting our stuff together, I looked for my phone, couldn't find it, called in from the house phone, heard it buzzing yet still couldn't find it, so I had to leave without it.

We had a great time at the pool.  We went to the Western Y on Kirkwood Highway and this was our first time at this pool and I loved it.  It had a nice area for younger kids and it was obvious that the lifeguards were very vigilant.

Around 6:30 pm while at home, I noticed that my phone was under one of the couches (of course it's there, where else would my phone be!).  I saw that I had a text message.  It was from my 2 year old's speech therapist who comes to our house on Thursdays saying that she was at the house and we weren't there- I had completely forgotten!  His speech therapist comes every Thursday and I had completely forgotten- the worst part was that I had just looked at the calendar yesterday and knew that it was coming up!

I feel like such an idiot when I do things like this.  Just last week I locked us out of the house on our way to see Day Out with Thomas.  I could understand doing stuff like this if I was pregnant or super stressed, but I'm neither.  I just don't know what's up with me!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Win $50 worth of Tastefully Simple products- Ends tonight at Midnight

Hi Ladies,

I don't want to go crazy promoting Tastefully Simple on this blog, but I did want to let anyone who may be interested know that I am having a Mystery Host Online Tastefully Simple Party!

Everyone who places an order with me by midnight tonight will be entered into a drawing to get the Host Free Product Rewards! You could get over $50 in Free Products!

Just shop online at and at check out click on find host or event and put Nicole Outten in.

You only have to order one item to have a chance to become the Mystery Host and win free products of your choice. Maybe you're craving some Beer Bread, Key Lime Cheese Ball or Absolutely Almond Pound Cake. Or you need to stock up on some Garlic Garlic, Onion Onion or Bacon Bacon.

Only one item needs to be order to be entered in, but you may want to get your money's worth with the shipping and Buy the Returning Favorites collection and receive a FREE gift: Cool 'n Creamy Cucumber Dip Mix.

So far only two people have ordered so your chance of winning is high!
Good luck!

Wordless Wednesday- Brother Messing with my stuff

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fun ideas for Pool Noodles

Right now there is a "Summer Camp" going on over at Design Dazzle with ideas and projects for summertime fun with the kids.   This week they asked bloggers to submit their ideas for uses for Pool Noodles.  There are so many great ideas!  One of my favorite ideas is making the noodles into a track either for cars or marbles.  I know Beluga would definitely love using it for some train track.  Go to  
Summer Camp 20 Ways to use pool noodles 
to see more great ideas!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Storybook Land- Great Jersey Family Attraction!

My family and I just got back home from our first trip to Storybook Land.  Storybook Land is located in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, pretty close to Atlantic City.  It took us a little less than 1 1/2 hours to get there from my home in Wilmington, Delaware.  If you've never been to Storybook Land before, think of a place like Dutch Wonderland, but a bit smaller without a large water area.  Storybook Land has been around for almost 56 years which is evident by some of the 1950s charm and nostalgic displays they have.

On this trip were me, my mother-in-law, a family friend, my 5 year old son Beluga and my 2 year old son Christopher.  This is a place that was perfect for kids their ages.  Both of my sons were able to go on any ride if they chose to.  Many of the rides, my 2 year old was too little to go on by himself, but was able to go on with an adult, which is perfectly fine. 

Today was a customer appreciation day, which meant that tickets were 25% off.  We were also chosen out of the line to get free cups (that had lids and straws) for our party that we were able to have filled with soda, water or lemonade for free whenever we wanted!  This was a very nice surprise to start our day off with.

The theme of Storybook Land is, of course, nursery rhymes and story books.  When we first got into the area the first thing we saw was the Hickory Dickory Dock, which was a large clock that had a mouse going up and down it.  Now as a grown person you may not be impressed, but my 2 year old, for some reason, was enthralled.  He kept wanting to go back and see this clock and the mouse that is hidden for a minute and then comes back up the clock then down the clock.  He loved it.

The first official ride that we went on was the Railroad train, which is necessary for my train loving Beluga.  This was a great way to see what is around the park when you first get there.  As I mentioned, it's not a large park about 20 acres of cute family fun.  Another thing that Beluga loved was the Alice in Wonderland maze, we had to go through that twice. 

Everyone had a great day and was very satisfied with the trip.  The only part that didn't go well was during lunch we were eating at the Dining Depot and my mother-in-law went up to the counter to get her customer appreciation cup refilled.  The older lady working the counter got an attitude with her and told her "you know, there are other areas where you can get your cup refilled", my MIL explained that we were eating lunch in there, which did not seem to satisfy this worker.  Talk about customer service!  But that was the exception to the rule because every other staff member that we interacted with was very friendly, courteous and seemed to enjoy having the children around having a great time.

Another thing that I enjoyed about Storybook Land is that it was not very crowded.  We went on a Monday, so I'm sure this makes a difference, but we felt very comfortable just taking our time visiting everything at our own pace. We got to the park a little before 10:30 am and left around 2:45.  We could have stayed a bit longer, but we had seen most of the park and the kids were starting to get a bit tired.  There are probably only about 20 rides, but my 5 year old would have been happy riding a couple of them multiple times.

This is a great place for little ones, but if you have a child 10, they might not be thrilled and you may have to take a picture of them because they didn't mind their mother :b  If you do have young children and are looking for something to do for a day trip, you should consider Story Book Land.  It's also good for frugal families because although the price is not cheap at $21.95, it is free for 1 years and under, 25% off all tickets on customer appreciation days and you are welcome to bring your own food and drinks inside and they have a partially covered picnic area available close to bathrooms where we saw many families with coolers.

To find out more, visit Story Book Land

Sidenote: We saw two chipmunks in the park while we were there.  They do have animals there, such as "Mary's Little Lamb", but these guys were not part of the attractions.  I've never actually seen chipmunks in real life, they are so small!

Mom Pledge

After reading about it on Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom, I decided to take the Mom Pledge.  According to the Take the Pledge Website, here is the Mom Pledge.
 The Mom Pledge
I am a proud to be a mom. I will conduct myself with integrity in all my online activities. I can lead by example.
I pledge to treat my fellow moms with respect. I will acknowledge that there is no one, "right" way to be a good Mom. Each woman makes the choices best for her family.
I believe a healthy dialogue on important issues is a good thing. I will welcome differing opinions when offered in a respectful, non-judgmental manner. And will treat those who do so in kind.
I stand up against cyber bullying. My online space reflects who I am and what I believe in. I will not tolerate comments that are rude, condescending or disrespectful.
I refuse to give those who attack a platform. I will remove their remarks with no mention or response. I can take control.
I want to see moms work together to build one another up, not tear each other down. Words can be used as weapons. I will not engage in that behavior.
I affirm that we are a community. As a member, I will strive to foster goodwill among moms. Together, we can make a difference.
Do I think that taking a pledge always makes people act accordingly, of course not.  But having the pledge in writing makes a person sometimes stop and think about what they are doing and how they are handling themselves.  For example, in high school when kids take a pledge to not drink or to at least not drink and drive, some of them will adhere to the pledge and some may not, but I bet there are statistics that show that it makes a positive difference.  Would you like to take the Pledge?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer List update coming soon

I can't wait to update everyone on Beluga's Summer List.  So far I believe we have 16 items checked off, not too bad so far.  Yesterday was a good day in that we got to check off three items.  Can you guess what one of them was? :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

2011 Summer List

As I've mentioned, I love reading blogs!  One thing that is all the rage right now on some of my favorite blogs are making a summer checklist of things that your kids and family want to do.  Blogs such as The Finer Things in Life, 320 Sycamore, A Soft Place to Land and I believe the original source from Whatever.  I love this because the summer always seems to go by so quickly and with two boys ages 5 and 2, I feel like their childhoods will also be as fleeting.  So I think a summer list is a great way for us to live intentionally. I liked the typed up version that was provided by DIY Newlyweds, so I totally bit off of them :)  I asked my 5 year old, Beluga (I'm still torn on using my kids real names or nicknames) if he had any ideas.  Let me just say, he was not lacking in ideas.

He gave me his list that included:

1- Go to Yo Yo Joe's (a local toy store in Wilmington that sells Thomas trains and other fun toys)
2- Eat SnoCones
3- Have a Lemonade Stand
4- Go to Grammy's (my grandmother who lives in Rehoboth)
5- Go to a Baseball Game
6- Go to the Beach
7- Go to the Ice Cream Store
8- Go to Chuck E Cheese
9- Go to the Pool
10- Go Camping
11- Make Smores
12- Ride his Bike
13- See Fireworks
14- Paint
15- Go to the Boardwalk and eat Ice Cream
16- See Thomas at the Strasburg Railroad
17- Do Puzzles
18- Roast Hot Dogs
19- Go to the WaterPark at Sesame Place (we had been to Sesame Place in Oct. so no water for us then)
20- Buy our own Fireworks (he gets this from my dad, hopefully he'll be satisfied with sparklers)
21- Learn to Rollerskate
22- Make Playdough
23- Feed Ducks
24- Blow bubbles
25- Sleepover at both Grandparents (I like this one!)
26- Go on a boat
27- Go Fishing
28- Eat Fish Sticks
29- Living Room Sleepover
30- Party at our House
31- Make Waffles and Pancakes
32- Catch Lighting Bugs
33- Go to the Zoo
34- Plant Flowers
35- Make a Fort
36- Go to the Movies
37- Water Balloon Fight
38- Build Robot with Toys

So there is his long list.  But I'll admit that I don't think he has anything listed that is too unreasonable.  We've already marked off about 8 items on the list, I mean Eat Fish Sticks, yeah I can handle that.  Other things we may have to be more creative with, for example, I'm not sure how to build a robot and we'll have to look into that boat thing.  Oh yeah, and we had a party at our house last Sunday for two close friends who are leaving, but apparently that didn't count because he wants a party for himself at our house, note that his birthday is in November. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Themed Activities- Clouds

I used to work at a Rec & Respite camp every other Saturday for three years.  One of the most difficult and also most enjoyable parts was coming up with themes every week and different activities to go along with the themes that the kids would enjoy.  I'm going to try to post different theme ideas for those who work in camps, after school programs, home school or just want some fun activities to do with their kids.  Our first theme will be Clouds.  You may have to adjust some activities to work for different ages, an 11 year old may not want to pretend to be an airplane going around the clouds :)  Here are some ideas:

Read the book: Little Cloud by Eric Carle

Paint clouds
Jump to touch clouds
Cotton Ball Clouds – Use blue construction paper and have the kids glue cotton balls to make clouds.
          Having   the children pull the cotton balls apart a bit makes the clouds look more realistic. 
Make Clouds out of Shaving Cream onto blue plastic plates
Pretend to be airplanes going around the clouds
Go outside and look for different shapes and pictures in the clouds
Make a cloud wind puppet  Dltk Kids- Weather Crafts
Sing this cloud song (found from Preschool Express)
Tune:  “I’m A Little Teapot” I’m a little cloud, in the sky.
You can find me, way up high.
Sometimes I’m puffy and sometimes stretched out.
I just love to float about.
                                    Jean Warren

Here are some great links for planning your cloud activities
Weather Wiz Kids
Preschool Express
Eric Carle Cloud Activities for the Classroom
DLTK Kids- Crafts  One of my favorite websites for theme ideas!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Phanatical about reading

I love learning about programs that encourage reading and education!  The News journal recently highlighted the "Phillies Be a Phanatic About Reading program" in which two Delaware students were honored for being the "most outstanding" or "most improved" readers in the program.  Congratulations!  To read this article, go to News Journal.

 According to the MLB Phillies Website:

The program is divided into two levels: one for children in grades K through 3 and the other for grades 4 through 8. Children will be asked to spend a minimum of 15 minutes a day reading whatever book they select. Younger children will be given Phanatic coloring sheets to color in once they have attained their goal while older children will be asked to record the book they read and write a few sentences on their favorite part of the book.

The Phillie Phanatic will make a special visit to the top performing schools. To qualify for a Phanatic visit, children will report their progress to their teachers who in turn will tell the Phillies how the children have done in their reading endeavors. From that progress report, schools will be selected for a school visit.

One of the teachers' testimonials was:

This program has been terrific for reluctant readers. It has been especially rewarding for students that were not motivated readers. It has been rewarding to watch these young readers become more fluent readers.

How great is that!  To learn more about this program, check out Phanatic About Reading Program

Monday, June 20, 2011

Delaware's Education System

Last Monday I attended a discussing group at the Woodlawn Library in Wilmington titled "Waiting for Superman- A Candid Discussion about DE's Education System". In the beginning, an excerpt from the documentary "Waiting for Superman" was shown.

Then a discussion was lead by four panel members who included, Christopher Ruszkowski, who is the Deputy Officer of the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Unit for the Delaware Department of Education, Catherine Weaver, Superintendent for the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, Dr. Mervin Daugherty, Superintendent for the Red Clay School District and Dorrell Green, former principal for Harlan Elementary and new Director of Elementary Education, effective July 1st. 

The panel members discussed their thoughts on the education of children in public schools in Delaware, touching on issues that they feel need to be addressed as well as highlighting positive aspects that are already in place.  There were disagreements among things such as how vital are smaller class sizes.  Many people feeling that smaller class sizes are very important and other people disagreeing with the opinion that if the teacher quality is there, the size of the class is not as essential.  The role of socio-economic backgrounds for children and their families was also discussed in terms of how it effects education.  Schools no longer just focus on education, but they also have to make it a priority to make sure their children are healthy, safe, clothed and fed. 

Overall, it was a interesting discussion that was unfortunately not very well attended.  There were, at most, 30 people in attendance.  This includes parents and educators.  The largest group there consisted of educators at Concord High School, who had four or five educators who were in attendance.  Because this is such an important issue, why was there such a low turn-out?  In my opinion, it was probably because this open discussion was not marketed very well.  I happened to hear about it about two hours before it was to take place and spread the word to my friend who is in early education.