Archive for the ‘GoodNCrazy Tween Series’ Category

Entitlement VS Gratitude

February 2, 2010
Tween ‘Tude
An extra dose of Gratitude, thanks.

Goodncrazy Tween Talk superhero girl

Weve been noticing a new vein of ‘tude in our Tween.
A whole lot of:

  • Why are we doing that?
  • My after school party starts in an hour, who’s taking me?
  • I have 7 classes every day, my life is SO hard!

Note the lack of please/thank you and general aura of entitlement.

I’m reading a parenting book about the entitlement factor among children (and all Americans really). How they (we?) need a shot in the arm, a vaccination, of good old fashioned humility and appreciation. “I deserve this.” “I should get more.”

The antidote the book suggests?

Last weekend SuperTween needed a few pairs of casual pants. She’s literally growing before our eyes, several pairs of her jeans are ready for the Ark.

We drove to Kohl’s and chose a pair of khaki pants, but couldn’t find jeans for tall-for-her-age super skinny 12yrold, Size: ZERO. And next…( apparently I failed at communication the next few minutes…) because everyone else understood that our next stop on the Tween shopping express was Target; to buy her one more pair.

I Kid You Not.

Out of her mouth:

“Why? Why are we going to Another store?”

What I heard:

“Do we really HAVE to? All of us? Haven’t we been shopping long enough? Why do we have to go to another store? I’m so bored. Sassy and TK are totally annoying me. Me Me Me Me….”

I basically pulled out the wicked witch of the west mom mask, and well, LOST it. Are you serious? We drove over the mountain to shop specifically for you. And you’ve hit your Saturday patience level after one store?

Needless to say the rest of the day went to crap.

That weekend I talked with my husband about how to cure this entitlement virus and prevent it from infecting her any further. And just how contagious is it? Will it spread to the younger siblings?

I kept reading my parenting book, hoping for some insight. And I swear every talk and lesson in church that Sunday mentioned blessings and the benefits of expressing gratitude.

Monday night instead of Family Home Evening, I asked everyone to play a few rounds of a new game we just received called: Count Your Blessings. It’s a game created out of the inspired brainpower of the @Gratitweets women: Laura Robinson and Elizabeth Bryan along with the Chicken Soup for the Soul book of the same name.

Yes. SuperTween complained and slouch-pouted in the corner chair. However. After less than one round of:

PhotobucketFlick the spinner.
PhotobucketRead a situation card from one of the five decks (they present a dilemma, or predicament).
PhotobucketProblem solve as a family.

She couldn’t help herself. She was drawn in, participating and answering alongside the family immediately.

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Examples and family responses:

Category: Look On The Bright Side
“Share something difficult that’s happened to you that relates to life. And then share how you looked on the bright side.”

Sassy 9yrold: I broke my leg when I was four… people felt bad so they gave me presents.
TK 5yrold: I broke my arm last summer… everyone thought I was so cool on the first day of Kindergarten!
Dad: When I was 15, I was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes… I eat better now, watch my sweets and value my life more.
SuperTween: In the spelling bee in 5th grade I won the whole grade, but later after a dad bullied the teacher the kid who got out just before me got a ‘second chance’… he ended up winning the next round and later they called it a ‘Tie’… I learned that sometimes it’s more important to know you worked hard and did well no matter what the public story is.

Category: Count Your Blessings
“Give the group 2 reasons you are grateful for the player with the largest feet.”

TK: I love his hugs and kisses (about Dad of course!)
Sassy: He’s cool. He takes care of me.
SuperTween: Sometimes he drives me to school. He works and pays the bills.
Mom: Because he loves me. And he makes me laugh when he teaches the children the Fishheads song!

Category: Soul Food
“You yelled at a friend or family member because you were frustrated about something else.”

Everyone: Oh my gosh we ALL do that!

And we laughed and talked about how hard it is when you are upset or frustrated at something, but then transfer that frustration to your family.

The conversation that followed after these handful of thought provoking- blessing remembering- questions and prompts was in a word: Priceless.

We talked for half an hour. The parents. The kids. (5yrold migrated off to the Lego pile nearby). We may not have solved world peace but we did manage to get a few antiviral injections aimed at the nasty entitlement virus.

And I’m grateful for that!

I was given a copy of Count Your Blessings and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings.

Tween Talk Pouts An Image

October 26, 2009

Goodncrazy Tween Talk superhero girl

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Tween Superhero Image Created by my Ahhmazing Artist Friend:

NapWarden… If you like it, have a look at more of her artwork.

I saw her little boy superhero and realized I needed a girl tween pouting superhero for my Tween Talk Series… is it perfect or what? I simply tweeted her out… asked her how much it would cost (I was super excited at her affordable illustration prices) and Voilá… my very own image for my very own series, matching my site’s very own colors and my dear tween’s hair color!

Have you seen the prices of images on other sites? Redonculous! I paid under $50 for this image, and she tweaked it for me, the right size and the right colors!

She was 9 when I first heard the words: “No. And You Can’t Make Me!”

Welcome to my tween world.

Disclosure: I purchased the artwork, I love @Napwarden, thankyouverymuch.

I Can Pears… Can You?

October 6, 2009

Learn how to bottle pears!
Canning is easy.

Pretty huh?
Tasty too, and come January and February…the perfect lunch treat!
I love pears with cottage cheese!

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Sanitize your bottles. I run the extra sanitize on my dishwasher but really hot soapy water works too. But new lids, but the old rings on your jars are fine. I prefer wide mouth jars.

canning pears tutorial
Prepare your pears. You really can’t get around peeling them by hand.. so wash ’em up, dig in and peel away! I like using a medium sized melon-baller to carve out the core after slicing in half.

Helpers are good!

Add 1 cup hot water (tap is fine) and 1/4 cup sugar per jar. This year I tried using 1 teaspoon of a fruit preserver as well. (Contains acid and helps keep the pears from turning brown.)

Pack your pears in as tight as you can get them, leaving a half inch or so below the neck of the jar, then fill with additional water to the neck of the jar. After 7 of your jars are filled wipe the openings well with a wet washcloth. Boil your lids for 1 minute and carefully place on the jars with the rings and hand tightening.

canning pears tutorial

Place the jars in your water bath. Fill the bath with warm water til about 1 inch over the jar lids. Bring to a low boil and time for 20-25 minutes.

canning pears tutorial

Remove the jars and let cool slowly on your countertop. You’ll hear the lids seal and pop the rest of the afternoon. And if any don’t seal (you can press down on the lid to test if it moves) no worries, refridgerate and eat those in the next few days!
I picked these pears myself in a U-pick orchard in a neighboring town.
Look around and see if there are any U-pick apple orchards in your area? They should be ‘on’ right now all over the country! At least go buy some fresh apple cider!

Supplies Needed:
Water Bath Canner
Canning Tools
Jars, Lids and Rings

I call my mom when I need help…
Here are a couple canning websites:

And in case anyone is listening??
I really want a pressure cooker maybe for next mother’s day?
The best way to bottle tomatoes and other great recipes like chili, soups or salsa!

Negotiating Tween Tantrums

September 29, 2009

But MOM!!
NO ONE ELSE has a bedtime!

It’s here. It’s official.

Negotiating tween tantrums: the bedtime

She’s convinced we are the meanest parents on the block. Only took her 1.5 weeks of Jr. High to figure it out. After a longer than usual day. Trying out for volleyball, attending her youth group activity and completing homework (mostly algebra—oh joy) she was grumpy and exhausted.

We encouraged her to hurry & shower then get ready for bed. (Can you imagine anything more cruel?)

Her response {IN ALL CAPS}:


I looked at my husband. He looked at me.
We were baffled? Where did THAT come from?

After my own rotten day I quite honestly couldn’t deal with her tween tantrum at the mommy witching hour. The dad helped her understand it wasn’t a good time to have a shouting match.

Later after she was asleep, we talked about what she really needed? Was there more to her tween tirade than a set bedtime? —She was overtired, possibly nervous about volleyball, and for sure Jr. High was completely new to her —maybe tween stress issues?

Do we care if she stays up later than the younger kids?

As long as any ‘extra’ time staying up later isn’t spent watching TV, and of course as long as she is still able to get up early enough to get herself moving for the bus.

What we really want her to understand is how to negotiate what she wants (or believes she deserves). Because it’s kind of hard to prove to us that she is responsible and capable of determining her own bedtime while in the middle of an “IlooklikeI’m5” outburst.

The next night Dad took her out for a one-on-one Dad chat (including Chinese food). They talked about school and the anxieties in her life. He gave her a chance to plead her no-need-for-a-bedtime case. And they arrived home with an acceptable compromise.

goodncrazy blue dots

Her new ‘bedtime’ will now be an hour later than before. And if she’s finished with homework she determined that she’d be happy to read or do something quiet in her room during her extra time.

Problem solved. Now the question is will she understand how to negotiate the next time the “meanest parents” come to town??

goodncrazy blue dots
*I polled some of her friend’s parents. They ALL said their kids have ‘bedtimes’. We in fact, are NOT the meanest parents on the block.

Shred Sled, Awesome Kid Skillz

September 28, 2009

Does she make this look easy or what?

We pulled the Shred Sled out of the box and I thought: Uh Oh, what have we done? Can we really use this thing? The kiddos took it straight out to the driveway and um…

Let’s just say we sucked.

Sadie (my 11yrold) tried it and she gave it a great effort but couldn’t see how to start-or move-or even get on it! My 8yrold is our more coordinated kid and even when I held her up to start out, it was a no go. (I admit I gave it a tiny effort, but dude, it’s harder than it looks!)

shred sled

At this point we pulled out the instructions… ahem..
It says:
use a wall when you are starting to Learn.
Well duh, that made sense!

I could see the sparkle-determination-in-her-eyes and Sadie spent another 30 minutes trying to teach her feet to say on the twisty-turny-not-quite-a-skateboard! Within about 4 days of her after school attempts. Sadie had it down. She can start (without the wall), navigate circles, and is having a blast!

goodncrazy blue dots

GoodNCrazy Thoughts:

They claim you can ride the Shred Sled uphill? So far she’s awesome on a very slight incline, and she’s dying to try it on a local skate park! She’s happy to zoom around with it most afternoons, and I don’t think she’ll really outgrow it any time soon. Which is awesome because it’s getting really hard to find fun gifts for her anymore?

It’s really only for older kids, my 8yrold still hasn’t mastered it, and that drives her kinda crazy. My 5yrold plays with it but only under serious supervision… And believe me you do not want to trip over this thing (ask me how I know…)!

Cost: $119.99 and comes in red, blue and black.

Link Round-Up! Yee Haw.

September 25, 2009

Good finds: Crazy daisies

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My 8yrold recently discovered her quirky side. She dresses shall we say… eclectically? I’m buying her the brightest patterned tights I can find. I found these patterned tights at $16.

My friend Gretchen of only lives a few THOUSAND miles away… over in FRANCE… you simply must see her artwork. I’m in love with the Safari prints and the fairies are fab! $18

While I was jogging at the gym I found this idea in a magazine: Active Edge Easy Catch…. the ball is foam so it’s indoor friendly! Cuz I swear sometimes my 5yrold is NOT!! $28.99.


My 11yrold is currently reading/devouring/inhaling the Percy Jackson Series of Books. Book one is The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan. She came home yesterday whining that her school library does not have the fifth one. Can you say BDay present?? $7.99

I just bought her a pair of converse shoes a lot like these and look(!) here they are 20% off. (We were able to use our 20% coupon plus my $15 rewards gift card on TOP of the buy one get one half off! I call that a good shopping day.) $39.99


I dare you NOT to love the contemporary furniture on Plus…CSNstores has a living room makeover giveaway going on.. HELLO! *BONUS*!

I just made this TONIGHT for dinner: Roast Pork Tenderloin w/Apricot Glaze: recipe from {YES. I’ll share.} Leftover suggestion? Shred pork and simmer in BBQ sauce and 1 can tomato sauce, voilá pork sandwiches!

I’m super excited! I just found out I get to be a judge for a contest LeeLouBlogs is hosting for the amazing Memory Mixer products… Go check out the contest and even if you don’t own Memory Mixer Software you can use a 30 day free download to create your scrapbook entry! {There’s a laptop as first prize…!}

*disclaimer: affiliate links included

Then and Now… Revisited

September 1, 2009
Summer’s Last Hurrah!

Two thoughts.

How is it that the first day back to school also feels like the LAST day of summer?
Do you remember your first day of Jr. High? The fear. The worries. The older girls?
I kid you not, I still have nightmares where I cannot remember my locker combination.

First Day of School ’09

I grew up in a teeny tiny town. As in.. they had to change the population sign when a family moved out. Napoleon Dynamite kind of small.
Get this… my school was so small K-12 was in the same building…
Let that sink in a bit…

THE WHOLE SCHOOL was in the same building. So moving up to Jr. High? Not a big deal, you know?

But then. My family went and MOVED to a much bigger town. One that had a grocery store that stayed open all night! (wow huh) One that had several elementary schools, a separate middle school AND Jr. High.. I was the ripe age of 13 and going into 8th grade. Which meant Jr. High in that world.

Oh my gosh, imagine all the movies about the small town kid moving to the big city (okay still small town but it FELT big)! I was a complete mess.

Yesterday watching my oldest pack her lunch, get on the bus and then come home late after school from volleyball practice. Wow.

She is amazing.

Can you remember what it was like?

For reference… this is my kids last year.. oh my…
(And boy have my photography skillz improved!)

Then and Now last year’s school post.
PS. I’ll have to do another post next week when TK starts Kindergarten..

GoodNCrazy Book Review: Sex Ed Discussion

August 31, 2009
101 Questions Kids Really Ask… puberty education

And the Answers They Need To Know
Author: Mary H. Halter
Book Review

Head’s up everyone.. it’s that time in my world. Yup. Puberty.
No not mine..
My tween’s.

Have you been to the sex ed. health course put on by your kid’s school? The one where the boys sit and titter and the girls cover their mouths with their hands? I have. And quite honestly I was basically shocked at how really Terrifc it was. The nurse was funny, and put all the girls (and their mom’s) totally at ease. She had correct information and it was plentiful and helpful. I swear I even learned a few things!

What was your ‘maturation‘ class like when you were a kid?
A joke.
I left thinking… huh? They use all that… for what?
When will this happen? How? Where!? Can I just please be a BOY!

And what kind of help did you get at home?
Let me quote the Sum Total of advice I got:
“You need to get up there all the way or sometimes it hurts.”

I am not kidding. I didn’t dare ask, and therefore no one helped. I got more information from the Jr. High Volleyball bus than anywhere else. And believe me, that’s NOT where I want my daughter to get her information.

As an adult I tend to be the parent who uses anatomically correct words with my children. I tend to encourage them to ask questions, sensitive and otherwise. I tend to find quiet times to talk to them about big issues from drugs, to age appropriate body discussions, to how they behave when they see someone else who is hurting for any reason at school or church or where-ever. And yes. My daughter has already received the cervical cancer vaccine.

So I jumped when given the chance to read and review 101 Questions. I’ve never been one to shy away from the tough issues. Whether you are like me or a bit more reserved when it comes to sensitive issues, this book will help you talk to your tween.

101 Questions Kids Really Ask comes from the organization: Healthy Edudynamics. The author, Mary Halter, created this book as a companion to the whole comprehensive health education program she helped develop.

Apparently there were teachers, parents, grandparents and health professionals begging to be able to take home some of the materials from the program! I can see why. I’m loving this book too! The Author found that all children have the same basic age-appropriate questions… and she asks us to imagine our next generation:

“…where the kids move through adolescence with a holistic, healthy and respectful view of their bodies and the bodies of those around them.”-Mary H. Halter

I love how it starts out with ACTUAL questions tweens asked during Ms. Halter’s classes.
Some examples are:

  • Is there something you can eat to make sure you have smart sperm?
  • Why don’t girls stand up to pee, and why do boys have to stand up to pee?
  • Questions about boys having ‘good tummy aches’.
  • Are you sure babies don’t go to the bathroom inside the mom?
    —this answer starts with: Time for a short anatomy lesson! (I think that is brilliant, pointing out when it’s time to talk about body parts as well as the whole answer.)
  • How do you keep from having puberty?(I like the answer for this one so much I’m sharing it here)
    —”Puberty is something that happens to all of us. It is not something that a person can keep from happening. It may sound scary and seem like something a person would want to avoid, but it’s really an awesome time in your life!”
  • When should a girl start to shave?
    —After explaining some whys about a girl’s body, she answers this way: “Shaving is a personal decision and needs to be discussed with a caring adult.” (I’m totally impressed with the way they encourage kids to find a ‘caring adult’ to help them out.)

Other parts of the book include:

  • Questions asked about babies
  • Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault (including bullying)
  • Later in the book there is an area for ‘sensitive’ issues.
    Intercourse, homosexuality, Sex before marriage etc.. and there are terrific answers… (but again I’m most impressed with the parts that suggest ways parents can talk to their children and answer them with positive, physiologically correct answers and yet still insert the parent’s own values.)
  • When should I discuss puberty with my child.
  • And ends with helpful diagrams and images that will help you when your child begins asking questions

If you are a friend, cousin, aunt, grandma, or parent of a child who might chose to source you as a ‘caring adult’… then this book is for you. They also sell a puberty DVD that will help you to help your kids. And the Healthy Edudynamics Blog is also a great resource.
You can purchase both the book and the DVD for only $19.99 plus S&H directly from the website.

Here’s to my healthy tween!

Blueberry Sour Cream Bundt Cake

August 24, 2009
Say that 5x really fast!

This just might be the Best Blueberry Cake ever.

I must have this cake at least once per summer. Wanna know a trick? Teach your tween to cook and SHE’ll make it for you! That’s been the deal for the past 2-3 months. I told her if she’ll do the baking… I’ll happily be the cleaner-upper!

This cake is beyond yummy, and beyond pretty! It’s not totally easy to make and I was impressed that she made the cake part without any help from me at all…

The recipe I’ve been following for years calls for a bundt pan, but the recipe I re-found online from Penzeys Spices calls for a boring 13×9 pan.. believe me(!) go for your inner Martha here! USE a bundt pan!

Cake batter:

* 2 3/4 Cups flour
* 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
* 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
* 1 tsp. salt
* 3/4 Cup butter, softened
* 1 Cup sugar
* 3 eggs
* 1 1/2 Cups sour cream


* 3/4 Cup brown sugar
* 3/4 Cup chopped walnuts
* 1 1/2 tsp. CINNAMON (we used CHINA)
* 2 Cups blueberries, rinsed and drained

Preheat oven to 350°.
Grease and flour a 9×13 pan.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
In a separate bowl with an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture alternating with the sour cream and VANILLA. Beat for an additional 2-3 minutes, until well blended. Combine the streusel ingredients except for the blueberries and reserve 3/4 cup. Toss the rest of the streusel with the blueberries. Spread 1/3 of the batter in the pan, top with 1/2 of the berry mixture, another third of the batter, the rest of the berries, and finally the remaining batter. Sprinkle on the reserved 3/4 cup streusel topping.

Bake 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Carefully turn the pan over onto a serving plate or cake stand and remove from pan. When completely cooled (2 hours or so) sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Totally yummy with real whipped cream of course!

Want more recipes?
Try these over at!

To Cell Phone or Not To Cell Phone?

August 14, 2009

It’s that time. You know….
Time to make the big decision…
Should we or shouldn’t we?

The oldest is 11.

And She’s going to Jr. High in a week.
And she thinks she needs a cell phone.

And for over a year… we’ve said no. What the heck does a 10yrold need with a cell phone? Did you have one when you were 10? What did you do when your bus was late from a field trip? What did you do when you were ready to come home from a sleepover? What did you do when you got sick at school?

Oh my heck! You used a PHONE… how crazy is that, you walked up to a teacher and asked to use the phone?

The thing is… she’s going to Jr. High NOW, {that would be 20 years different than when I did}. If she’s freaked out at a friend’s house and doesn’t dare ask to use the phone..that could be awful.. if her bus is late from a volleyball trip over the mountain… I’ll be home assuming the worst… if she’s at the skating rink with friends and they are finished early and were forced to sit there waiting… I’d feel bad at least?

These all three happened in the last year. And each time she either borrowed a friend’s cell phone, or I ended up leaving my phone with her.

So which is it? Does she NEED a phone.. or do I need her to have one?

In my post ‘You Gave Your Toddler A Cell Phone?’

Um.. I was shocked.. to say the least. Over 70 people voted, and there were 4 who said they would or already did give their toddler a cell phone! Wow I thought that sounded crazy?

You can see the discussion in the comments on that post.. after chatting both here on my blog and over on Facebook.. I was enlightened as to WHY people offered their toddler a cell phone.

Blogging Pal Arizona said:

I was in the hospital for 6 weeks when I was pregnant with my twins (and then for 2 more weeks while they were in the NICU) and I gave my son a cell phone while i was an inpatient so he could always get a hold of me. He was 2 at the time. Yes. 2 YEARS OLD. I set it up to speed dial me and he would call me or I’d call him and we’d talk (as well as you could with a 2 yr old!). It helped alleviate the stress he was going through with me gone and it made me feel a little better that I could call him and hear his voice when I wanted to. He used to say he had Mama in his pocket. My husband took it away from him a couple of times because he said my son was going to get brain cancer from it, but I made sure he got it back. When I got out of the hospital we took it away for good since he had no one to call anymore. When he goes out with my MIL I sometimes give him the phone again so he can call if he gets lost (he’s now 4 and can do that).

Others voted to never give a kid a cell phone, instead let ’em buy one when they are out of high school:

From Chatty Natty’s teaching experience:

I voted never! I think it’s completely ridiculous how children these days are glued to technology, especially their cell phones. Whatever happened to being a kid?

However nearly 75% said they would buy a phone for a kid age 11 or older. I’m not saying my poll is scientific or anything. But that’s a pretty big percentage? And while here in our household we’ve been sittin’ the fence for a long time… we are currently leaning towards the cell phone side of the pasture.

Mom of older kids: Georgie puts it this way:

when all the children were in 5th grade we got them a pre-paid phone they had to prove responsible by buying their minutes and not loosing or tearing up the phone-

doing it this way taught them more than responsibility since it was prepaid and they used allowance to buy minutes they learned to keep conversations and texting to a minimum

Once they hit 6th grade we added them to our plan…so far so good

According to The Yankee Group {a research firm}, 54% of 8 to 12yrolds will have cell phones by 2010. And as of last year, about 60 percent of teenagers had cell phones.

I think we all agree there is a safety issue concerning kids tween to teen, making it worth getting them a cell phone. But what about the dangers associated with cell phones themselves? We recently sat thru a discussion sponsored by my local church about ‘Sexting’ in addition to other problems. Do I want to open my kid up to some of these issues? Here is a great article explaining some dangers associated with kids and cell phones. (FYI: They want to sell you parental control software..but I still appreciated the article. )

That brings me to companies who sell phones aimed at tweens and younger? Phones that have few keys, and parental controls built in, and limits on everything from incoming to outgoing, texts and all that… is one and there are others?

Here’s the bottom line for me. What do I want her to get out of having a phone? I think it’s a really great way to help her learn responsibility (both in limiting herself to calls we approve of, and taking care of the phone), and learn to adapt and adjust to these exact ‘scary’ things in this big world. I don’t want to scare her. I want to empower her with knowledge and understanding that these things don’t have to happen to her. That she can control it. And stay away from it.

Because honestly there are a lot more bigger, scarier things out there, High School is right around the corner, {I can barely imagine having a teenage driver}! I’d rather she practiced a little independence and responsibility now when the outcome (like her academics) aren’t going to count so much in her future.

What are your thoughts? Can a kid in Jr. High make it without a cell phone?

An additional resource I found interesting is this Texting Primer for parents from AT&T: Text2Connect with Teens

From A cell phone contract
Time limits, Phone Curfew, Minutes, Texting, Costs.

What features to look for when buying a phone for your Tween, from looks to Technology.

*note: See my twitter favorites folder for additional opinions on cell phone use for children.

Check out the comments, Jenn’s story about her daughter has just convinced me. The phone IS happening!