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Category Archives: Stuff I HATE… or really really don’t like

Tip of the Momma 2 U: Tired of Flash Cards?

I don’t know how some people do it, how they study for a test with flash cards. Kudos to those who can.

I am not one of those people. And I realize that my child is semi-responsive to that method of learning.

In my son’s third grade class they are starting to learn multiplication facts. Starting soon, those who miss two or less on their test each week will receive a pop. A little drink I still like to refer to as Soda.

My son will just DIE if he doesn’t get a Soda each week. At least that’s how he acts about it. But I’m happy to see that he’s motivated. He doesn’t get to drink soda at home and very rarely at restaurants, so I have no gripes about it, as long as he doesn’t have the opportunity to down it just before I pick him up from school.

So, back to the flash cards. Years ago, before my child was even a twinkle in my eye, I knew that a game of Jenga existed in which the blocks were modified with dares and tasks written on each block for a drinking game. Tsk, tsk, and shame on people for taking such an innocent game and turning it into a beverage consumption game. Heh.

Anyhow, taking that concept (which my children will never hear of… from me) I came up with a fun way to go over the multiplication facts and not lose my mind with the redundancy of flipping cards while my kid answers back dryly and then we shuffle and do it for four more minutes. By the way, bless his teacher’s heart for at least providing the flash cards for us. If I had to make them, I might cry.

Alright, enough whining from me. The bottom line is that, there are adults and children who do not learn well from flash cards.

So here’s my Tip of the Momma 2 U: Any brand of this tower game can be purchased and used as a teaching tool. Our particular tower was for Multiplication facts. Here’s how it works:

Take one tower containing 48 blocks. Write a multiplication question on each of the two widest sides of each block with a sharpie pen. I was able to write all facts of 1’s through 9’s multiplying by 1 – 10. With the remaining blank spots I wrote things such as “Count by 3’s to 30” or “0 X any number” (in which the child would reply “equals zero”).

Have a print up of the Multiplication Facts Table nearby in case there’s a discrepancy about the answer and also so your child can easily test him/herself.

You can play this game like a typical game of Jenga where you try not to topple the tower. My son decided to construct another tower with his correctly answered blocks.

Another idea: Place them in a bag or basket and randomly pick them out to answer.

If you have littler ones who are learning to read or spell, try one of these:

Write common sight word on the blocks

Write tasks such as “Say a word that starts with C” and put the whole alphabet in the game

That’s not all, right? Give me some more ideas!

Love,

Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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Martha Asks Martha: How do I live with a Bunk Bed?

If you’ve read my past blog on bunk beds then you know the daily battles my son and I engaged in with making this bed. Sure, bunk beds are fun for kids, but not fun for the person who has to make them. I told my 8 year old son it was his job to make the bed himself and I actually felt bad for him. He was getting just as hurt and frustrated as I was in this task, and he’s half my size!

Some of my readers (loving family and friends) suggested that I use a sleeping bag instead. This is a great idea! However, we have character comforters out the ying-yang and I’m way to stubborn to let them go. Plus, I dread the sound of zippers clancking around in my dryer. Yes, I’m a stubborn gal!

So if you aren’t as stubborn as I am, start with a sleeping bag. Because I’m so stubborn, I decided to try one more thing before giving in to retiring a brand new Star Wars: The Clone Wars comforter and sheet set.

IMPORTANT! Before reading this and possibly taking my advice, please remember that this solution, similar to a sleeping bag, was tested out on an 8-year-old capable of getting out of a sleeping bag in an emergency. Do not use this solution with a child that would not be able to do so. Thank You.

So, we have tested and approved this method ever since the first blog post of my whining and complaining came out. Since the test, we have kept the method and my son makes his bed every morning without an injury and I am about as happy as a domestic engineer can get each morning (please add coffee).

This is our “Method to Making the Lower Bunk of a Bunk Bed” (dun dun dun!):

What you’ll need –

  • The twin comforter of your choice!
  • The twin sheets of your choice!
  • Zip ties (YES! Zip Ties! Sometimes called Cable Ties)
  • Pair of tough scissors

That’s it! The best thing about zip ties is that they are CHEAP. I bought mine at an unnamed superstore for under $2.50 for a pack of 50. A pack of 50 could last you about 4 months if you change the bedding once a week. Imagine how much money you’ll save in bandaids, antiseptics, ice packs and therapy (from all the emotional damage the old fashioned way will cause you). I won’t disclose how often I change out ours. There’s no judging here!

First thing you want to do is lay out your kid’s bedding on the floor UPSIDE DOWN, preferably next to the bed itself. Lay the Comforter down first, then any extra winter blankets, then your flat sheet (remember, ALL upside down).

Now fold the foot of the bedding sandwich over, only to the length of the twin mattress. This helps preserve the character theme of your comforter, the whole reason you spend $29.99+, right?!

We severed Obi Wan and Anakin's head's off when we did it the old way...

Everytime you do this, you will need only 3 zip ties. Yes, just three. This allows for the child to throw off unwanted layers on warmer nights.

Zip tie the two bottom corners nice and tight so that the blankets never pull free. Yes, this will leave a thicker mound at the foot of the bedding, but your elbows will thank you in the end.

Now the last zip tie goes on the top corner that is used the least for entering the bed. Remember that your bedding is upside down right now, so think about which upper corner will end up on the entrance side. My son’s bed is against the wall and he is forced to enter on the left side. Easy-peasy!

Here’s an important thing to note: Once the ties are pulled tight, you’ll may feel the desire to cut off the excess tie. If you do so (which we do) be sure to cut as close as possible to avoid sharp plastic edges that can scratch. So far, my son has not been scratched whatsoever. Also, turn them in toward the bed and not facing out, if you’re extra worried about little scratches. And please make sure your bedding is out of the cutting zone! I say this because I came close to cutting the bedding fabric. Whoa!

Now you have to teach your kid to make the bed, because now it’s so easy, you no longer need to do it for them! Leave enough space between the bed and the wall so your kid can throw the far ends over the bed and tuck them down. My kid sleeps in a tornado fashion. If yours does too, he or she may need to tuck under and smooth out that bumpy foot of the bed sometimes. The rest is just smoothing the top so mommy and daddy can say “oooh” and “ahhh” when they walk in.

Oh hi, Obi Wan and Anakin! There you are!

To clean your blankets, simply cut off and discard the zip ties and repeat the whole method again with new ties. Be sure not to cut your blankets when removing the ties!

I hope this helps! My kid loves it. I love it! My 4 year old has a regular twin bed, but if he follows in his brother’s tornado steps, I’ll use the same method to help him keep the blankets in line.

Love,

Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

 

Doubledecker Disaster or How Mommy Got Her Butt Kicked

I’ve been up for just two hours today and already I have broken up two fights, prepared three meals, cleaned five rooms, organized three schedules, ironed two articles of clothing, and had a paper airplane thunk me in the head. I added that because it JUST happened. On top of that, I got into an altercation for five minutes, in which I bumped my elbow, pulled a hamstring, busted my head, and got a splinter in my finger. And after all that, the bunkbed won! And that was just the bottom bunk… don’t get me started on the top bunk, which no one is allowed to use unless they don’t already live in this house.

So, guess what? I HATE BUNKBEDS! My kid hates his bunkbed. The reason he hates it? He hates it because I hate making it and so I make him make it. But today I decided to help him out…

Whoever invented bunkbeds is a GENIUS because, although they are a huge pain in the butt to make, we STILL buy them! I never had one as a kid, yet I always wanted one. They have to be the coolest thing a kid could ever play on/in. My friends’ brother had a car bed when we were kids and we pretended it drove us to the past and the future. But the bunkbed goes beyond that. It’s has so much potential from the day you buy it. I mean it can be a cave, a three story apartment, a skyscraper, a bridge in which to bungee jump off of. The possibilities are endless, as they say.

Thank goodness for the sticker on the top bunk that states you have to be 6 years or older to be up there, otherwise I’d be freaking out for the next two years. Of course, I’m really good at coming up with my own rules, but it just makes my life easier. Once we went to this massive furniture store and they had a luxury bunkbed on display. It had a clubhouse on top and my kids were ecstatic. The 8 year old, who hates making his bed, lost his mind and forgot all the times he bonked his head and got fuzzy elbows from smacking them into the walls when the blankets got loose from his yank. I brought him back to Earth and said, “Now, how in the world would you get a vaccuum cleaner up there?” He knew I was messing with him, but we have shared the dilemma of making the bunk beds. It bites!

I’d like to know what other people do with bunk beds. Do you just give up on all sanity or do you do something clever like custom make blankets or use throw blankets that are the perfect size, or something in that nature? Just help! And pretty please don’t share a link with some seemingly awesome solution unless you actually own one or know someone personally that owns one. The last thing I want to do is “test” something out, find out it doesn’t work, bring in an axe, chop up the bunk bed and then have to clean up the emotional mess that goes along with a reaction like that.

Much appreciated.

Love,

Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa 

P.S. How about them fitted sheets? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!