Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Conquering the After Holiday Clutter

If you are like me, you have a difficult time sitting down to relax when the room is covered with toys or in disarray.  So, the holidays definitely bring some added clutter (to say the least).  Here's what you should do..

If you have time off from work (or your husband has time off work) take advantage of the time to spend with family.  Stop thinking about what you need to put on Craigslist, what you want to give to Goodwill or where you're going to find a home for all these toys.  Instead, put a dent in the organization, but use the majority of your time to enjoy time with the kids, spouse, or yourself!

Day Off (Scenario 1) 
Spend 4 hours organizing, trashing, and going through toys
Make lunch
Watch a t.v show
Spend 10 minutes playing with your children
Start laundry
Start dinner
Build resentment

Scenario 2
Spend 2 hours going through toys
Delegate some work to spouse or kids
Get a pedicure
Play with kids for 1 hour
Start dinner

Scenario 3
Spend 1 hour going through toys
Throw the rest of toys in the basement (out of sight, out of mind) and worry about it later
Play with kids for 1 hour
Lunch with a friend
Spend 1 hour going through toys with help from kids/spouse
Start dinner

What scenerio works best for you?  What are your goals for the day? If your goal for the day is to completly reorganize the toy room than Scenerio One is probably the best (minus the resentment) but if you are trying to spend time with the family or get some needed time to yourself than DO IT!  Now is the time!  Don't worry...the pile of toys will be there later!

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Favorite Holiday Jokes!

Which of Santa's reindeer has bad manners?  Rude-olph!

What do elves learn in school?  The elf-a-bet

What Christmas carol is a favorite of parents?  Silent night

What do snowmen eat for breakfast? Frosted flakes!

What does a cat on the beach have in common with Christmas? Sandy claws

What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?Frostbite!

Where do snowmen go to dance? A snow ball!

How many presents can Santa fit in an empty sack? Only one, after that it’s not empty any more!

What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations? Tinselitus!

What often falls at the North Pole but never gets hurt? Snow!

What is the best Christmas present in the world? A broken drum – you can’t beat it!

Why was Santa's little helper depressed? He had low elf esteem!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Distracting or Rewarding Negative Behavior?

If you're a parent than chances are you know that the skill of distraction can be very useful when parenting your child.  When your child sees something that he wants (but can't have) it's often helpful to avoid the situation by showing your child something that is acceptable.  However, we need to be careful when we are distracting that we are not accidentally rewarding negative behavior.  Here's an example...

Sally is throwing a temper tantrum at the grocery store because she wants a toy and her Mom tells her that she can't have it.  Her Mom gives her a cookie to distract her (inadvertently rewarding the negative behavior).  While Sally's Mom feels that she is not giving into the behaviors becuase she didn't give her the toy, Sally is learning that if she throws a tantrum than she will get a treat. 

Although distraction is often necessary (to avoid difficult situations) we need to be very careful about when and how we do it.  It is very important that children learn that they can't always get what they want.  Although it's difficult to say no when a temper tantrum might be the result, it's important that we teach our children healthy boundaries and not getting when you want is part of life.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Avoiding Power Struggles

I have learned this lesson so many times and yet I continue to fall in the trap.  You know the deal, there are many sayings that basically give the same message..."it takes 2 to tango" "letting someone live in your head rent free" or my favorite, "never wrestle with a pig in the mud, you will get dirty and the pig will like it."  All of these sayings have the same message, you can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution!  So, what does this mean for you as a parent?  We have choices!
Recently in the media, the producer of Two and a Half Men, Chuck Lorre, did his first interview since Charlie Sheen was fired.  Despite all the drama that Charlie Sheen created in the media about the "feud" between him and Lorre, I was shocked to hear that Lorre believed there was no feud among him and Charlie Sheen.  He fired Sheen and then continued with the show, never trying to mend the situation or clear the air.  Basically, there was no air to clear because Lorre was focusing on other things.  The feud was one that Sheen was having with himself! He could have chosen to be part of the drama Sheen was creating but instead he choose to step aside and focus other things.  I think this is a great lesson for us all! SO, how can this be a lesson to parents?
Children often create "drama" to get attention or to avoid something they don't want to do.  Basically, we have the choice as parents to argue or not to argue.
It takes two people to argue and children will argue if they can (or because they can):) Of course, some arguing (or discussing) is inevitable, but remember that children often do things because they CAN and if you participate than you may be contributing to the problem instead of the solution!  The next time you find yourself in an argument with your child, try to figure out another way to solve the problem or evaluate your role in the situation!  Sometimes, it really does take 2 to tango!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Here we go a charging, a charging, a charging....

My husband and I were talking about Christmas the other day and he said, "well, you know we're up to close to $1,000.00 on Christmas already"  I said "no way! I have been so good about finding deals and spending wisely!"  Then it occurred to me (after I added everything up) that he was right!
I bought tickets for Disney Princesses on Ice with Sienna. I thought I was spending wisely because the coupon was for $18.00 each but when you add the fees, parking, and food....we could easily spend $100.00 on the entire thing.  Then there's the presents, I don't have a large family but I really thing we need to start doing a Pollyanna because that ended up being about $500.00.  Then there's Christmas cards, stamps, pictures with Santa, Christmas tree, wrapping paper, appetizers for Christmas eve (and of course stocking stuffers!)  All of these things wouldn't be a problem if it was in our budget but we did not put away money in a Christmas savings account and so.....here we go charging.
SO, maybe I'm not the best example of how to save money this holiday season but what I am learning is how to place more importance on the true meaning of Christmas (spending time with family, looking at Christmas lights, and watching great Christmas shows) and less importance on Santa, what the Jones' have, and what people will think of me.  Next year, I will try to spend wiser and remember that spending quality time with the people I love is what matters most!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Avoiding Drama this Holiday Season!

I always say prepare, prepare, prepare (when it comes to your kids) well, today I'm saying prepare for your own sanity this holiday season!
It has happened quite often that I find myself stressing, fighting, or rearranging schedules to AVOID drama in the family and I end up creating my own!!!  How did i end up all stressed out about this situation (I often ask myself) and yet the person or people that I am trying to avoid are actually enjoying their holiday while I'm upset sitting in the corner feeling sorry for myself!! Why do we do this to ourselves?
The answer is that it is a habit! Maybe you grew up with these dynamics and are used to these situations.  But the good news is that there are ways that we can change these habits.  It might feel a little uncomfortable at first but if we draw healthy boundaries we create the life we want (BONUS: people will gain a new respect for you!) 
So this holiday season, why dance around other people's feelings and then let the "good 'ol resentment" build inside of us?  It is possible to be kind but set boundaries (it's called being kind to yourself and your family!)So....you don't like going to your in laws every year for Thanksgiving? Change it to every OTHER year!  Feel anxiety about your cousin being disrespectful in your home?  Talk to them about it and decide if it's a good idea them to be there! Do you hate doing all the dishes while everyone watches the football game?  Ask someone to help you then sit your hiney in a chair!

Friday, November 18, 2011

How to Create a Flawless and Fun Thanksgiving with Kids

Thanksgiving can be a crazy holiday for families-it is the busiest travel weekend of the year and lets be honest....it's the least favorite "kid" holiday.  So, how do you make it fun for everyone and yet still be able to have a glass of wine and relax or catch that football game?  Be prepared!  Here's how...

1.  Choose your battles.  If you normally cater to your picky eater, it might not be a good idea to pick a formal sit down holiday dinner (with the entire family watching) to be the first time you make your child eat those green beans!  You may want to bring a food they like with you or check out the menu before sitting down to the table.  (This is why giving into the picky eater on a daily basis can put you into tough situations!)

2.   Bring toys or games! If you are traveling with your family this holiday season, expect to wait in traffic (or airports) and have some back up plans such as cool new iphone games or some different books or toys that your child hasn't seen in a long time!  Another great idea is to have your children pack their own favorite toys in a special book bag!

3.  Involve the children in dinner preparation.  Children love to feel involved so let them make place cards or set the table.  Another great idea?  Make the good 'ol turkey handprint by tracing their hand as a centerpiece!
4.  Expect problems.  I know I said 'flawless' but lets face it...that's impossible!  If your trying to PLEASE your family by making an elaborate dinner from that fancy cookbook...guess what?  Your toddler (or young kids) will probably not appreciate it and instead be acting out all day because you aren't around.  So, if you would like to make an awesome dinner from scratch, ask a babysitter or family member to help you with the kids!  Also, try to make naptimes as close to their normal schedule as possible and expect that things won't be perfect! 

Friday, November 11, 2011

What Would Your Child Do?

Did you know that most children who are sexually abused, are abused by a family member or close friend? Did you know that "stranger danger," by comparison, is quite rare?  If you are like me, you are saddened and disgusted by the news that has come out about the Penn State sex scandal.  Unfortunately, there are many other predators out there around our youth every day.  Out of all the negativity this scandal has brought to our lives, let's let it be a lesson to parents everywhere to start talking to our children openly about what what is a good touch vs. bad touch and what to do if someone does make us feel uncomfortable. 
If you're like me, you'd like to lock up your child and never let them out of your sight when you think about this horrible possibility.  Unfortunately, our children will be in situations where there are possibilities of adults making bad decisions.  What would your child do?
Check out this awesome mom's story...

Would you like to have a conversation with your child but aren't sure how?  Check out this site for great tips for prevention and intervention.  We should all be aware.

***A special thanks to Uneeka Jay for sharing her very personal (but inspirational) story with all of us.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

6 Great Tips for Setting Technology Boundaries with Your Family (and yourself!)

Here are 5 great ways to set boundaries with your family when it comes to using technology in your home.
1.  Put your phone in the trunk of your car.  Tempted to look at your phone while driving?  Take away the temptation by putting your phone in your purse (or diaper bag) and placing it in the trunk.  Then, you will not have the temptation to be distracted!

2.  Cell phone basket.  Set rules for your children's cell phone usage by setting phone times and having your children (including yourself!) turn your phone off and put it in the basket while spending time with the family or doing homework.  This is such a great lesson for your family to learn to focus!

3.  Checking Minutes.  How many minutes has your child used this month on his phone?  Is he using it when he is supposed to be sleeping at night?  Set a limit and make sure you (or your child) checks with the cell phone carrier to make sure you are within the limits!  If neccessary, mark it on the calendar as a reminder!

4.  Prioritize quality time.  Do your children feel like they are the priority when you are playing with them or spending quality time or do they think you are most interested in the person you are texting?  Put your cell phone away and let your children know you want to be with them!

5.  Use a TimeScout (http://www.timescout.com/) - A device that helps you to track your children's use on t.vs and computers.

6.  Be Present. In our society today, it's so easy to get distracted from what is important.  No one knows what tomorrow will bring, so turn off distractions and turn on your presence.  And the best part?  Your children might follow your example when they are alone (IE.  not texting while driving!)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A lack of intelligence is no excuse for not being successful in life...Within everyone is a capability to be brilliant at something!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Are You the Kind of Mom You Want to Be?

We all have days when we make mistakes and say things that we regret to our children but if you feel like these times are so often that maybe you are turning into the type of mom you despise, then maybe it's time to think about what type of mom you want to be!  Here's an exercise to help you... 

Take out a piece of paper and write down three words to describe the type of mom you want to be.
EXAMPLE: Caring, honest, and good role model

Next, write down what actions you need to perform in order to be described as that kind of mom.  For example, if you would like to be a caring mom, you may want to use actions like:
  • kissing,
  • hugging,
  • attentive listening (without distractions)
Finally, let go of the things that you regret and focus on the things that you want to accomplish!  Holding onto the guilt will only make you feel bad.  ALL moms make mistakes on a daily basis so stay focused on the type of mom you want to be and if you slip up, forgive yourself and move forward....after all, you are human!!!

***Want some extra inspiration?  Post your 'mom goals' somewhere you see often such as your laptop desktop, on your refrigerator or on your bathroom mirror (the bathroom is a great place because it's helpful to start your day with a friendly reminder of what you want to accomplish!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

3 Questions to Ask if Your Children are Tuning You Out (and how to make them listen!)

1.  Do I have unrealistic expectations? Am I expecting a 2 year old to behave like a 5 year old?  It's important to step back and look at what your child can realistically do.  Children want to succeed but sometimes aren't sure how.  For example, one of your children may be able to sit entertain himself for an hour (as a toddler) and another child may not have the attention span at the same age.  If your not sure if your expectations are too high, check out a parenting website such as http://www.babycenter.com/ which details age appropriate behaviors at different ages.

2.  Can I get rid of the problem?
Sometimes we create our own problems.  It took me 2 weeks to realize that moving a particular chair from the living room to the basement could easily eliminate a big problem when my daughter kept standing on it.  I was constantly asking her to sit correctly in the chair and once the chair was removed....there were no more conversations about the subject!

3.  Is my child tuning me out? Do you find yourself saying no a lot or correcting your children so often that it feels like that's all you are saying?  Often, our children will begin to tune us out because they are overwhelmed.  In fact, it's human nature to demonstrate negative behavior when all you are receiving is negative attention.  Instead, provide an atmosphere where your child is forced to earn compliments or acceptance so that they feel like they can earn positive reinforcement. 
Positive attention doesn't mean constantly telling your child how great they are or how proud you are of them (actually that can be harmful when overdone!)  Instead, get engaged in their world and involved in conversations about what interests them "wow! That train is fast!  Do you like slow trains or fast trains?"
Usually, getting down on the floor and involved in THEIR world is the easiest way start having them earn positive attention and allow them to learn they are appreciated.

4.  Am I a pushover?
We teach our children how to treat us.  If we give in to particular situations, our children will begin to think that what they are doing is acceptable (because it is being accepted, right?)  Think about what things are  very important to you and draw healthy boundaries and/or consequences around those situations (i.e.  If your child talks disrespectfully to you and you never give consequences, they will continue to behave that way!)  Remember, children respond MUCH more effectively to warnings and consequences (time outs or things being taken away) than they do to verbal reprimands alone!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How Do You Show Your Child That You Love Them?

I like to be honest in my blog so I will be honest and say that I thought about this idea when I was in marriage counseling.  My husband and I were in a rut and having a really difficult time.  The marriage counselor suggested we tell each other what the other person did every day what made us feel appreciated (i.e. sex, cleaning the house, giving the other person a break, waking up with the kids in the morning, etc.)  This was eye opening to me because some of the things I thought made my husband feel appreciated weren't at all what he wanted.
The same can be said for children.  We do so much to make our children happy but do your children know that you value and appreciate them?  Sometimes it's important to tell your children the things that you do to show that you love them.  Children often realize that kisses and hugs show love but they may not understand that even timeouts or punishments are a way of showing you care about them by teaching them right from wrong. Ask your children what you do that makes them feel special? You can also tell them what THEY do that makes YOU feel special!  The result could be eye opening!  Give it a try!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fueling Your Engine

What did you do to fuel your engine today?  Women often put others needs in front of their own forgetting that they need to take care of their own soul.  Picture yourself as a vehicle...if you don't put gas in your tank, how will you transport your family where they need to go?  Write down three things you did today to recharge your soul, body, or spirit (take a walk, read a book, talk to a friend, or eat something healthy). 

Next, write down how this helped you be a better spouse, person or parent.  For example, "I took a zumba class today THEN when I came home I played with my child and felt focused, energized, and patient."

Monday, October 10, 2011

How to Create the Life You Want

It is Monday morning, the start of a brand new week!  Brand new activities, brand new jobs, brand new attitudes, and brand new reactions.  Whether you are lonely, busy, broke, rich, or even sick, life is the result of your choices.  We choose whether we want to be in control of our life or not.  So, what if you feel backed into a corner and feel like you have no control over what's happening in your life?  I've been there and it sucks!!! But there is good news!  You truly can begin to take baby steps back to gaining control over your life with the right support and guidance!  Last week is gone...write it in the history books and let it go!
1.  Surround yourself with motivated people who share your goals.  We treat others how we want to be treated.  Oprah and Steve Jobs have both given lectures about how to succeed and they say that surrounding yourself with those who share your goals is essential to creating success!  Don't feel like the people your with motivate you?  Don't get rid of them!  These people may need to learn how you want to be treated! Perhaps we've been sending them the wrong messages about what we expect. 
2.  Stay focused!
What are your goals?  Are your actions a direct result of your goals?  Sit down and write a plan for what kind of week your going to have and make it happen!!

**Are you physically able to control your life?
Sometimes our body tells us we need more than a little help and the choices we make may not be enough to make us feel happy.  If you suffer from depression, anxiety, or some other mental illness, please seek help from a professional!  There is help out there so you can begin to take control again.

Friday, October 7, 2011

What Can Steve Jobs Teach Us?

What a week this has been!  My sister found out 2 weeks ago that she has thyroid cancer.  I took her to her doctors appointment this week to see an oncologist and thankfully found out that her cancer is small, easily removable, and a less than 1% chance that it has spread.  Hooray!  What a relief!  But of course with these kinds of experiences, we realize how precious life is and we are reminded to embrace all the wonderful moments!  Then, the passing of Steve Jobs brought many facebook posts quoting his amazing messages about embracing life, enjoying your job, and pursuing your passions. 
As (moms and as women), we have so many opportunities to pursue our passions.  We sometimes get mixed up and think that our children are our ONLY passions but that is not true! We still have our own goals and passions and we need to figure out what the world is needs from us.  Everyone has something to contribute to the world and has a reason for being here!  What is your reason for being here?  What is your passion?
If your struggling, take 5 minutes every night to write in a journal about what inspired you!

Then I thought about writing an article about what Steve Job's messages can teach our children and this author beat me to it (and it's an awesome article!)

Whatever inspires you, take a little time each day to make it a reality.  This will not only help you to fulfil your dreams but also is the best way to teach your children to make their dreams a reality!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Managing Your Pictures

If your like me, you have trouble managing your pictures!  I manage to get them onto Facebook but then they sit on my computer and never make it into my albums or given to family members (that have been begging you for copies!)  Here are a few tricks that I've found from organizing gurus and a special coupon code for you!
1.  Make a commitment to order pictures or print them once a season (or year) depending on how many pictures you take!
2.  Quit procrastinating! Either order one of those great photo books (I like Snapfish but there's plenty of other sites that are great!)  or order the pictures and IMMEDIATELY put them into a scrapbook.
3.  Make it fun!  Have some friends over, do it with your kids, or take a night to yourself with a glass of wine and go to town! Instead of thinking of this project as a chore, enjoy the trip down memory lane and have fun!
4.  Save money! What better way to enjoy scrapbooking than to save money?  Here's an awesome deal:

Get 100 4x6 prints for $1, 200 for $2, or 300 for $3

Use coupon ALLPRINTS100, ALLPRINTS200, or ALLPRINTS300 to until October 5
on your Snapfish order! www.snapfish.com

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Do I Need to Be Less of a Good Mom?

There are days when I am so hard on myself as a mom.  I can be my worst critic...I swear!  Sometimes, I am so consumed by trying to be perfect that I think I'm actually doing my child a disservice!  I will give you an example of a few things that have happened lately.  My daughter Sienna is a high energy creature often needing direction.  I recently realized that I was giving her too much direction and not allowing her to have quiet time and figure out how to play on her own.  I was constantly redirecting her, entertaining her (in between stirring the spaghetti) and making everything into a song.  I was getting so exhausted trying to multi task at every moment and I was noticing that Sienna had no clue how to play on her own. So, I began scheduling my time with her a little bit more so that I knew that I was giving her undivided, quality attention but then allowed her time to play on her own.  Setting this boundary really seemed to be helpful in creating an environment where she would be forced to learn to play independently.
Another example, no one in my family had been happy for about a week because Sienna was getting up at 430 in the morning and screaming.  We would come into her room to try to "be a good parent" and put her back to bed.  We even tried telling her that we were locking the door and putting a blanket by the door so that she could sleep there or in her bed.  This worked for a few night but then at 4am she would begin screaming again.  I think that strategy would work for most kids but not my stubborn little cutie!  We quickly realized that maybe being a good parent meant that we needed to lay down some rules, gain some control of our house at 4am, lock the door and let her cry it out.  Yes, I felt like a REALLY bad parent!! Sienna cried for 2 LONG hours until she finally fell asleep but I realize now that it's what she needed to realize that there are rules and she must stay in her bed at night. 
So, it makes me think? Do I need to be less of a good mom to be a good mom???

Friday, September 9, 2011

3 Steps To Keeping a Positive Attitude During Troubling Times

Why do we create our own stress so often?  As if trying to be healthy, pay the bills, and discipline your kids isn't hard enough...why do we watch news media that can make us feel down.  Where I live in the northeast we have seen so many crazy things going on; earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, and remembering 9/11 and the news is covering all the horrific stories.
The human psyche is pretty amazing when you think about it.  For some reason we find "entertainment" in hearing about tragedy and turmoil (usually because we like to hear about the an outcome that is triumphant or that there are lessons learned). But what we sometimes forget is that we are dragging ourselves through negativity which can be harmful to our health and well being.  The same thing can be said for 'that friend' who gossips a lot (and can be very interesting at times) but listening to the gossip makes you feel sorry for the people she's talking about.  So, what can we do to avoid these kind of situations and keep ourselves from bad mood or even worse depression, anxiety, or sleepless nights?

1.  RECOGNITION- The first step is recognizing that certain situations are making you feel uncomfortable or you may leave the situation in a bad mood. 
2.  BOUNDARIES- Setting boundaries is very important.  You are in complete control of your life.  If a situation is making you feel uncomfortable than it may be necessary to address it in an assertive but direct manner.  Although it is sometimes very difficult, there are always time when we need to have difficult conversations with people in our lives (particularly ones we care most about)
3.  REPLACEMENT BEHAVIORS- Instead of vowing not to ever hang out with someone you find negative, start to find people that you find to be more positive and make more time for them.  Also, instead of watching the news, take a walk or read a magazine.

Friday, September 2, 2011

4 Easy Ways to Ensure a Successful School Year

1. Setting a routine. Have your child get use to bedtimes when school starts by having them start going to bed early now. Getting them back in the routine will help their bodies adjust to the change and will avoid having them be extremely tired during those first days back.

2. Get your child excited about school. Talk to you child about their new classroom, teacher, and/or friends. Ask them what they are excited about most or what they are most nervous about. It's often helpful focus on making the new school year itself exciting by asking about books or classes (instead of things like clothes or material objects).

3. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare. Read through any information that you receive right away and do your shopping promptly so that things aren't crazy the day before school starts. Go through school supplies and/or clothes and purge old things to keep it simple. Help your child find a special space for them to do their homework. They can make this space their own with a cork board, bulletin board, and supplies.

4. Provide your child with expectations. Think ahead about what you want your child's school year to be like. What do you need to do to make sure that happens? Setting clear expectations ahead of time will provide your children with ample time to prepare. Of course, consistency is key! So, start thinking now about what you want the school week to look like and what you need to make sure it happens. What are the usual problem areas? If mornings are normally crazy, waking up earlier might be the answer. Perhaps your child is old enough now to start taking out their own breakfast or utensils. Are there any modifications you can make to help them help themselves (such as moving the plates to a lower cabinet)?

Enjoy these special days. Although the first days back to school are filled with mixed emotions, they won't last forever and one day we will miss these special times! Take pictures and tell your child how you feel! Don't forget, enjoy the moments!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


You're stuck inside during the storm and wondering how you're going to keep the kids occupied?  Have no fear!  Here are some cool games to keep them busy!!!
1. Create a crossword puzzle Using weather related words, create a crossword puzzle.  Then, ask someone to find the words that are hidden.  Remember, your kids can either find the words or make the puzzle himself!
2.  Surf the net.  Storms can be really exciting!  Surf the internet for some fun weather related facts and videos! Here's a cool site http://www.weatherwizkids.com/weather-hurricane.htm
3.  Play the Name Game.  This game can be fun for adults and children!  The first person picks a name of a famous celebrity like Michael Jackson.  The next person must say the name of a celebrity that starts with the first letter of the last name such as Jessica Simpson.  The next person would say a name that started with S and so on...that's it!  Enjoy!
4.  Flashlight games.  If your stocked up on batteries and the power goes out, you can play flashlight tag or make shadows with your hands!  Make sure you have plenty of battery life so you don't compromise your safety!!!!
5.  Eat Ice Cream.  If the power goes out for extended periods of time, there is a dangerous chance that your ice cream will melt so make sure you enjoy some yummy treats!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Creative Parenting Trick

You know those times when your child says something to you that may be appropriate but is on the fence of being disrespectful? Kids are great manipulators and they are at saying what they can get away with even though it may be disrespectful. Here are two questions to keep kids from becoming the smart mouth that drives you crazy!

1. "I'm not sure why you are talking that way?"
2. "O.k...let's start this conversation over again. Let's turn this around!" Now stand up, turn around and sit back down again and have your child do the same thing!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

4 Easy Tricks to Make Your Mornings Run Smoothly

1.  Plan your week
Sundays are a great time to think about your week and prepare.  Look at the calendar and take some time to think about what needs to be done and how it needs to happen.

2.  Talk about your week
Talk to your kids and significant other early during the day on Sundays (not at 9pm as everyone is going to bed).  It's often helpful to talk about expectations and/or plans over dinner when you have every one's attention (as opposed to while the kids are watching t.v and might not be fully paying attention).  It may even be helpful to ask for them to repeat back to you what you said so that you are assured that they heard you.

3.  Get things ready
Think about what you can do the night before to make the morning easier.  Since I have a newborn, I like to take the formula container (which is already measured out and filled) and 2 bottles with water in them to bed with me so that I can easily prepare them at night.  I also fill my daughter's sippy cup with milk and put it on the bottom shelf so she can get it herself in the morning.  If you're a coffee drinker, make sure it is ready the night before so all you need to do is push a button in the morning.  Finally, make sure your dishes are done.  The last thing you want to do is come down to a sink full of dishes in the morning!

4.  Get up early
As hard as it is to drag yourself out of bed in the morning, allowing yourself enough time in the morning is the single most important thing you can do to get a good start to your day.  Waking up (or even working out) before your kids wake up can be a great way to get your thoughts organized and get some alone time before everyone wakes up. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

How Stay at Home Moms Can Keep Their Sanity

Being a Stay at Home mom is definitely not an easy job! There are times when your day feels like one very long bumpy road.  One thing that I find extremely helpful to stay happy as a Stay at Home mom is to view my stay at home status as a profession. The word profession is defined as a job that has duties and results in a payment or a return of some kind. Technically, if I wasn't at home with our daughter, we would be paying for childcare so in a way, I am being reimbursed in the big picture. Not only that, but my reimbursement is watching my daughter smile, give hugs, and learn new things.

When I see my stay at home mom role as a job, I am better able to handle stress and stay professional. I know that the word professional sounds weird but it is really important to not take things personally and stay focused on the responsibilities at hand. As much as I love being able to give my daughter hugs and kisses all the time (and I do!) it's nice to also step away and just do my job!

Next, any CEO of a successful company will tell you that organization is very important. Your home is no different and needs to have systems, goals, and rewards.

Having goals as a stay at home mom can help you to stay focused.
Write down your goals as a stay at home mom (i.e. keeping kids safe, healthy, etc.)  Then incorporate your goals into a flexible schedule.  Having a schedule is SOOOOO important. My schedule is pretty flexible but I definitely prioritize eating and sleeping times for the kiddos. Having a schedule is very important for helping everyone understand what is expected of them and when and even help us to stay focused. Children respond very well to routine and time frames.

Create a support system for yourself.

This is SOOOO important and is so often overlooked! In any job setting, people have mentors, supervisors, and coworkers...you should too! Set yourself up with a friend that you respect and admire and make you set up times to talk to them about issues and struggles or just listen as they go through the same things you do. I am really big on scheduling (on the calendar) 'moms night out' or dinners with a friend at LEAST once every 2 weeks...this can really be a sanity saver!

Take a Personal Day
If you work hard during the day and accomplish most of your goals, than you deserve a break (without feeling guilt about taking a day to yourself). Every job as personal days and a stay at home mom should too!
Get out of your sweatpants.
Every office has a dress code to make people appear and feel professional. There's an old saying that you should "dress the part" if you want to succeed at something. Sometimes it's the little things that can help you feel more important and give you motivation throughout your day. Get out of your sweatpants and put on something that makes you feel like you look nice and it might be enough to help you feel good about yourself when you walk past the mirror. (by that I mean jeans and a sweater-let's be real!)
Picture yourself as the person you want to become. If being a stay at home mom is something you truly want, take the time to create the role you wish to attain and set yourself up with all the tools you need to make it happen!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

TODDLER TUESDAY! Is the Breastfeeding Doll Appropriate for Toddlers?

There is a new doll on the market for toddlers which comes with accessories for the toddler to nurse the doll.  I have mixed feelings about this controversial product.  First of all, I think there is a little too much hoopla being made about something that's not a big deal in my mind.  I don't think that I would buy this product for my daughter...but that doesn't mean I have a problem with it. 
There is nothing 'sexual' about breastfeeding, therefore I don't really see this product being much different than a babydoll with a bottle or a baby that comes with diapers for changing when their wet.
If you don't care for this doll than you don't have to buy it for your child....but saying it should be taken off the market is a bit much in my opinion.  If we are really concerned about inappropriate games or toys for our children then perhaps we should focus on getting some of the violent games and toys off the market instead of a nurturing doll.

Friday, July 22, 2011

FOCUS FRIDAY! Our Newest Member!


Please Be Patient!

As most of you know, we welcomed Jacklyn Raine to our lives on July 12th.  As a result, my postings are going to be a little sporadic for the next few weeks (until I can get back in the swing of things!) I am still posting here and there but not as consistantly as I was before!!
Thanks for checkin' in and keep coming back!