My Christmas Gift To You. There Is Dancing Involved.

I wanted to make a quick post to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and to thank those who have supported this blog. This has been a big year for me in terms of Are You Finished Yet?, and I have been lucky to welcome a lot of new people to my little party here. So this is what you would have received in your mailboxes, if I had everyone’s addresses:xmascard2013

Also, my kids wanted to dance you out of the holiday season.The epic nature of their moves Continue reading “My Christmas Gift To You. There Is Dancing Involved.”

The Myth Is Over, But The Magic Remains

This is it, I thought to myself. I just had this feeling the moment was upon me. But I never would have guessed Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to be the impetus for the conversation.

On the television screen was a warehouse full of mall Santas in various costumed states, running an underground knockoff toy ring. Jim Belushi was trying to con Schwarzenegger, the desperately gift-less father, into buying a cheap replica of Turbo Man for his son.

So many Santas. So many obviously fake Santas. I could sense my daughter recognized the perfect moment of opportunity. Continue reading “The Myth Is Over, But The Magic Remains”

My Plan for Dethroning the Rainbow Loom

Beanie Babies. Garbage Pail Kids. Pogs. Silly Bandz. The Pet Rock. Bracelets of the Friendship, Jelly, and Slap kind.

What do all these things have in common? Yes, they are all fads which kids at different points in history HAD to have. But they are also the worst kind of fads: the fads that make somebody rich by forcing poor parents to spend hard-earned money on crap we can already find in our homes: Beanie Babies=bean bags. Garbage Pail Kids=drawings of gross characters (my son makes these on a daily basis). Pogs=cardboard and poker chips. Silly Bandz=rubber bands. Pet Rock=rocks. Friendship Bracelets=thread. Jelly Bracelets=more rubber bands. Slap Bracelets=mini-blinds.

And now, there is the Rainbow Loom.

rainbow loom
Totally worth $15.99

I’m going to bet every parent with a school-aged child just grunted. Why? Because the Rainbow Loom is a pain in the ass. For those of you lucky enough to not know what a Rainbow Loom is, it’s basically a combination of Silly Bandz and friendship bracelets. In other words, it’s a super hybrid fad.  I would like to meet the genius who turned orthodontic rubber bands into the hot new must-have item among the juvenile set. And I would like this person to invite me over to his or her home mansion so I can sprinkle those tiny, brightly colored elastics all throughout it. Because if my daughter doesn’t manage to weave those little pieces of junk into a tight-fitting bracelet that cuts off the circulation to my hand, then they ultimately end up on the floors of every room in my house. And if they are all over the floors of my house, they aren’t in her little rubber band organizational case. And if that organizational case it empty, then I am tasked with spending another $5 on a small bag of things I used to get for free at the orthodontist’s office and made my teeth sore while correcting my overbite. And don’t even think about trying to use a coupon to help subsidy this new habit. Because those awesome weekly 40% off coupons at the hobby store can be used on pretty much everything…except the Rainbow Loom and its accessories. Bastards.

Don’t get me wrong. I think fads are fun, especially ones that promote creativity and artistic skill. But wouldn’t it be nice if something would catch on with kids that didn’t involve sweatshops in Taiwan?

Far be it from me to simply complain about something yet remain inactive. So I have taken it upon myself to suggest some candidates for new fads in children’s play…and none of them will cost you a dime. As a bonus, they all have that “reduce, reuse, recycle” thing going for them, because they are all born from crap already lying around your house.

1. Produce Bag Twist Ties Sculpture Kit

twist tie thinker
“The Thinker” a la twist ties.

You guys, we’ve had a goldmine of endless hours of play sitting in the bottom of our refrigerator produce drawers ALL THIS TIME. They twist. They bend. You can turn them into pretty much anything in the whole entire world. And when you run out, all you need to do is head to the grocery store to pick up some more apples. Which brings up another amazing quality of this toy: you can bribe your kids into better eating habits: “The more bell peppers you eat, the more twist ties I can get for your sculptures.” I don’t know, but I kind think this one could be a “Parent’s Choice” Award Winner.

2. Marker Caps Manicure Setmarker cap manicure

Until someone figures out a foolproof way to teach kids that the caps go back ON the markers after they are finished with them, this fad will likely enjoy some good longevity on the market. And you don’t have to use any harsh chemicals to remove them…or risk your child setting all her nail polisher remover-soaked cotton balls directly onto a bathroom shelf, adding yet another piece of household furniture to the “claimed by children” list. As for all those dried-out markers, sorry. The idea ends here.

3. Granola Bar Wrapper Headband Makergranolaheadband

We can finally all be free of those overpriced Lululemon headbands. I mean, my kids eat granola bars like they are going out of style, but it’s also apparently not in style to throw away the wrappers. Because they litter my house with them. No worries. Now our daughters can use them to make stylish headbands that promote adequate daily fiber intake and Puritan modesty, instead of ones that might become see-through if their heads exceed the maximum circumference deemed acceptable by some sad excuse for a CEO who doesn’t know how to apologize to his customers and all of humankind.

4. Dog Hair Knitting

So I was kind of joking. But this is apparently a real thing. There is even an eHow article on how to knit a dog hair sweater.
So I was kind of joking. But this is apparently a real thing. There is even an eHow article on how to knit a dog hair sweater. Source: The Other licensed under CC BY 2.0

Think about it. It’s cruelty-free fur, and your floors will have never been cleaner.

5. Crayon Stubs Mosaic Kit

Um, pretty freaking awesome.  "Crayon Mural" by Kelli Wilke is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Um, pretty freaking awesome. “Crayon Mural” by Kelli Wilke is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Pretty self-explanatory. I wouldn’t mind buying a new box of crayons approximately every three months if I knew the nubs would end up someplace other than the bottom of random drawers, under couch cushions, smashed into carpets, and melted inside my floor vents.

So, what do you say, fellow moms and dads? Should we take the matter of fads into our own hands? Create the next big thing every kid in school has to have (and already does)? Keep our money for more important things, like college tuition…or splurging for heated seats on our next car purchase?

Let’s keep tiny rubber bands where they belong: in the metalled mouths of middle schoolers.

Do you have any more ideas for free fads? I’d love to hear them!

Perfection Pending
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Halloween Without the Trick-or-Treating

Halloween bit the big one this year. And considering how I feel about the spooky holiday (I love it like a third child), this was enough to put me in a mini depression that could only be lifted by bite-sized Snickers and a package of pumpkin Peeps. (Yes, I said Peeps. Don’t pollute my comment section with your disparaging Peep hate speeches. All candy has worth. Even Good & Plenty.)

It started when our brilliant Trunk or Treat Continue reading “Halloween Without the Trick-or-Treating”

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Jacklegs

Lately, my children have been testing me. Well technically, “testing me” is a constant state of being for them, but lately they just seem to be doing it on steroids. And that means it’s time to review some discipline tactics I’ve long had in my arsenal but forgot were there. I was looking over some materials from a “Love and Logic” course my husband and I took when my oldest was a toddler. Among the neatly bullet-pointed parenting ideas was Continue reading “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Jacklegs”

Kids’ Shows Are Annoying…And They Should Be

Hey moms and dads. I know you know where I’m coming from. It is the background music to the soundtrack of this phase of our lives. I’m talking about kids’ shows. And I believe they fall under the genre of annoying.

But why wouldn’t they be? Their target audience is kids…and to be blunt, kids are annoying.

It is hard not to get irritated Continue reading “Kids’ Shows Are Annoying…And They Should Be”

I Am Afraid I May Have Wished It All Away

I wish he would start sleeping through the night…I wish she would hold her bottle on her own…I wish he would learn to sit up…I wish she could tell me exactly what she wanted…I wish he would figure out potty-training…I wish she could pour herself some milk…I wish he would watch something besides “Thomas the Tank Engine”…I wish she went to school for longer than two-and-a-half hours… Continue reading “I Am Afraid I May Have Wished It All Away”

A Lesson In Carpooling

There are many awkward situations one will face throughout the emotionally unstable, pimple-laden journey that is growing up. One of those situations is most likely carpooling. It is a forced togetherness based solely upon proximity and convenience, nothing more. In my case, I was stuck riding to school with various families throughout elementary school, none of whom were friends or even kids in my grade. But most of the Continue reading “A Lesson In Carpooling”

A Tale of Two Kindergarteners

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

Michael started Kindergarten four days ago. It hasn’t been good. There has been crying. And pleading. And death grips. I know this is not out of the ordinary. I know starting Kindergarten can be overwhelming for a lot of kids. I know riding the bus can be downright scary for a little person who still needs me to wipe his rear after #2. I know. I just didn’t want it to Continue reading “A Tale of Two Kindergarteners”

Why It’s Time for My Kids to Go Back to School

I have a history of loving Summer. I loved Summer as a kid because, well, duh. Then, after eighteen years of schooling, I decided to stay in school and teach. I loved Summer as a teacher because, well, duh. And the whole Summer deal was sweetened by the fact that my birthday occurs during it.

But then I stopped teaching and became a parent. Suddenly, summer wasn’t what it used to be. Before my kids were school aged, a Summer day was simply like any other of Continue reading “Why It’s Time for My Kids to Go Back to School”