THRIVING IN THE STORM: Activities and Inspiration For Families With Kids While Under Corona Virus Quarantine

Family Portrait by Cindie Wolf

“Sometimes an unexpected turn in life leads to the biggest blessings”.

Life On Your Own Terms

Are you worried about how this Corona virus is going to affect you and your family, business or job? If so, you are not alone. And if you are working from home or just home with your kids, well, we all know that can be stressful. But here is the good news, it all really depends on you and how you handle it. If you want to take this opportunity as a teaching moment and you’d like to inspire your family to draw closer together and grow, let me offer you some suggestions. As a former trainer, a mother and a grandmother, I have compiled a list of these skills that we used with my own family. And really, what a great opportunity for you and your family to connect and come closer together. When this is all over, what do you want them to say about it?

Remember, you are not competing with their normal teacher. You are so much more than this and can teach them in a fun, and practical way where learning won’t be boring or someone just lecturing. You can show them the joy and excitement there is ahead.

Below are some ideas to keep your head straight and help you with what you’ll be doing.

KEEP IT SIMPLE…

You know the strength and weakness of every family member and the family as a whole. Is there something you’d like to see changed? If so, start with the end in mind: When this is all over, list three things you want to have changed in your home. This could easily be:

  1. Have Family Meetings to:
    1. Talk about our family values
    2. What we want to change about our house (paint, rooms, etc)
    3. Talk about our goals (academic and family vacation)
  2. Divide household and education tasks
    1. create family schedule
    2. follow it as close as you can and adjust
    3. know when it’s time to work and time to play-both are important
  3. Plan our family dinner and movie night
    1. weekly choices
    2. everyone contributes
    3. fancy or casual

These are just ideas and it’s really up to you and your family…

HAVING AND KEEPING A SCHEDULE

According to the Mental Health professionals the easiest way to keep life as normal and healthy is to keep a schedule. They say having and keeping a routine can help us cope with change, form healthy habits, and reduce our stress levels. They also say having a routine can “anchor” us. In the midst of all the fear driven change we are in, it’s a good idea to create an optimistic normal at home.

Having a schedule with tasks to do, within a time frame that shows completed tasks can also make moms and kids feel productive and successful. The goal is to create a schedule that allows for things to do (napping/quiet time, school work, home management, etc. ) while listing out what needs to be done, who does it and what happens next. As you create and work on your schedule, make sure to allow and adapt for what does and doesn’t work. To keep this simple, I have created a schedule from what used to work for me. You can find it HERE

Confidence and Important Jobs

Once your schedule is done, make sure to engage your children with the responsibility of helping with important jobs like putting away their own laundry, making sure all toys are put away at the end of the day, sweeping the floor. The more you include your children with everyday responsibilities, the more you prepare them for the days of entering into adulthood. Starting young is so important while their desire to please is high and you can still make everyday chores somewhat playtime with them.

For families with older kids try holding a family meeting and talk through what you want to and have to complete during the quarantine.  Let the older kids take lead on turning your schedule into a work of art with color, that’s how my oldest daughter always does life!

You can check out more Mom Blog information HERE and HERE

SOCIAL TIME

With everyone 65 and older being asked to stay in during these times, considering pairing your children and grandparents together for Facetime calls. Schedule these calls and make sure to prime your parents with ideas to talk about with your children. I always have a better time on the phone with my youngest grandson when we go over “knock, knock jokes”.

We are more engaged when I ask him what he is interested in and then talk to him about it, after I investigate it. Of course, for younger children, it will probably be shorter conversations, but that’s where having cousins and friends to connect to can be a great idea. And scheduling these calls of who and when the calls will be made makes it something to look forward to for everyone. There might be an opportunity for your parents to read a story to your younger kids while online and of course, show the pictures. This is good for both grandparent and child. The child’s imagination runs wild designing the characters being described in the story, and your parent may the time and the heart to do something like this…

Apps like Facetime or Zoom would be great for this. I suggest using something larger than your phone so the engagement level will be higher.

TREASURE HUNTS AND SCAVENGER HUNTS

My husband was the best at this idea! Every year our grandkids would come to visit, he would make a treasure map and bury it outside in the yard. He would take the kids outside to help him dig in the yard (for some reason) and they surprisingly dig up the treasure map. Every time they would find a map, it would show where the next clue could be found, and with each clue, they would know where to go next. They would have to count steps, dig something up, swim across the pool  or climb a tree to find out what happens next. In the end, there was always a buried treasure to dig up. My husband even went so far as to buy on amazon or build a small wooden box, then burn the edges and beat on it to make it look old.

Inside our treasure boxes were chocolate coins, quarters and dimes, arrow heads and other “kid adventure stuff” as my husband would call it. It was always exciting to watch how serious they were in doing everyting exactly like the map said. And of course, it was wonderful to see their excitement when they found and opened the treasure. Not sure how to make a Treasure Map? Look HERE:

The same applies for Scavenger Hunts and if you look online or make your own, both are great. Not sure how to make a scavenger hunt? Check this out HERE

Life is all about making memories in the midst of learning important life lessons. Think about the possibilities of what you can do.

LIFE SKILLS

COOKING

Teaching self-reliance and life skills can come in a form of play with quite a tasty reward. I loved Home Ec. in school because I got to eat what I made, and my class was always after lunch.  This is a great time to go over

  • How to plan a menu for a week
  • How to shop or look in your cupboards for the menu you are planning
  • How to meal prep
  • How to cook
  • How to clean up and eat up
  • How to count calories (if you’re ambitious)

Is your child learning fractions or how to measure? What better way then to teach them about this then to be cooking with them. This is especially true for boys! Every time my grandsons come to visit the first thing they ask me is if we can bake. 🙂 They love doing this together (I watch) and once the items are in the oven, they lick the pots and spoon…and wash them of course.

Just search cooking with kids recipes on pinterest.. or click HERE:

LEARN OR TEACH YOUR KIDS HOW TO SEW

Back to life skills again… and these are so important. A great way to teach self-reliance is by learning how to fix a loose button. Why throw away the outfit if all it needs is a few stitches? Don’t know how to do this? Google has a super easy video just for this. Once you can fix a button, try teaching your older child how to fix a rip in the seam by hand stitching a seam… super easy and saves you money on clothes. Want more help with this? Click for this youtube by clicking HERE

EDUCATION

You have probably now taken on all the Academics for your child since schools have been closed. Remember, you are mom, and you have the power of making this time fun and interesting. You are not the school teacher, BUT, your kids learn more from you than anyone. The following are some suggestions to help you out during this time.

Walt Disney Imagineering Partners with Khan Academy to Bring You “Imagineering in a Box” ‘Imagineering in a Box’ is a free online program that brings together the diverse talents of Disney Imagineers around the world for a one-of-a-kind learning experience and is part of Disney’s commitment to helping today’s youth create the future they imagine. 

The series offers 32 videos in which Imagineers share how they use a wide range of skills – from story development and conceptual design, to math, physics and engineering – to create immersive experiences. The online curriculum aims to ignite curiosity, inspire creativity, and encourage innovation in the minds of students and teachers alike, while creating fun and engaging opportunities to explore new concepts.

Modules range from a tutorial on engineering software to an interactive exercise where learners are encouraged to gather items around them and create something new. The program’s hands-on components will allow students to relate new concepts to real-world examples to bring treasured Disney stories to life. Each activity is designed to be scalable, allowing individuals to learn on their own or in a classroom setting.   You can check it out HERE

Art for Kids Hub This is a family youtube channel that loves doing art together. Great for all ages (they have 4 kids of varying ages) and they show you how in a positive environment. Great for all ages, check them out HERE

Scholastic: Missing school isn’t easy and you might be one of the mom’s having trouble with what the school sent home for you to work on. No matter, here at Scholastic online, they are making their materials available for you to keep kids reading, thinking and learning.  From PreK to 9th grade. You can find more information HERE:

Virtual School Activities: This HUGE collection of sites of live webcams, virtual tours/trips, and other miscellaneous fun educational sites.  (This site is updated every few days, so to see the latest links be sure to refresh the site if you’re a return visitor!) Thanks to the contributions and ideas of many, what began as a Google Sheet with ideas for virtual schooling during this 2020 crisis has blossomed into this website. If you have ideas for other places to virtually visit, or fun/educational goodies to use while virtually schooling, please feel free to add your idea by emailing me via the contact section toward the bottom of this page. You can check it out HERE

Professional Photographers of America: this premier membership website for professional photographers have opened up their educational website for everyone who wants to learn photography during the Corona quarantine. Based on science and art, photography is a wonderful way to get your older child engaged with the world. You can check this site out HERE

Reading: You know how important it is and how much they enjoy it. Depending on your kids ages, try and find a mystery (Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys depending on ages) for deductive reasoning or something different to get all your kids engaged. Have everyone curl up on the couch and read the story together while sharing the reading portions. Because it’s a mystery and there is suspense everyone will want to know what happens next.

Find something that isn’t scary, but is adventurous, turn off the lights at night while in a circle and alternate reading who reads the story tonight… use a flashlight on the book for light and if you have a fireplace, light it up. Everyone comes with a pillow and blanket to make it all more fun. Don’t forget a snack if you can.

Science And Indoor Activities: Mommy Poppins is a website filled with plenty to do for kids based by Age, Things To Do, and Family Fun in New York (NYC) She has 63 East Schience Experiments for Kids Using Household Stuff and 50 Rainy Day activities. It’s in NYC, so great fun to see! For more activities check out this HERE

Ox Bow Bend, Teton National Park by Cindie Wolf

Geography & National Parks:

Here are some National Parks I have been to and loved:

  • Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico: I was there last year and it was spectacular. HERE
  • Yosemite: HERE
  • Bryce Canyon, Utah: HERE
  • Hawaii Volcanos, Big Island: HERE
  • Glacier National Park: HERE
  • Kenai Fjords, Alaska: HERE
  • Teton National Park & Yellowstone: HERE
Yellowstone National Park Bison by Cindie Wolf
Yellowstone National Park by Cindie Wolf

NOT SURE WHERE TO START?

For some Moms, the easy thing to do might be to make a SWOT analysis either for the family overall or to individualize this for each child and yourself. A SWOT analysis is just listing out the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats you see. As Mom, and General Manager of your home, you are the perfect person to do this! You can find the form with just a few short questions to fill out HERE To download, click on the lower right arrow

No matter what you do during this time, I hope you embrace the opportunity to draw closer to your children while encouraging them to draw closer together to each other. We raise our children to be best friends because they are the ones who have a history to share. And someday really soon, they will be telling the story of how your family handled the Corona Virus Quarantine.

If you have any questions, just let me know 🙂

Highest Scores Ever! |Professional Image Competition |Cindie Wolf

The Professional Photographers of San Diego County held it’s first Image Competition for the new season of 2019-2020 and Cindie Wolf did well! With the highest scores so far ranging from 86-82 in Childrens Portraits, and an 85-winning Best In Class for Scenics, Cindie Wolf was quite excited! From here she will be entering these and more images into the Professional Photographers of California competition and also Imaging USA, which is national.

Cindie Wolf Photography continues pushing for the highest level of education, striving to create beautiful art to hang on the walls that will tell your story long into your future.

“From my heart to Yours” is something that is believed as well as said.

Back to School=Back To You! |For Women Only

Back to School means Back to YOU!

To celebrate every Woman in the month of September, we are offering a PORTRAIT SPECIAL you’re going to love!

For just $99, you’ll get a 2-3 hour portrait session, wardrobe consultation, pro hair and makeup artistry for your very own Beauty Shoot!

You are the Heart of the Home; The Secret Keeper; The Mental Health Day Scheduler; Event Planner, Boo-Boo Kisser; Confidence Builder; your husbands Lover and so much more! Now as the kids are back in school and life gets back to the “normal” routine, consider taking a breath and a break and joining us in the studio for a day…

Let’s Celebrate who you are today; how you look, what you do, all you give with a Beauty Portrait Session. You’ll be pampered, look gorgeous and leave more confident than ever! Make sure to schedule a night out afterwards, because you will look amazing!

With your portrait order, you’ll also receive our hot seller, the modern 8×12 metal desk portrait (valued at $299). Call today to book: 619.208.1282, or email at: info@ownthemoment.com

***We are giving away UNLIMITED sessions at this value from now until September 30th!

WANT IN ON THIS? EMAIL ME OR CALL ME TODAY!
619.208.1282

Tell your mom, sisters, and friends to share the news today!***

You deserve to look and feel beautiful and then show that off to your family and friends!

To make it easy- we accept Paypal! To book your session, just shoot me an email at: info@ownthemoments or call: 619.208.1282

This is a studio event, located in San Diego East County.

This is YOUR year to shine!

Celebrating The Moments That Count The Most | Happy 49th Birthday | {San Diego Portrait Photographer}

“Breathe. Let go.

And remind yourself that this very moment

is the ONLY ONE you know you have for sure.”

-Oprah Winfrey

These moments, the BIG moments, where life is full and busy and all the crazy and chaos of raising a family while working; those are the ones that need to be planned for. The ending of a decade and the beginning of a new decade-these should be celebrated so you and your loves will never forget those amazing endings and beginnings. How you looked, Who you were at these very important moments… Let go and never forget. You. Them. You are so very worth it.

Happy 49th Birthday, Beautiful! No matter how old you grow to, you and your daughter will never forget the experience you shared on this special day. You’ll never forget what 49 looked like and you will be able to share all this with her children someday…

The Story of Violet | A Story of New Life and Miracles | A Story of Joy & Hope

“But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.” -Mitch Album

The story of Violet is really the story miracles. In the face of devastation, new beginnings; in the face of great pain, great joy; and in the presence of death, new life… life that is filled with hope and joy and miracles. I think we have to constantly point them out…

“Those who sew in tears will reap with joyful shouting” -Psalms 126:5 Bible

Meet Violet of Violet June Photography in Murrieta! She is an award winning photographer; we are friends through our professional organization: Professional Photographers of San Diego County. When Violet became pregnant I was very excited. She chose me to photograph her after I entered an emotional image in one of our photo competitions. (Or maybe it was because I kept asking her who would be photographing her!) That image of a cancer and domestic abuse survivor spoke to her. It wasn’t long before I learned of all Violet’s story.

Violet fought a long hard battle with breast cancer which resulted in a double mastectomy to save her life. To repair her young body they used her belly to create breasts and then informed her she would never be able to have children. I can only imagine her reaction… the reaction of her husband. This type of devastation at such a young age with all of life ahead. But then I found myself looking at Violet’s life through the lens of a mother, her mother… It’s one thing to have stuff happen to you, but to have bad things happen to your children?!?! Mother’s fix things, we kiss owies, and make life better; we pick up our kids when they are down and set them on the path to recover, but there was nothing anyone, especially her mother, could do to fix or kiss all this away. They just had to let the Doctors work.

As we met together she showed her scars where the port had been in her chest and her first Cesarean Section from her first son. Some say that Doctors say “practice” because they are not always right, and in this case thankfully, they were not. Now pregnant with her second son, she wanted me to highlight the scars and show the big round belly she was carrying. While I thought it was beautiful and very baby full-sized, she felt it was odd shaped after Doctors had removed some of her belly. Here in this session I was able to focus on her joy, her laughter, her sexiness (seriously!!) and occasionally, you could see the cost behind what she had already encountered.

I asked her about having cancer and she told me what cancer taught her was “how to really be alive.

“The Other Scars Say I Almost Died; Yours, Will Bring New Life”

Violet now has three healthy sons at home, Three children under three! I think that makes her an over-achiever and I’m sure, it makes her mother and husband incredibly happy. It also guarantees her a life filled with all the joy, and mess and crazy and kisses and chaos that is family… And that is all so wonderful. One thing I have noticed is that in spite of whatever is happening around her, Violet is still full of joy, inquisitive, still really friendly and has a sense about her of looking at life as an adventure, not as a tragedy, not looking to the past. Her eyes are bright and always looking ahead, fully present, fully alive. When her boys grow up and look back on their lives, they are going to see their Mother’s story. When they ponder her story of courage, perseverance and sacrifice, they will know of their importance and their value to their mother and of course, father; and when they look at their lives, they will always see her in their decisions, and in their determination. They will see how their parents made the best possible life for their children… and they will get the joy and responsibility of starting that all over again in their own lives.

You see Violet’s work and find more of Violet June Photography at: https://www.violetjunephoto.com/

Celebrate Life!

There are times and people that we should never forget…and I for one, never will.

I remember the day like it was yesterday… Meeting at the beach for their photo session. She wanted photographs of her and her husband having fun, photographs of them smiling, playing in the water and chasing their dogs. She said she wanted these to show how much she loved him. She wanted these for her husband, her children and her mother. This was her gift to them…

It was brisk and beautiful at Coronado Dog Beach that day in December. We talked about having fun, getting goofy and dancing in the surf… She said dance with me, and of course he did. As they danced they laughed, and as they laughed, he picked her up in his arms, swung her around and kissed her. She loved him and he loved her. They played and played and played some more.

A few months later, I got a call in July, Vicki had passed away from cancer. Mike cried, her kids were devastated, her mother…I can’t imagine their pain. It just hurt so bad to know she was gone and to know they were all so devastated.

There was no funeral, just a family coming together in pain, gathered around the large Canvas wrap she had wanted. Of course they celebrated her life. Of course they celebrated their memories. But I think they mostly celebrated how much love they all had for that short period of time she walked among us on this earth. And they celebrated how much love they shared because they are a family.

There are times and people that should never be forgotten. Vicky and Mike, together is like that for me. To remember them together is remembering joy and love and fun and… Of course there was a down side; he drove her back and forth from cancer centers and always took care of her. But remembering their dedication and their joy, is what I choose. He was her rock and hero, she was his joy.

Life has a way of going forward whether we want to or not. That’s good! We are meant to live on this earth full-heartedly until our time is done. But this day every year I remember Mike and Vicky. I remember how she talked about her love for him. How much she adored her children and daughter in law! And how much she loved her mother and step father…. All that love, was shared. For the family, they now share that love without her presence, but love does not die. For me, I miss her… I kept all her text messages and emails and voice mails…silly-yes. That was my way of holding on to her.

So for today, I say Thank you dear Father God for Vicky’s life on this earth and that I got to share some of it with her. If you follow me at all you know I always ask: How will you remember?! I remember in photographs… and aren’t they beautiful and filled with joy and love.

You are missed Vicky, but I will never forget…

He was her hero, she was his heart.

Chamber And Community Member Highlights

I love my community, my town and my Chamber.  This week let me introduce you to Marcel Becker. Not only is he the General Manager of Trident Maritime Systems, but he is also an inspirational and motivational speaker. No matter who you are or what your background is, to hear him speak will inspire you. The sentence I have heard him say the most in every type of situation is : “It is a privilege and an honor”. I believe this is his attitude on life. 

What he didn’t tell you here is that he is a Patriot and loves America. He has every employee that is hired and goes through training sign the wall in their building to declare that they will do their utmost best for “Those who sail into harm’s way and pay the ultimate sacrifice to preserve and defend our freedoms”  

If you don’t know him, you should. Meet Marcel –

1. What do you/what’s your business?

I am the General Manager of Trident Maritime Systems, my division of TMS specializes in the conversion and modernization of United States Naval Surface Combatants.

2. What is one interesting fact or fun secret that no one knows about you?

English is my second language, I grew up in Europe speaking German

3. What’s your tag line or motto? 

A quote by Charles Swindoll “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”

4. What’s your mission?

Disrupting the cycles of incarceration and addiction by providing people with “Life Skills” for the workplace.