Activities · Art · Blessed · Enjoying life · Experience · Family · Friendship · Kids · Kids activities · Life · Making time · Moms · Parenting · Relationships · Take a deep breathe · Taking time · Thanksgiving · Tree of Thanks · Uncategorized · Youth

Family Tree of Thanks

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I am trying to teach my little kiddos all about thanks. Why we celebrate thanks, what feeling blessed means, the ins and outs of appreciating all that we have and what the important things in life are.

After dinner one night we made a Family Tree of Thanks that simply hangs on our dining room wall among the wedding photos and artwork. Itโ€™s simple, but effective and the kids had fun doing it. All you need to make yours is:

  • Construction paper: we used two sheets of brown for the tree and one sheet of red, orange, green, and yellow for the leaves ๐Ÿ
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape
  • Marker or pen

Cut out the shape of a tree. I used one piece of paper for the branches and one for the trunk and taped them together (the leaves will cover and lines from where itโ€™s pieces together). Adjust the size of your tree if needed to accommodate more or less family members. Tape or glue your tree together.

Cut out leaves. ๐Ÿ You can either draw them or freehand cut. If your kids are old enough to cut them out, get them involved in the process! โœ‚๏ธ

Go around your table and one at a time say what you are thankful for. We wrote all of the answers down. Everything from our house to chips. The silly answers are just fun and the more serious ones are quite humbling to hear. As the parent, you can also guide the blessings along by providing examples in your answers.

Have your kids help you tape or glue the leaves on and then hang your tree for all to see. Go back and discuss your tree and blessings now through Thanksgiving.

This could also be a great project to do on Thanksgiving with extended family!

Balance · Boredom · Enjoying life · Experience · Family · Fighting · Friendship · Hokey Pokey · Life · Making it all work · Making time · Moms · Money · Relationships · Take a deep breathe · Taking time · To do · Uncategorized · Youth

The Hokey Pokey Conundrum

You put your left hand in, you put your left hand out, you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around…

We all know the song, but is that really what it’s all about? 

Life is beautiful and beautifully difficult. It’s graceful and clumsy, unique and monotonous. Life is generous and a thief, memorable and forgettable. Life is a story.  Handcrafted, raw, and exclusive. Some parts we write, others are written for us, but when the hard cover exterior closes at the end will you be satisfied with the outcome?

As I am getting older I’m trying to find the meaning of it all. If the hokey pokey is what it’s all about, shouldn’t we follow the lead, put our head in and shake it all about? Literally, I picture myself pinching a nerve in my neck while I shake it all around (spoken from experience with the one time I tried to head bang as a teenager).  Figuratively , I’m trying to think logically about what I want in life. We spend so much of our life making money to pay for the things we need (or think we need) and not enough time doing the things our soul craves. The meaning of life has become so misguided and strangled by monetary holds. Smiles, laughter, willingness, creativity, family, friends, support, and experiences are what we need. Endless hours of work, housework, errands, obligations, and commitments are what we all too often get. I don’t know about you, but my to do list is a self rotating one of laundry, emptying the dishwasher, work, organizing, food shopping, and all of the other weekly chores. On the low end, for the last 15 years at 5 hours a week of just house chores (and let’s be honest 5 hours is laughable when we all know how much time goes into it all) I have spent close to 4,000 hours – over 160 total days – on things that give me no real long term reward. Now I’m not saying that we should all stop cleaning, cooking, etc., but doesn’t that put time into perspective a little?

Time. As children we spend a good portion of our life wishing it away and even as adults we continue the tradition, especially Monday to Thursday. The problem is, if we live weekend to weekend, are we short changing ourselves of all the extra good stuff?  I am desperately trying to hold onto time. Grasping onto the moments while they somehow slip through my unmanicured fingers. 

Reminder: I need to add that to my to do list ๐Ÿ˜‰

Let’s get serious (now would be a good point to cue the sappy music). 
Today is the only today you will get, so instead of wishing it away for tomorrow, why not fill your lungs fully with air and grab onto the next 24 hours rather than lock them away without the key? Furthermore, if all the worlds a stage, then why are we not Meredith and Cristina dancing it out when things get boring, mundane, or rough?  If dancing it out has a purpose in life, then perhaps the hokey pokey has it right. 

If there is anything that I have learned from that old familiar childhood song, it is to put yourself as a priority in your life. Live your life fully, not partially.  Set goals and achieve them, hold yourself accountable and believe them. Be in the moment, don’t live it behind a screen or covered by the dollar bill. We get one chance, one opportunity so put your whole self in, shake it all around, dance it out on your stage, and experience what it’s all about. 

Until next time,

One Cool Nerd Mommy

Copyright One Cool Nerd Mommy 2017

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Friendship · Life · Making time · Relationships · Taking time · Uncategorized

The Social Friendship


โ€œI think if I’ve learned anything about friendship, it’s to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don’t walk away, don’t be distracted, don’t be too busy or tired, don’t take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.โ€ โ€• Jon Katz

According to my current Facebook page, I have 440 “friends” at any given time. So with that number, you would think the odds of having someone ask about my day, take interest in my successes, or pick me up when I’ve literally tripped over life would be favorably good, right? 

I recently celebrated my birthday and in my now 35th year of life, I am finding the friendship area to be a more difficult one.  Out of the 440 friends, only five wished me a happy day outside of the Facebook confines. If I had an emergency, these five people would be the ones I would call even though in the land of social media I am invisibly surrounded by likes, support, and friendship. In a world a virtual friendships and constantly being connected to one another, how is it possible to feel so alone in the friendship department of life? 

Collectively, we have all become dependent on social media, myself included. Facebook reminds me of Birthdays, invites me to events, keeps me “in the know” of the goings on around me. I have had moments where I missed the life event of a loved one because a post about food or cats appeared at the top of my social media platform. We rely on technology to do the job. We trust that virtual media will inform those that need to know. We allow the convenience of typed words to let the spoken language fall through the cracks. 

The people we meet in life, good or bad, help define who we are as a person. Friends and experiences from high school shaped who I began college as. The friends I made in college laughed when I laughed, cried when I cried, saw the good and the bad along the way. They helped get me ready for life beyond the safety of a dorm room. However, with all of that preparation, nooone prepares you for making new friends as an adult when you’ve left the security of those who surrounded you. Life offers us change as we journey from chapter to chapter. The first day in a new school, living with a roommate in college, starting a new job, having a child, joining a fitness class,  beginning a relationship, marriage, divorce, and the list goes on.  Any life change presents the opportunity to gain new people in your life and also sometimes closes the door to others. 

Making a new friend can sometimes feel raw, vulnerable, and exposing.  It’s sometimes hard, awkward, confusing, and feels similar to going on a first date with someone new. To gain, you have to give. Giving or sharing is not always easy. The human race by nature can be judgmental and rough on the exterior. We often act the way we think we should.  Say the things we think others want to hear. Harbor who we are to impress. The thing is, what’s the point of all the effort if the result is false? I envy the fearlessness of my daughter who can walk up to a child an effortlessly engage in conversation and play all because they like the same crayon or have sparkles on their shirts. 

A friendship is a relationship and relationships take work. Reciprocal effort from both sides is needed to effectively and successfully maintain a friendship. When recently asked about maintaining established friendships, One Cool Nerd Mommy Reader Ellen replied with this: “I think the biggest challenge is that people are constantly changing. None of us are the same person we were 10 years ago, or even last year for that matter! And when life circumstances change, when paradigms shift, not everyone is able to accept and support that. The person you may have partied all night with a few years ago may now be a mom of 3. Or your atheist friend may now be a conservative Christian. And if your own life hasn’t evolved in the same way, it may take a lot of patience and effort and understanding to keep that friendship going (because you may have to get to know that person all over again), and not everyone is willing and/or able to do that.”

Our lives, whether we like it or not, are directly or indirectly driven by social media. If you’re reading this, it’s on social media. Text messages, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, you name it. We stay in touch, but when is the last time you picked up the phone and called a friend instead of messaged them? Gone out for coffee instead of sending an emoji about it? Sent a card just because? We have lost touch with ourselves and with each other. Friendships take time to develop. They take time to maintain. Friendships take communication and truth. Honesty to be who you are and accept the person on the other side. Development and evolution. Friendships in a social world have lost the social component. We need to type less and verbalized more. We need to fight more, love more, be more. We need to be the person you want to have in your life. Stay connected with those who support you on social media, return the virtual love, but make time to get to know the people behind the screen.  Life’s moments are immeasurable, our time limited, so why not get out and get to know your neighbor, the person next to you in moms group, the familiar face at the gym.  Call that lifetime friend who you’ve lost touch with. Laugh a little, cry a little, experience a lot. In the motto of the Girl Scouts, make new friends, but keep the old. 

Until next time, 

One Cool Nerd Mommy

Copyright 2017