Swimmom’s Weblog

Diary of a Stay-at-home Mom, motherhood and beyond

Hooked on Pop March 30, 2008

My husband turned 42 yesterday so , of course, the obvious place to go to dinner was The Pop Shop.

He loves it and it’s family friendly.

Of course they held up to their great standard. We were seated quickly (you can’t make reservations, but if you call when you are on your way they will add you to the waiting list). The food was great and the service was outstanding. Of course my favorite part was when the waitress came out with my husbands desert, topped it with a candle, quieted the place and made everyone sing him happy birthday. His faced turned as red as the Phillies shirt he was sporting! Completely priceless!!

Speaking of The Pop Shop, and their great grilled cheese, April is National Grilled Cheese Month and the Pop Shop serves over 30 varieties of grilled cheese.

Wrap your mouth around that one!

My favorite is the Virginia-goat cheese, roasted veggies, garlic sauteed spinach and tomato on a crust ciabatta.


In celebration of National Grilled Cheese Month you can enter their Cheesy Poetry Contest, Be their 2008 Grilled Cheese King and Queen or simply go to The Pop Shop in April in enjoy their Grilled Cheese of the Day platter. The platter with feature a beverage, fries, and their featured grilled cheese of the day, old favorites and new soon-to-be-favorites.


Hop to Hop Sing! March 29, 2008

Friday came and went like there was no tomorrow, but don’t let your weekend fly buy.

Here are some things to take the kids to to make it fun and memorable.

1.You watch Dancin’ with the Stars, now take you little on to Dancin’ with the Kids: Latin American Dance at the Garden State Discovery Museum. Kids can take dance lessons from the pros as they mambo, cha-cha, and tango their way through the museum. Kick up your heels and dance Saturday at 11:00am, 1:00pm and 3:00pm.

2. It may not be your birthday, but it’s Vincent Van Gogh’s. Honor the artist by creating a magical Starry Night artwork at the Crayola Factory.
3. Speaking of Art, this is the last weekend to celebrate art at the Please Touch Museum. Visitors can take part in “The Great Blueness” in the Please Touch Playhouse at 11:00am, 1:00pm and 3:00pm. Kids can create paper sculpting, decorate origami samuari hats and make buttons. They also have play dough (better their house than yours).

F.Y.I. Looking for something to do on a Wednesday evening with your little one? Play the evening away at the Please Touch Museum’s First Wednesdays, Wednesday April 2, little ones can play from 5:00pm to 7:00pm for just $2. Can’t beat that!

4. Maybe it’s the name, but this one sounds super cute, and it’s an added bonus that it’s for the entire family. Milk Boy Coffee of Bryn Mawr features a full hour of singing, dancing, drumming and playing with Sally’s Music Circle during the Milk and Cookies Show, a variety hour geared towards family fun (ages 2-12). The show kicks off at Saturday March 29th at 10:30am and the cost is just $10 per family.

5. There are tons of things out there to do, if you just want to get out the house and go somewhere to play or explore new things, you can also check out the link in the upper right hand corner of my blog. Are there places you go that I haven’t mentioned, please let me know, I’d probably like to play somewhere new myself. Here’s a tip: In South Jersey we used to have a play place called It’s a Giggle. That closed but it’s turning into a play place called Kid Junction. It looks to be pretty fun, a new play to play, mommy and me classes, birthday parties and more. I know it’s not opened yet but it must open soon because the website claims the Mt. Laurel site will open in spring of 2008! I’ll keep you updates. Check it out on their website for more information.


My kids are from Mars March 27, 2008

Filed under: motherhood,parenting,Uncategorized — swimmom @ 3:56 pm
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As I write to you my sanity is spiraling down a black hole.

My 3 year old is yelling at the top of his lungs for juice,demanding it actually.

And my one year old is pulling all the pots and pans out of the cabinet that was supposed to have a lock on it. Oh look, she turned to the cabinet with the puzzles.
If I wasn’t rational and a little bit sane, I’d swear that a UFO landed and dropped off little devil clones of my kids from Mars.

My day started out in a backwards universe.

Everyone was tired and crabby. (I can’t imagine what a bad day must be like for Jon and Kate plus 8 considering I am having trouble with just two today).

Within a hour of waking up, George had 2 breakdowns and had to be put in time out two times. Sophia cried and followed me around with a tight grasp onto my pant leg. And as I was getting her dressed I took her off the toilet seat, which she likes to climb on and pull to a stand, at least a dozen times.

To make things worse, I was having a bad hair day and my clothes which I had just taken out of the dryer already had yogurt stains from my daughters tight grasp.

To my luck, the day didn’t get better or worse, it really just stayed the same. I was hoping a visit from the nap fairy would change them back into the loving kids I once recognized but it seems to have added fuel to the fire. They are now kids with attitude and energy.

At least I lost 22 lbs (my daughter death grip) and my son seems to be preoccupied by a Thomas and the Friends movie I put in the DVD player.

As I make dinner I keep looking at the clock counting down the minutes (it would be seconds but it is digital), until my husband comes homes.

T minus 2 hours and 30 minutes, until my husband comes home or I have a complete breakdown, which ever comes first.

At least my day can’t get worse (knock one wood).

Thanks for listening.


Can Princesses be as Tough as Their brothers? March 26, 2008

Filed under: motherhood,parenting — swimmom @ 5:33 pm
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I am finding my free time to be less and less.

I am adjusting to having to moving, jumping, bouncing, climbing on everything kids.

My one year old is way more active then my son was and I seriously didn’t think that was possible. Never say never.

Most of my days have been spent repeatedly taking her off chairs, couches, train tables and toilets to all of which she climbs up on and stands, so proudly, as if she just climbed to the top of Mount Everest. And of course, she has no fear, she rolled of the couch, cried all of 30 seconds and got back up and tried to jump on the couch. She stands on the train table, on the toilet and everything else she can find. I think she will be my little princess in pink ribbons, bows and lace, who can beat the boys at any game. My husband is terrified of her new found confidence (and somewhat cockiness) and in his mind advances it to a whole new level, a teenage daughter with attitude! I have to laugh!

Hearing of my daughter’s courageous endeavors, my friend recommended a book she bought for her daughter.

Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots?

It’s a great book about a little girl asking her mom about what is the correct behavior for princesses, like are they supposed to engage in behaviors such as climbing trees and walking in the rain. They come to the conclusion that being a princess is more about what’s inside that really matters.

It is a series, they also have Do Princesses Scrape Their Knees?

Do Princesses Really Kiss Frogs?

and Do Princesses Count?

My princess wears dresses, bows in her hair and loves to play with dolls and purses.

She also plays in dirt (and at times eats it), plays with trains and cars, climbs atop couches and chairs and chases after her 3 year old brother.

I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough to share these books with her.

In the mean time, maybe I’ll share them with my husband.


Easter, Smeaster March 21, 2008

Easter’s over (well is a couple days) and Spring Break is here.

What to do with all that free time?

Here are some ways to keep the kids entertained this week.

1. Bounce U and Pump it up are offering special week-long open Bounce times for Spring Break. Bounce U in Cherry Hill is open Monday and Wednesday from 10am to 1 pm, Tuesday from 12:30pm-6:00pm, Thursday 10am to 1pm and Friday 10am to 12pm. Space is limited call to reserve bounce space. Pump it up in Marlton is also offering a special spring break schedule your kids can bounce all week long from 10am to noon. Check their website for more information.

2. Your kids are off for the week so now would be a good time to take advantage of the visiting some of the museums in Philadelphia you never get a chance to visit. The City Pass might be a good way to visit the sites and save some money and save time you’d spend waiting in line for tickets. The City pass is $34 for kids 3-12 and $49 for adults. This ticket is good for nine days and includes admission 5 of the great Philadelphia attractions including The Franklin Institute Science Museum, Philadelphia Trolley Tour, The National Constitution Center, The Adventure Aquarium, The Academy of Natural Science, or the Eastern State Penitentiary and The Philadelphia Zoo. Check their website for more information.

3. Visit you local Barnes and Noble. Check their your local stores website. They often offer a free weekly story time for little ones (this is a great way to preview a new book before you purchase it). After checking out story time, grab lunch. Your local public library may also have some free reading or craft classes for the kids during this upcoming week.

4. Check out the Garden State Discovery Museum, Jelly Bean-Jungle, The Please Touch Museum and Oceans-n-Motions.

Do you live in the South Jersey and Philadelphia Area and know of a something to do during Spring Break to keep the kids busy? Please send a comment and let me know! I’ll add it to the list.


Hop on the Bunny Train March 20, 2008

Here are some things special Easter events you can take the kids to this weekend and if you’re lucky get a glimpse of our floppy eared furry friend in the process.

1. Is your little one into trains and interested in the Easter Bunny? Ride the East Bunny Express at the New Hope and Ivyland Railroad. The Easter bunny visits with every child on the train, poses for pictures and presents each child with a special gift. Advance tickets are recommended and if you purchase them online you receive $2 off. Check out their website for more information.

2. Staying along the train route, you can ride the Easter Bunny Train at the Strasburg Railroad with Peter Cottontail himself. Not only will this be a special trip with the Easter Bunny, but each child will receive a gift and this will be a special train with 2 steam locomotives on the same train. he Easter Bunny Train runs throughout the weekend. Check their website for more information.

3. Join in the Easter fun with the Garden State Discovery Museum all weekend long. Saturday, March 22nd, they kick off the holiday weekend with their Peep Peep Show as they welcome some cute little chicks into the world. Sunday, at 1:00pm, take part in their Easter Egg Hunt, as children are invited to search the museum high and low for colorful eggs. Finish off the festive weekend Monday, from noon to 3:00pm, with Fun and Food from around the world. Each room features a new world from France to Taiwan while trying your hand at some native goodies in the process.

4. Maybe you’ve had enough of the Easter Egg Hunts! How about some bouncing!! You can bounce it up at Bounce U in Cherry Hill Saturday March 23rd, from 7-9pm. Pizza and drinks are available. $9.95 to bounce, make it $13.95 for bouncing and pizza. They will also feature face painting and an Easter Egg hunt, every kid gets a prize.

5. Pump it up in Marlton, NJ is featuring a special Easter Egg Hunt for the kids 34″ to age 6, Friday March 22nd from 9:30am to noon. Entertain (and hopefully tire out) your little ones with a morning of jumping, bouncing, sliding and Easter egg hunting (hello nap). If you don’t live near the Marlton Pump it up, check out the website to find a Pump it up in your area, they may also be featuring a special Easter event.

Looking for things to do next week to keep your little ones entertained, come back tomorrow and I’ll clue you in to what’s going on around the area.


3 is the new 2 March 18, 2008

Filed under: motherhood,parenting,Uncategorized — swimmom @ 5:49 pm
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My son is only a couple days into his 3rd year and already I have had a taste of the terrible 3’s.

Three must be the new two.

He is calm and happy one minute and the next he is having a complete breakdown. He has dropped to the floor, begging, whining, pleading, doing whatever it takes to get what he wants. If something doesn’t go his way and I pick him up, he refuses to walk and pulls the “limp body” when you go to pick him up.

Yesterday he had his first temper tantrum.

He whined and screamed so much, after I put him in his room, he actually made himself sick.

When he is going through the temper tantrum, I try to tell him I understand and try to get him to explain what is wrong. Maybe that is too rational for an irrational 3 year old. I am not sure how to handle them, I give him his space if he doesn’t clam down and I try to talk with him about it later.

Do I give him a time out?

My mom claims it is pay back.

I used to throw temper tanrums in the middle of the kitchen floor. I would hold my breath, my parents actually asked the doctor what they could do about it and he told them to ignore me and walk into the other room and sooner or later I would realize I didn’t have an audience and stop throwing the temper tantrums and it worked. George has only had one tantrum so far. But is that they way to handle them? it hasn’t happened in public, but what if it does?

I’d probably break into a deep sweat and walk away claiming, “That’s not my kid” (Not really but, don’t we all wish just for a second we could do that, once and a while).

What triggers these temper tantrums or frustrations?

Anything from not getting what he wants right away, not finding a train or car he his looking for, or wanting to stay somewhere we have to leave. It’s nothing complex. I think he is finding out who he is and still has trouble expressing his frustration or asserting his independence. But that doesn’t make it any easier. I feel myself start to sweat and hang on to the little bit of calmness and self control.

So what do the “experts” recommend we do in this situation?

According to Parent Center, preschoolers usually have tantrums because they are having a “fit in response to frustration”. They also go on to explain, “your preschoolers overwhelming emotions are usually to blame. Fearfulness, rejection by his peers, and sudden interruptions are frequent tantrum triggers for him”.

That would explain why interruptions by his younger sister trigger smaller fits (which at times I can totally understand).

Here are the 5 tips they recommend to handling a tantrum:

Don’t lose your cool. Even though a temper tantrum isn’t a pretty sight, when your child is swept up in a tantrum, he is unable to listen to reason. Getting angry and yelling may actually fuel his temper tantrum. They suggest maybe just sitting with him and being with him until the tantrum subsides. Stomping out of the room, they point out may make your child feel abandoned. If he is not wailing too much, they suggest trying to hug him or hold him, he may find your touch comforting.

Remember that you are the adult. No matter how long the tantrum subsides don’t give into unreasonable demands and negotiations. By giving in, you are teaching your child that throwing a fit is the way to get what he wants and that sets the stage for future behavior problems. If your child’s tantrum escalates to the point where he is hitting people throwing things or kicking and screaming non-stop, pick him up and carry him to a safe place. Let him know why he is there and tell him you will stay with him until he calms down. If you are in a public place, they suggest, you may need to pick him up and leave until your child calms down.

Talk it over afterward. After the tantrum, be prepared to talk with your child and hold him close. Try to let him know that you understand how he is feeling and get him to put his frustrations into words.

Try to ward off tantrum-triggering situations. That may mean planning ahead. If you child gets frustrated when hungry, carry snacks. If your child doesn’t like changes in events, let him know about new activities and explain to him what will be going on. Warning you child gives him a chance to adjust instead of react. My son gets frustrated when we are outside for only a short time and have to come in because of diner or nap time, so I just explain to him, “We are going outside, but it won’t be for long and when I say it’s time to come in, we have to come in but we’ll go back out later.” I find this helps him prepare. They also suggest, most children don’t like being told what to do. Give them choices. Monitor how often you are telling your child no. If you are rattling it off easily, maybe you are putting unwanted stress on the both of you. Ease up and choose your battles.

Watch for signs of overstress. Although temper tantrums are a normal part of preschool behavior watch for possible problems brewing. If your preschooler is having tantrums every day, maybe you want to talk with your pediatrician who can suggest other ways to deal with his issues.

I know I’m not the only one out there experiencing the occasional terrible 3’s.

I’d love to hear about your own experiences.

What has helped you in dealing with your preschoolers tantrums?