Muffingate— Case Closed But Do Shenanigans Win Out?

After months on the run, the Muffin Miscreant finally was found by local authorities.

No one truly knows the amount of shenanigans the blue-eyed blueberry bandit committed. Detective Daddy estimated it could be upwards of 2020 tomfoolery incidents.

Witnesses claim the Muffin Miscreant expanded her shenanigan supply to include waterworks, toothpaste terror, and diaper-removal dances.

Because of the persistent pandemic the trial for the Muffin Miscreant had to be done mostly through online Zoom meetings. This added a time delay before her sentencing could occur.

Police tactics came under fire due to an national incident. Protesters gathered in the streets asking for reform in the justice system and to show more mercy towards perpetrators of shenanigans.

Social workers and teachers gave professional development sessions to the Chicoineville police department.

Detective Daddy learned about the importance of patience and understanding should another level 7 shenanigan event happen.

The Muffin Miscreant served a few months under house arrest but was able to cut her sentencing short through community service. She helped write a Christmas letter for a busy young family.

The new year began with much promise and hope. Shenanigan awareness will be a major discussion topic in city council meetings. But important questions remain:

❓How far will society go in making shenanigans seem normal?

❓Will Detective Daddy continue to serve as the premier local gumshoe? Or will he finally realize shenanigans may have beaten him?

❓Will the Muffin Miscreant stay away from muffins (and toothpaste too)?

❓Is this finally the end of the story dubbed “Muffingate”—a level 7 shenanigan event?

📍 Stay with PRNT TV 📺 to receive full coverage on future shenanigans.

📍Text “Muffingate story” to 55555 to receive a link to the entire Muffingate.

📍This has been I.M. Shocked with PRNT News reporting. Thank you for watching (reading)!

Thank you for sharing!

The Simple Catholic’s First Christmas Card

This is the inaugural Chicoine Christmas card.

Both my parents are too tired to chip in with input on the letter. And my three siblings are too busy acting like lemurs or black & white pandas to care about starting a new tradition.

Anyways, it’s up to me to present our family’s successes and 2020 highlights. Free of shenanigans.

Yeah right! Shenanigans are part of my middle names (unofficially).

Hope you enjoy the seasonal shenanigans!

January— New Year Same Routine

I started the new year as a fresh one year old. Noah, Amelia, and Josiah enjoyed going to school and playing in the snow. Mommy continued teaching special education at Valley Springs Elementary. Daddy worked overnights at a local grocery store.

My new year’s resolution was simple— add new shenanigans each month. Last year, I got caught stealing too many blueberry muffins (Pro-tip: Make sure to clean up the evidence before leaving the crime scene).

Daddy wrote about this incident and dubbed it Muffingate. Since then, I’ve acquired the nickname “Muffin Miscreant”.

February— Ground’s Day Month

Noah, Amelia, and Josiah enjoyed going to school and playing in the snow. Mommy continued teaching special education at Valley Springs Elementary. Daddy worked overnights at a local grocery store.

Yes, I know my family’s boring.

I think Noah was still in his Pokémon obsession and my parents were still watching Superhero shows on The CW.

I continued to watch how my siblings got in or avoided trouble and took notes.

March— The Ides are Turning

This seemed to be a turning point. Suddenly, Mommy, Noah, and Amelia stayed home more often. I heard mommy talking to weird kids on the computer. Daddy kept referring to himself as a “Zoom call goaltender”.

Josiah had school therapy at home and this involved him being a black & white panda all the time! Pandas? Seriously, that’s such a predictable move. Couldn’t he pretend to be a platypus or something cooler than a bamboo eater?

While my dreams of traversing the Australian outback didn’t happen, I did experience a “ground under” moment.

Mommy was on her 97th Zoom call and this gave me the perfect chance to try the legendary liquid—coffee. I found a K-cup in the pantry and gained a new moniker— The Coffee Culprit.

April— Sickness and Added Shenanigans

Daddy received a promotion at his local grocery store to Assistant Manager. He was even more excited when Mommy gave him an “Assistant to the Regional Manager” hoodie to celebrate the new job.

April felt like an entire lifetime (1.5 years).

Home school made Mommy and my siblings very tired and cranky. Even worse, Daddy got super sick with a virus-thingy. I couldn’t even see him for two weeks except on the computer. Josiah was really sad and kept saying “Daddy

in downstairs emergency room”. Mommy was stressed with teaching from home, taking care of us, and being Daddy’s doctor.

But this month did have good things: the Easter bunny visited us and Josiah learned to ride a bike.

I maintained my moniker as the Coffee Culprit by eating another K-cup.

May— More Zoom

The Zoom calls continued, and Daddy resumed his role as goaltender against my shenanigans. I miss the good old days when I could bust open bedroom doors without repercussions or being shushed. The strange kids didn’t seem so strange anymore. Mommy even gave up and let me say “hi” to my new friends.

Pro-tip: Persistence pays off.

Noah was obsessed with Star Wars and cars. Amelia (and Daddy) enjoyed pushing me in my throne on wheels. Mommy and Daddy got a new swing set for us to play in. I loved sliding and swinging!

June— Celebrating Sacraments and Sprinklers

Noah received his First Holy Communion on June 14th. It was supposed to be in April but it was delayed because of the virus-thingy or the panda-emic (not sure what to call it officially). “But God’s plan is more perfect than anything we can possibly imagine.” That was something Daddy kept saying. He seemed super-smiley and happy about Noah’s First Eucharist happening on The Feast of Corpus Christi.

Along with celebrating the sacrament my siblings and I played lots of times in the sprinkler. What wonderful waterworks! Josiah showed me how to play carwash in our water table. We play carwash often.

Mommy and Daddy celebrated their 10-year wedding anniversary! This was neat for me because grandma and grandpa got to watch me and the other kids overnight! We had so much fun.

July— Zoo Fun

The local zoo reopened with panda-emic precautions. Josiah called the gibbons “black and white pandas” and we all enjoyed watching the snow monkeys and ducks.

I set a family record by becoming the earliest to ride a strider bike. Strider bike didn’t seem right, so I called it “a butt”. Mommy and Daddy laughed. I think they’re proud of me. I say “a butt” so much.

August— Back to School

Noah started third grade and Amelia began first grade at Valley Springs. Josiah went to early childhood for the second year. I enjoyed more time to plan hijinks as daddy and mommy got more tired from getting house projects done. I continued to get my hands-on Mommy and Daddy’s coffee (I love coffee!).

Amelia learned how to read and created artwork daily. Josiah continued to play carwash in new and creative ways.

September— The Mystery of the Missing Toys

This month began normally with me playing with my dolls, cars, and other gadgets. But soon I noticed things disappearing. First, books I enjoyed were gone. Slowly my stuffed animal supply shrunk, and baby toys taken. I did notice more and more cardboard boxes.

Thankfully, I had Aunt Mary’s wedding to take my mind off the missing toy misery. I had fun playing with grandma, grandpa, and Uncle Steven.

Pro-Tip: Pushing doors open to go outside the reception is fun and an effective way to get my parents to chase me.

October— Mystery Solved

More and more boxes piled up in our living room, garage, basement, and kitchen. My siblings enjoyed many afternoons riding their bikes (and I riding my “a butt”).

I had a busy month with speech therapy starting and I broke my arm. Amelia was dancing with me and I thought a flying leap was a great idea. But the good thing is I got a cool pink cast.

I got used to life with limited toys. But then something changed! All the boxes moved. We played in a different room and slept in a different area. Mommy and Daddy called this our new house. We all thought it was pretty cool!

November— Shenanigans Supreme

My siblings and I love our new house. More room to run and climb. Noah had fun throwing the football in the garage with Daddy. Amelia found new places for art.

Josiah and I found a new way to play carwash. When Daddy was sleeping on the couch (from working a late night) my brother and I overflowed the kitchen sink. Water poured on the entire floor. We had TONS of cars to wash that morning! Daddy seemed surprised about all the water. After this incident we couldn’t sneak and do carwash anymore. Still not sure why?

Mommy continued to balance her teaching job with her additional virus-things protocols. She seemed tired most days, so I try to cheer her up with hugs!

December— Enter the Boss Level

Daddy kept making Jumanji references throughout the year. Everyone was talking about an election thingy. What more did 2020 have in store?

This year they say was tough, but in my experience all life can be challenging but fun too. I’m going to turn two on December 29th. I felt I gained a lot of wisdom this year.

Noah taught me countless facts about Harry Potter and read books to me. Amelia taught me how to draw and be creative. Josiah taught me how to laugh and play with cars. Mommy taught me how to love and hug. Daddy taught me the importance of a balance between seriousness and shenanigans.

Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a blessed 2021!

P.S. Daddy thinks he’s a creative writer, but he gets all his best ideas from my shenanigans. Follow #Muffingate for more funny stories

P.P.S. Special thanks to Daddy for being my secretary for this Christmas Letter. Extra special thanks to my brothers and sister for all this great content

Love,

Avila: The Muffin Miscreant, Coffee Culprit, and who knows what else.

Thank you for sharing!

Use Imagination to Relate to Your Children Better

Tolkien quote about imagination

💡Dadhack #123—Think like a child to relate better to your children

Someone made a comment to me that everything is rainbows and unicorns to me.

Initially, it upset me. But after thinking about it I realized he was right.

The young don’t have a monopoly on imagination.

Thank God for it because reading only the news or talking about serious stuff makes me curmudgeony.

Amelia had trouble sleeping because of her brother making noise (she had a long week at school)

I hugged her tight and told her,

“Tonight you’re a caterpillar. I’m wrapping you tight into a cocoon. Tomorrow you will be able to fly like a butterfly. Maybe we will see a butterfly and say, ‘Is that Amelia?'”

🦋 She gave a sheepish grin and a tired laugh.

I could have easily got frustrated (it’s been a long week and I have failed in similar situations in the past).

🌈 But I think the Holy Spirit gave me patience and the ability to summon up silliness (who doesn’t like butterflies or find them calming?) to help her calm down.

Imagination isn’t merely child’s play or silliness. It’s living life open to the possibility of a higher reality—a world where anything is possible.

Unicorns rhinos

I did end up replying to that comment 👇

🦏🦄I do believe in real unicorns (rhinoceroses).

😊😂😆

How does imagination help you as a parent?

Thank you for sharing!

Why is a Sock 🧦 in the pantry?

Scene from the latest sock shenanigans.

Why is a sock 🧦 in the pantry?

👆

A question asked maybe once in your life (depending on how many socks, kids, pets, or sock thieves you have in your life). This should be an odd question to ask except for two facts:

📍I’m a parent

📍 My kids have wild imaginations

My theory?

They befriended a house elf and are hoping to convince him to take the sock for his freedom.

What would your caption be for this photo?

Share your most creative explanation for ‘why a sock is in the pantry?’

Thank you for sharing!

Why Teaching Your Children to Do the Chores will Save Your Sanity

Dad hack #4— Train the kids early to help clean 🧼 🧽 around the house (it gives me time to post more #dadhacks 🙂)

Avila and a broom

The Muffin Miscreant doing community service to atone for her shenanigans.

This summer my wife and I taught our kids how to:

🧺 Fold the laundry

🗑 Take out the garbage

🧽 Load the dishwasher

😜 Battle the shenanigans of their 18 month old sister

It took a lot of time, patience, modeling good behaviors, and reteaching but I’m glad we did.

Teaching kids chores result in:

Teamwork

Learning a mop was not something you hit your brother in the head with (my daughter may or may not have done this)

 More gratitude

Instill a good work ethic

Play/work balance

How did chores play a role in your childhood and later professional work?

What was your favorite chore (mine was drying the dishes— my brother and I usually made my sister wash 🙂)?

Thank you for sharing!

Shenanigans Captured— The Craft Caper

Happy you have a great weekend!

It begin with some shenanigans courtesy of my daughter.

Here is a silly story inspired by her antics.

🚨 🚨 🚨 BREAKING NEWS 🚨🚨🚨

📍Photographic evidence show this culprit committing a clandestine craft caper.

📍 Is she a first time offender or will further information pencil her in as a calculated crayon 🖍 criminal?

📍 Stay with PRNT TV 📺 to receive full coverage on these colorful new shenanigans cutting through Chicoineville.

📍Text “craftcaper” to 55555 to get text updates and exclusive interviews with the sheriff, eyewitnesses, and first-responders.

📍This has been I.M. Shocked with PRNT News reporting. Thank you for watching (reading)!

Craft Caper is clandestine and cute.
Thank you for sharing!

Cardboard Boxes, Zoo Animals, and Creative Joy!


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 22, 2017.


One of the more interesting and exciting days of the month for my children is the day our monthly Amazon prime orders of diapers arrive. There is an inherent excitement in their eyes at the knock of the FedEx delivery on our front door. What truly enlivens my children is not the package of diapers themselves. Rather, the cardboard delivery box itself invokes joy. I can only use mine and my wife’s experience to draw on. Nevertheless, I will contend that one of the only thing a person is certain on in this life [along with taxes and death] is that children love cardboard boxes!

baby in cardboard box

Today, I want to share my observations about the creative joy that my children found, and continue, to find in the seemingly mundane realities of cardboard boxes and McDonald’s Happy Meal toys.

Note: For more fun ideas with cardboard boxes check out the links under the Resources section of this post!

Animals Assemble!

The first step towards my children’s goal of transforming our home into a furry zoo was to acquire a cadre of little stuffed animals. One of the blessing my son has with his autism is the ability to hyper-focus on certain subject and quickly learn about the topic.

Passing by the golden arches on a Saturday morning errand drive, my children’s stomachs started to take control. As a result, my wife and I decided to get them Happy Meals. Immediately seeing his stuffed lion, my son knew he wanted more animals for his collection. Koalas, elephants, bulls, seals, moose, and a jaguar eventually picked up residence with the lion at our home. I think we almost have the entire animal collection. Our furry zoo assembled!

pet avengers

Researching Residences

Stage second began when my son took a cardboard box and started putting grass, rocks and rhubarb leaves into it. That coupled with his keen interest in animals and daily watching of an educational animal show on PBS and bringing his zoo-themed books to bed allowed my children to learn more about animal habitats. While this stage is technically never over, my kids gather enough information where the single cardboard box was not enough for their animals. Now they want separate zoo habitats for each kind of stuffed animal.

research.png

Burgeoning Biomes

Earlier this week I noticed a careened cardboard box at the bottom of our basement stairway. My OCD tendencies involve making sure all recycled materials go into our recycling bin as soon as possible. As I was bringing the cardboard box out the door to our recycling bin, my wife stopped me in my tracks. This box was for our kids’ animal biomes. My actions almost proved fatal to our furry friends’ way of life!

Thank God for my wife’s quick thinking. We acquired two additional smaller cardboard boxes from another online order yesterday. As soon as my kids saw the boxes they immediately gathered their entire miniature stuffed animal collection. Imagination ensued as I heard lots of laughter and animal sounds coming from their room. We hope to decorate the boxed biomes with crayons, pictures, and other art supplies to create greater habitat diversity.

cardboard boxes.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is truly the simple things in life that elicit authentic joy. Seeing the enthusiasm in my children at the arrival of mere cardboard boxes reinvigorates my outlook on life. I need to be reminded sometimes that life is too fleeting for me to take things so seriously. Joy may be encountered in simple, daily, and normal activities. I am grateful to view joy through the lens of my children. I hope you stop and examine the world around you and experience the joy among you!

Resources:

31 Things You Can Make With A Cardboard Box That Will Blow Your Kids’ Minds

20 GENIUS IDEAS TO PLAY WITH CARDBOARD BOXES

Thinking About the Box (of Creativity)

3 Reasons Why Containing Creativity is Impossible

Thank you for sharing!