trying to keep smiling: quick trick, candy countdown

After taking care of three on-and-off sick kiddos for the last three weeks, and after a crazy week of Halloween parties and craziness, I was finally hit with the bug yesterday.

From my bedroom, I could hear Maddy, Owen, and Cora asking my husband every two seconds for another piece of candy.

Every. Two. Seconds.

I know there are very cool ideas out there about a “Halloween Trade“– a small gift in exchange for the children’s bag of candy–which is a super idea, but I just didn’t get there this year.

Plus, being a sweet tooth myself, I do want my kids to have some candy. Call me crazy. Some candy. Some.

So this Quick Trick I came up with on the fly, from my bed, and I was just thanking my lucky stars that I had been keeping empty egg cartons for a while and had enough to do this.

  • Candy Countdown Cartons: I grabbed the egg cartons, taped a piece of paper that said “Maddy’s Candy Countdown” onto one carton, “Owen’s. . . ” on another, and “Cora’s . . .” on the last one.

Maddy’s Candy Countdown Carton

Then I said, I’ve heard enough crying for candy. Enough! I am trying to rest, and all I hear is ‘More candy! More candy! Can we please have candy?’

First of all, we don’t eat candy all day long. Secondly, we’re not going to finish all of this candy anyway. Imagine how your bellies would feel if we let you eat junk all day long. Remember the Berenstain Bears and ‘Too Much Junk Food’? It’s Mommy and Daddy’s job to help keep you safe and healthy.

So here is your Candy Countdown Carton. Owen, how many little holes are in this container? He counted and told me.

Right. Twelve. So I’m going to dump all of our candy onto the floor, and each of you can pick twelve pieces of candy. That’s it. Stick one piece in each of these holes, and when Daddy or I say it’s time for candy–for dessert or when we say it’s time–then you can pick one of your pieces.

When your Candy Countdown Carton is empty, candy’s gone. There’s no more. So go through the candy, pick your favorites, and fill up your containers.

Owen fills his Candy Countdown Carton

So they did. And maybe giving them some ownership over a tiny bit of candy, maybe because ‘twelve’ seems like such a big number to them, or maybe because they just they were happy to play with their candy for a bit, Maddy, Owen, and Cora were content.

I could hear them, after lunch, picking out a piece from their cartons. One piece and they were done.

Maybe this ‘Good-bye Halloween CandyQuick Trick worked after all–or at least for today.

Just a little something to try if you’d like. Hope you had a great Halloween!




  1. Christy says

    I hope you feel better soon! My boys both have H1N1. I hope the rest of us can avoid it.

    This is a great idea. I am impressed that you did this when you were sick! You are a super mom!

  2. Tara Rison says

    Oh, no! I hope you feel better soon. We fought it at my house for two weeks. Knock on wood, I have not gotten it.

    By the way ~ I think you were really at my house yesterday because the dialogue you quoted was the exact same as the dialogue at my house. I think you were a bit more patient than me, though!

  3. Tech Savvy Mama says

    I love this and it isn't too late for me to do it with the abundant candy supply that is left in our house. Thanks so much and I hope you are feeling better!

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trying to keep smiling: quick trick–brain kiss


Give your brain a kiss.

I learned so, so much from Maddy’s incredible preschool teachers when I parent-aided in her first classroom.

She was only there two mornings a week, and I was there a few times a month, but these women were amazing, patient, and seriously skilled at with working with the teeniest of teeny two-year-olds.

So today’s Quick Trick is from them. Just like arm circles and a lot of the Conscious Discipline that they demonstrated, this is something that we’ve used for quite some time and have had much success with.

  • Brain Kisses: Whenever Maddy, Owen, or Cora show us that they’re really thinking–really using their growing brains to figure something out, remember something, or to share something they learned with us–we say,

Give your brain a kiss! Your brain is really working hard today. Or,

How did you figure that out? . . . Give your brain a kiss. Or,

Did you really remember that? Oh my gosh, your brain is working so hard. Give it a kiss.

And then that person kisses his or her hand and then puts the kiss on the top of his or her head.

It might sound strange or quirky or weird to some (and it is a little funny. . .), but it’s really normal for us around here to talk about brains and the hard work our brains do to help us learn and grow.

Teachers talk with their students about metacognition–thinking about thinking–so why not start here at home? By giving our brains a little love now and again, we’re helping our kiddos to become more aware of their own processes of learning and developing.

Sometimes, if we see Maddy, Owen, or Cora doing something especially loving towards one another or someone else, we say, Give your heart a kiss. I love it.

A lot of discipline techniques do sound different before they become norms for households, and this is certainly one of them; believe me, I know.

Brain–and heart–kisses reflect the idea behind noticing–or sharing with children the times when we observe them demonstrating positive behaviors in hopes of having them repeat those behaviors independently. We’re all about celebrating little successes, kind of like the big ole Special Plate, letting them make some choices, or looking at things through a positive lens.

Here’s to a weekend full of brain kisses and getting-smarter-(and kinder)-everyday kiddos!




  1. The Activity Mom says

    Dr Jean has some great cds out and on one of them she has the song "Kiss your Brain". It is so fun and catchy. You can actually download them from her website.

  2. teachmama says

    Awesome! Thanks for the info, Activity Mom–maybe that's where Maddy's preschool teachers got it in the first place. . ?

  3. Jennifer Haas says

    I love it. When I was a teacher we gave our brains a kiss quite often!!!

    Happy SITS sharefest Saturday!!
    Your site is cute. I am a new follower now!

  4. FranticMommy says

    This is great! My SIL is teaches special needs kids and they do "kiss my brain. now I'm a rock star!". CUTE!
    Happy Saturday Sharefest!

  5. barefacedapproach says

    This is such a darling idea. I'm definitely going to have to try Brain Kisses with my little girl. Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

    And thanks for stopping by my blog :) I really appreciate you sweet words.

  6. SquiggleMum says

    Ok, this is a new one for me as a teacher and a mum – but we'll give it a go! Sounds like just the kind of silly-fun (but purposeful) that I like! Thanks.

  7. ONe PiNK FiSH says

    You will love Dr. Jean. You might be able to email her and see if she is visiting a school district near you.

    Check out her cheers. There are tons of ways to acknowledge accomplishments and good deeds.

  8. Tara Rison says

    I LOVE Dr. Jean. I used her website and music all them time when teaching Pre-K. We even got her to come to our school for a visit. It was a ton of fun for the kids and the teachers.

  9. Yaya says

    I think that is an adorable idea, I'll have to do that with the kids I nanny for.

    PS Thank you for stopping by on my special day!

  10. The Royal Family says

    I think thats very cute. give your brain a kiss.. :))

    Thanks for visiting me on my special sits day, I hope you had time to enter my giveaways that now end tomorrow! See you soon.
    the Buzz, Brandy

  11. Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama says

    I learned that from a kindergarten teacher several years ago too- I love to do that with the preschoolers when doing music at church!

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