This Dodge Grand Caravan van has been a real treat for us when the kids were little and I ran a day home. Has seat belts for 7 people, makes a great family vehicle. The Center dual sliding doors and bucket seats made getting the kids in and out of their car seats a lot easier. In fact that's why we bought it, I hurt my back trying to get my son out of his car seat in our Honda Accord.
We've had some great adventures in this van and lots of family vacations. The most memorable had to be the first one. I took my 3 year old son and 3 month old daughter camping to Sylvan Lake on August Long Weekend. We left Calgary on Friday and it was raining, by the time I got to Sylvan Lake it was pouring buckets. When I finally found our campsite I unloaded everything that I could onto the picnic table and covered it with the tarps. Then I folded the middle bucket seats up (I'd left the back bench at home) and made a bed in the back. The three of us had lots of fun in camping in the van watching the SNOW, yes SNOW in August, fall outside.
This van has served our family well but now the kids can get their own seat belts on and off, the day home has closed and I needed a small car.
1998 Dodge Grand Caravan SE For Sale in NW Calgary. Fully loaded with a remote starter alarm system. Very well maintained by a highly skilled journeyman mechanic, oil changes ahead of schedule every time. Very clean, never been smoked in and no animals, if you don't count the kids. Seats are cloth, very clean with no stains. Don't know how I was able to achieve that but I did. Asking $3,900.00.
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My 8 year old son is a fantastic reader and he loves to read to his 5 year old sister before bed. He will read her a bedtime story and spend some real quality time together. He helps her learn her words and she loves this special time with her big brother.
Every night before bed we sit and read, sometimes I read a chapter from a chapter book, sometimes my son reads to his sister, sometimes my daughter will read to me. It's this time that we all bond together.
My kids have a hard time falling asleep, tonight they actually fell asleep before 9:30 that's a record. So the time we spend before bed must be quiet and relaxing. However, when my son reads to his sister it's usually full of laughter and not much resting. He will even help her read sometimes, that is really special time.
I don't have them over scheduled in lots of different activities, I value the time that they spend together at home too much to have one following the other all over the city. It's my goal to have a close family not a busy one.
Their favorite book to read together is Alligator Stew, this might explain the uncontrollable laughter.
It was nice to have my husband home this weekend to spend time with the kids. He took our son to a custom car show one day and played xbox with our daughter the next. The best though was bedtime, every day I read to the kids before bed. On Sunday night after reading we played a game of monopoly the kids verses the parents. It was a lot of fun and the kids were so happy, much happier then they've been since he went north to work. It felt like a whole family again.
Game nights where all the family members play together is a fun way to build a close family. "Families that play together stay together" Here are a couple of our favorites:
Crainium Family Fun Game
This game needs at least 4 players to play as it is a team game. This game like the original uses lots of different traditional games to make an updated action packed game. Draw pictures, Complete challenges, guess actions and answer trivia questions. Each card is full of fun challenges that you get to work together to complete. Increases skills, motor functions and brain activities and at the same time having fun and spending time together as a family.
A classic that is always a lot of fun. With the huge selection of themed monopoly games you are sure to find one that will fit your families interests. Everything from t.v classics like "I Love Lucy" to today's t.v like "Sponge Bob Square Pants". Singing legends like "Elvis" to Brand legends like "Harley Davidson". The selection is as vast as any families interests. Whether your family is a Disney loving family or a sports loving family you'll find something.
Family games night is a special time your kids will look forward to because it is time with you as a family where the voice mail takes the phone calls and the tv is off. All attention is on each other, it is a special time for everyone.
Mothers have limited time and as such need to be organized. Not always an easy thing. One area in my home that I need and love to have organized is a coffee station in my kitchen.
Between the stove and the sink lies my oasis, my coffee station. The counter houses the tools and the cupboard above my special mugs, the counter below the coffee supplies and between the utensil drawer for the spoons.
By ensuring that everything is in one place, easily accessable making coffee is easy and quick. Organize your kitchen with various stations for baking, spices, cooking, cleaning. Each area has everything you need just an arms length away. Spices in a drawer or rack near the stove. Plates, cups and utensils close to the dishwasher.
When organizing your kitchen think in triangles. The outside large triangle being the stove, sink and fridge. Smaller triangles for stations that encompass the main point, the stove, sink or fridge. There is no point having spices near the fridge or coffee pot next to the stove instead of the sink.
Do you have any home organization ideas to help mothers make their lives easier? Share them.
The Coffee Store
The Best Coffee in the World.
Are you planning a baby shower for a friend or relative? Looking for baby shower ideas? Is this maybe the second child for the family? If this is the second baby, include the older child in the festivities. Give him or her a special job, a surprise for the new baby. Make sure to have a gift for the older child that will include him or her in the gift receiving. Something to celebrate their special role as a new big sibling.
The older sibling could be responsible for:
Picking out a gift
Choosing the theme of the party
Picking the color scheme
Picking out the cake
Give the child a digital camera or a one use camera to take pictures of the baby shower. See how they saw the day and then together put the pictures in an album with little notes to the baby from their older sibling.
Having the older sibling involved in the baby shower planning and festivities will bring him or her a sense of being included even if the party is about the new baby instead of them. They will have a feeling of importance and a spirit of giving.
Go Green Environmentally Friendly Baby Shower Theme
For baby shower ideas, supplies and gift ideas.
Gifts for the older sibling
At some point the house is so filled with toys that the kids never play with you feel its time to purge the house of the excess. This is my task today, only issue, my daughter doesn't want to get rid of anything. She's now trying to prove to me that she will play with her toys. She likes to collect stuff and this is a really bad habit to have, especially at such a young age. I really want to teach her that stuff isn't that important and that you don't need to collect stuff to be happy.
I need to get rid of the clutter and simplify our lives. We've been so weighed down and I'm hoping that if I clear out the house of the excess it will bring a new lightness to our lives too. It seems as though the more clutter we've amassed the more disorganized and frustrated we've all become. I'm hoping by clearing out the house and becoming more organize the family will be more productive
The kids toys are a large contributor but so is my scrapbooking paraphenalia. Everything is in rubbermaid drawers and bins, however it feels like the house is bursting at the seems as everything doesn't have a hidding place. I would love some built ins to give everything a home but that's not going to happen anytime soon. The only other option is to prune our stuff and get rid of what we don't need.
As I watch my daughter play with her Barbies for the first time in ages I find myself thinking, oh but what if she wants to play with her toys later. I need to take a reality check here, what does she play with - her stuffies, xbox, nintendo ds, computer, and her brother. The Dora stuff hasn't seen daylight for over a year and the little people haven't been played with for a longer period of time.
Time to clear out the house and I know when I do it will feel like we've got an extra 200 square feet all of a sudden. It's easier to do this then move, that's for sure.
Some Websites you may find useful when organizing your home and the kids toys:
Easy 2 Organize - everything you need to know about organizing your home and life.
The Survival Guide - a great article that gets the whole family involved in the task.
Best House Cleaning Tips - One room at a time is this mother's advice
Parentree - Ideas on Organizing a Playroom
My kids and I love to sit and listen to Adventures in Odyssey together and the stories are so wonderful and filled with moral lessons we can talk about. It is old radio theater and not TV so imagination must be used to know what's going on.
Produced by Focus on the Family it is centered around a man named John Avery Whittiker, not sure if it's spelt right. John Whittiker runs an ice cream shop designed for kids to learn, discovery and have fun. Every story is filled with moral christian lessons about things like, honesty, kindness, patience, love, and more. Every episode has a lesson to talk about with your kids. We love to listen before bed.
Try it out and see if your children love to listen to the stories. You can listen at oneplace.com There are lots of episodes in the archives and both daily episodes from the past and new weekly episodes. If your children are having problems in life with bully's or moral delemas these stories are a tool you can use to help.
Sometimes as parents we say things that we really don't mean, sometimes out of fear, other times out of conditioning. Ever hear the saying "I sound like my mother"? Is your child overly sensitive or overly emotional? You really need to ensure that you respect their feelings, even if they are irrational. This takes time because you can't just dismiss them and say "get over it" or "your just being silly." To do so would make things worse and then they will be scared to open up.
If one child is more irrational or more sensitive then the other and you continue to dismiss them, you will start to drive the wedge in between them. HUH, this has nothing to do with them as siblings right? Wrong. A sensitive child can pick up on how you talk and treat the other and even if their assumptions are incorrect they are real to them, it becomes their reality, their truth. Perceived favoritism is just as real to them as actual favoritism.
So how do you avoid this? First by understanding that your child is sensitive and in tune to things he or she cannot understand. Second put yourself in that childs shoes by asking them questions about how they came to that conclusion. Continue asking leading questions getting them to quietly and calmly come to a different conclusion. Don't harp on them, don't belittle their feelings or try to make light of them. To a sensitive child these feelings and conclusions are real.
A sensitive child is a hard nut to crack because in most cases they will not open up to you and internalize everything. Every once in awhile they will say something a remark here or there that you will need to pick up and run with. By not critizing them and helping them to understand your side or the other child's side will go a long way.
Do you encourage your children to tell each other "I Love You"? They need to know that their siblings love and value them not only to raise their self esteem but to avoid self pity assumptions that are not true.
Do you encourage your children to tell each other how great they are? Self esteem is one of those things that needs to be nurtured and what better way then by their siblings? Siblings who know that their sibling thinks they are a great sister or brother will strive to continue to keep that title. This also will ensure that wrong and damaging assumptions are not made.
Siblings will fight and they will get on each others nerves. They will say mean things to each other and hurt each others feelings. The result of which can be blown out of proportion if they are unsure if their sibling loves them. If they already believe that their sibling can't stand them more negative words will only prove their mistaken assumptions.
This is the month of love. Why not encourage more love in your home by establishing an "I Love You" habit. No one goes to bed without saying "I Love You" to everyone.
Do you have one child who gets in trouble a bit more than the other? One that is more talented, cuter, more popular? This is where things can get tricky. This is where time together gets more important then ever. Does one perceive that the other gets more or is more loved? Short of keeping a journal and list to make sure that each is provided the same amount of stuff, love and attention, it can be hard to keep perceived favortism out of the picture.
If your children seem to be unequal in gifts and talents, it is time for you to focus on the child who you perceive as having less. Time for you to put them into a variety of activities to find the one that they will shine in. Time for you to look and find the diamonds that need polishing and polish them. It's time for you to take a look at your attitude. Yes, your attitude. Do you view the interests and activities of that child as somehow not important, as lesser and not interesting to you? If a child loves something that you don't why should the child find interest in that what you are interested in? As the parent is it not your responsibility to make sure that you take in interest in what they are interested in. Ok so a night at the hockey game may be more fun for you but your child may be more interested in building models. Which do you think he would find most valuable and most esteem boosting? Time doing something dad likes to do or doing something he likes to do? I'm not saying that time with a child has to be all about their interests and talents, but the bulk of the time should be.
In todays world the amount of time we have for our kids is not huge, in fact it is a precious commodity. It is easier to spend time having fun with the child who's interests parallel yours, the trick is spending time with the one who is different, doing what the child likes. Showing an interest in both children's interests, talents and activities will help to alleviate the preceived favortism attitude that will erode a sibling relationship.
If one child's activities will take up so much more of your day to day time and resources at the expense of the other child how will this help their relationship? After all sibling rivalry is the fight for you, your love, and your attention. How would you feel if your spouse came home with another wife or husband for you to play with and share with. How would you feel? It's easy to pass it off as sibling rivalry and as one child being a whiner or overly sensitive, but guess what... you are the parent and it is your job to teach them how to get a long.