When Your Child Learns to Operate the Remote Control

remotecontrol.jpgRecently, my son defected from Disney Junior and discovered a love for Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry on the Boomerang channel. Although I miss Jake and his pals, I do not miss the theme song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse running through my head all day.

With his discovery of a new cartoon channel, he also finally learned to master the remote control. To my dismay, television watching sessions are now filled with endless pausing, fast forwarding, and volume adjusting. I really hope the excitement of his new-found skill dies down soon!

His interest in a new television station also introduced him to a whole new set of commercials. Disney Junior and Nick Jr. have limited commercials, which are all relatively kid friendly and simply designed to make your child scream, “I want that!”

However, many of Boomerang’s commercials are geared toward the adult audience. After finally adjusting to the fact that he cannot fast forward through them (an endless source of frustration), my son seems to have embraced this new set of commercials.

Often, I will be in the bedroom folding laundry or downstairs writing, when I hear him yell, “Mom! You have to come see this!” It is useless to tell him that I’m busy because he will just yell over … and over … and over.

I am constantly amused by the commercials that he thinks I just have to see. Some are expected; Chuck E. Cheese’s (Please, Mom! Can we go!) and numerous gem-digging toy kits (Mom, I want that! Diamonds!). But then there are the ones that he thinks I am interested in …

A Walk-in Bathtub: “Mom! Isn’t this cool! Why don’t we have one? It has a door!” Oh, the excitement. Maybe one day, buddy, maybe one day. But for now – no. I am perfectly capable of stepping over the ledge of the bathtub to take a shower!

Gold Bond Lotion: Basically, he thinks this is lotion with actual GOLD in it. This is very exciting to this gem-loving, rock-digging boy. Since he knows I am constantly lotioning my hands, obviously, this product had to be purchased. In fact, he was so swayed with the advertised healing powers of the foot cream, I received a bottle for my birthday this year. (Yes, my feet are much smoother!)

Ziplock Vacuum Seal Bags:  “Look at what this does!” he exclaims loudly. “Look at everything you can fit in the closet!” Apparently, he must think I REALLY like to store clothing and linens in a neat and organized fashion, OR he is just really sick of our messy closets!

Heartgard Plus:  We do not have a dog. In fact, until about six months ago, my son was terrified of dogs; however, this is, by far, his favorite commercial. I first learned of my children’s obsession with this product when my son came into the kitchen one morning and asked what ‘infectious’ meant. Later, he crawled into the dining room on all fours while yapping like a dog. My daughter quickly followed and pretended to feed him something while proclaiming loudly, “Keep your pets safe with Heartgard Plus! Vets number one choice. Heartgard Plus!”

Their fascination with Heartgard Plus initiated a shift in their interest in commercials. Now, they love to watch commercials and act them out. When I walk by while they are watching television, I often see various “props” spread over the floor and hear them happily plotting their next reenactment.

After rehearsing, they perform their masterpiece for me.  Their productions are equally ridiculous and adorable. Neither child ever remembers his or her lines, and sometimes the performers simply abandon the “stage” half way through.  It seems that the fun mostly exists in the planning and anticipation, not necessarily the end project.

So, in between our various trips and adventures this summer, I let my kids watch television, but I don’t feel quite so guilty anymore. Because if a commercial can inspire some dramatic creativity (and help me keep my sanity!) this summer, perhaps screen time isn’t so bad after all.

I just need to get that remote control away from my son!







Adventures in Pine Grove Furnace State Park

pinegrove1My daughter cannot manage to walk up the hill from the bus stop without whining, taking a break, groaning loudly, or just altogether stopping and refusing to go farther.

However, place her in the woods on a hot and humid summer afternoon (after five miles of bike riding!) and make her a hike a rocky trail with a steep incline and a pack of mosquitos hot on her tail, she is good to go.

Children are confusing.

Number 19 on my quest to visit all Pennsylvania state parks was Pine Grove Furnace State Park, and the hike was only one of the highlights.

pinegrove2We biked: The bike trail connects the Furnace Stack Day Area to Laurel Lake. Unfortunately, it is pretty crowded with swimmers and picnickers in certain areas, and in other areas cars are allowed on the trail. It was a little stressful since we had novice riders with us; however, it was a good opportunity to teach the kids to be a bit more aware of their surroundings when riding.


There were several places to stop along the trail and splash in the creek, which is always my kids’ favorite thing to do. We also took a short (.25 mile) hike along our way on the Swamp Trail  – mainly because I liked the name.

We swam: The beach was crowded, but the kids enjoyed playing in the sand. We often go to Gifford Pinchot State Park to swim, which does not have sand, so they were impressed. Of course, they didn’t want to leave, but I had other plans.


We hiked: This was the highlight of the trip for me. We climbed .75 mile up the side of Piney Mountain on the Pole Steeple trail. The trail was STEEP and rocky. After five miles of biking earlier in the day, I was a little nervous that this was not the best decision, but the kids pulled through.

The children had two speeds up the mountain. Fast and stopped. They would run ahead – with me calling ridiculous motherly things from behind like “Don’t go too fast!” and “Watch your footing!” They, however, did not need my advice. My children are surefooted on hilly, rocky slopes. My daughter may trip and fall several times during soccer practice on the nice flat, grass-covered field; however, if you add some hazards (steep inclines! jagged rocks! slippery gravel!), she manages to say upright.

When they ran out of energy, they simply stopped. When my husband and I would catch up to them, they would be stretched out on a bed of moss or along a flat rock. As soon as we approached, they popped up and continued their quest to beat us to the summit.

The view from the top is amazing. Just when we had all pretty much run out of steam, we circled a large rock formation, climbed over a few rocks, exited the trees, and … WOW. Everything opened up, and it was just blue sky, trees, and mountains.

My children even managed to slow down, pause, and appreciate the view for a moment. This is noteworthy and the main reason I decided to record this adventure.

It was definitely a hike worth taking.


What’s your favorite adventuring spot with your kids?

5 Things I Learned in the Everglades

everglades4Recently, my family and I traveled to Florida for ten days. We spent the majority of our time lounging on the beach but managed to squeeze in some adventuring, as well. One of the highlights of our trip was a fifteen mile tram ride through Everglades National Park in Shark Valley. On our ride, we saw a variety of birds, alligators, snakes, and turtles. And, a lot of mosquitoes!  Part of the journey included climbing up a 65-foot observation tower for a birds-eye view of the “River of Grass.” It was stunning.Read More »

Locust Lake State Park and Pioneer Tunnel

Exploring Pennsylvania with Kids

Since we have been traveling to more and more Pennsylvania state parks and other attractions with our kids, I’m going to start documenting our experiences.  I don’t necessarily want to review each park or attraction, but just give a little glimpse into our experience. I hope others might find it useful in planning their trips or just getting a feel for the place. 

(I also really want to be able to remember this time with my kids because we are having SO much fun exploring new places and enjoying nature. I hope this love of adventure and appreciation of nature lasts a lifetime.)Read More »

The Lone Lily of the Valley

lily of the valley

Last year, I unexpectedly discovered a lone lily of the valley growing in my yard. Years before, I had planted numerous bulbs, but none had ever bloomed.

I recently had a piece published on Mothers Always Write about the experience of discovering the bloom and the memories of my mother it unleashed. Click this link if you would like to read it: Forgotten Flowers.

Update: I found two more this spring!

Do certain flowers remind you of people you know or once knew?