Nifty vs. Thrifty

Friday, December 3, 2010

Wondering Where I've Been?

Simply Siena is still in action but has a new site with a new name....Tickles and Time Outs! Make sure you subscribe to our blog, follow us on facebook or follow on Twitter!
See you there!!
www.ticklesandtimeouts.blogspot.com

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Great Cyber Monday Deal

You all know how much I love books and love to encourage children to read as well. Here are 2 awesome books that I think your kids will love at a great price only today!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
$6.94
Children go crazy for this series which is well written and very fun!

Guinness Book of World Records 2011
$16.50
Don't you remember reading this as a kid and being so amazed? This is such a cool book that your child and you can share together on Christmas morning!

These books and more of mine and Sienna's favs are on my Amazon store:
http://astore.amazon.com/ticandtimou01-20?node=1&page=2

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Is it ok to Use Santa as a Bribe?

Using Santa's gifts as an incentive for good behavior is very tempting this time of year. The question is, can threatening Santa's visit be a bad thing? Well, first of all, don't make promises you can't keep (IE. "If you are bad, Santa will not come!") Making those kinds of threats are unrealistic and not a fair punishment for bad behavior. Instead, focus on the true spirit of the holiday. If we focus too much on Santa and presents than we might be sending our children the message that presents are what's most important about the holiday. Instead, donate your time to a nearby organization or visit a nearby nursing home with your children to spend time with the residents or even sing some Christmas Carols. In my opinion, using Santa as an incentive is not a bad thing, as long as you are clear and don't make promises you can't keep. Encourage good choices by saying something like,"Remember, Santa is watching you!" but don't loose focus that these choices are good because it's the right thing (not just because Santa is watching!) In addition, Christmas is a great opportunity to read bible stories and learn about the true spirit of giving! The bottom line...encouraging good behavior for Santa's arrival here and there is OK but make sure you all also teach your children all the other reason to make good choices and the true spirit of giving.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Random Thoughts on Thanksgiving Morning



Well, I wasn't planning on writing today (thanksgiving morning) but I just put Sienna down for nap, hubby and house guests are out playing Turkey Day football and I am here all alone enjoying quiet moments by the fire. How sweet it is!


I talk about simplicity parenting quite a bit and Thanksgiving is the perfect day to truly practice it! I find myself sometimes getting worked up about family issues around the holidays (don't we all!?) wondering why people do things a certain way and the truth is....it's all just little stuff. I think about the people around the world who don't have a home, suffering with illnesses, and deaths, and I am reminded that I have so many blessings! In addition, I have many faults as well


Thanksgiving is a time to be truly grateful, put aside resentments, and focus on the savory food, the wonderful smells and the sweet sound of laughter. Hope you enjoy this wonderful day my awesome readers!


Check out this great tradition for Thanksgiving dinner...


Don't throw out the wishbone!! Hold the wishbone with a partner, make a wish, and whoever has the biggest part after the bone is broken will have their wish come true!




Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hosting a Memorable Thanksgiving Dinner




1. If you are expecting children to come to your house, be prepared for them. Have a small table, some coloring books and small toys (maybe from the dollar store), and be prepared for a noisy evening!

2. Prepare as much food as you can the day before (that's today if anyone is paying attention!) so that you can spend time with your guests. Many people think that being a great hostess means having the best food but the truth is, being a great hostess means being able to entertain them and provide a relaxed atmosphere. Remember, not everything needs to be fancy!

3. Delegate. People love to help out. Plan ahead and try to visualize how you can organize the day/evening. What will you need help with the most. If your children are little, ask someone to color with them (break out a Christmas toy early if you need to!) or hire a mommy's helper for a few hours.

4. Leave dishes. The dishes will not rot. A good hostess will let the dishes sit and spend quality time with the family. Better yet, use paper plates!!
5. Enjoy yourself. Relax and enjoy this special time with friends and family. Plus, happiness is contagious and your guests will feel more at ease if you are having fun!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Most Magical Gifts for Your Family

I don't believe that the magic of Christmas is created by what's under the tree. Instead, I believe that the true magic is what's created around the tree! Here are some special, fun, and family oriented gifts to make this Christmas the best one your kids have ever had!

1. Hobby related gifts Children find joy in things when they see us enjoying it! Share your love of trains, puzzles, or doll houses with your child. Whatever the skill or hobby that you enjoy, share your enthusiasm with you children! They will love having something that has a special connection to you.


2. Arts and crafts I distinctly remember getting my Spin Art Machine for Christmas and how much fun I had playing with it for hours and hours (they still make it by the way... it is listed on my amazon store link... http://astore.amazon.com/ticandtimou01-20/

Some people think that arts and crafts aren't for everyone but I disagree. I think everyone can find an artistic talent and enjoy making different things with different materials if they have someone helping and encouraging them!


3. Wii or Playstation These games are truly the ultimate game for family and friends of all ages. We have had so much fun with our wii and there are a gazillion games for all interests. From bowling to surfing, it's seriously hard to find a game for everyone! There is even boggle Yahtzee and battleship for some old school fun!



4. Musical Instruments or Rockband for Playstation I love music! My husband's family comes from a very musical family and I love how they enjoy sitting around singing together for hours on end. I realize this is not for everyone but Rockband usually appeals to most people! Gotta love it!




Not able to spend that kind of cash or don't have a Playstation or Wii? No worries! Check out some of the karaoke games on CD rom that are really reasonably priced and SOOO much fun!



5. Jewelry If you have a daughter and you want her to have a special piece of jewelry, start this great tradition. My friends went together and started the beginning of a pearl necklace for Sienna and the cool thing about it is that you can add them on special occasions. This is such a meaningful gift that I LOVE! http://www.addapearl.com/
5. Ice Cream maker What family doesn't love ice cream. Engage your family with this fun activity with such a yummy product to share! Check out this one on my Amazon store page http://astore.amazon/ticandtimou01-20


6. Special Books Find one of your favorite books as a child and give it to your child with a special message on the inside cover. This will be a treasure for years to come.

Looking for other meaningful gifts for your family? God to my Amazon store and search for every unique gift idea you can think of using age groups or special interests. You'll be sure to find the perfct gift at a reasonable price!


And of course, here's a few gifts YOU should ask for Christmas!


1. The Special Plate (which I have written about in a previous post) is one of my favorite gifts and I'm sure you would love it too. http://astore.amazon.com/ticandtimou01-20

2. A fun family board game is always a crowd pleaser and what could bring you more pleasure than spending hours of quality time with your family? Check out http://www.astore.amazon.comticandtimeou01-20/, then click on Toys and Games, then click on Top Family Board Games. Here, you will find a great list for you to choose from (based on the customer's favorites!)

3. Want to give back to others this holidays season? Here's a program that allows you to donate money to a Mom in Mozambique that is striving to start a business to feed her children. How cool is that? Check it out here www.groupon.com/deals/kiva/national.com Ask your family to make a donate for you and give you a certificate for recognition!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Perfect, Simple Thanksgiving Recipe

This recipe is so yummy and easy! You will have everyone asking for the recipe!

BAKED YAMS
(tastes like pumpkin pie!)

Ingredients:

1 40 oz. can of yams

2 eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp allspice

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/8 tsp nutmeg

3/4 cup evaporated milk

1/4 stick of butter, melted



Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Mix togehter ingredients. Pour into casserole dish and bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes. You'll see cracks in the yams when they are done cooking! SIMPLY TASTY!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Being the CEO of your Household

Being a Stay at Home mom is definetly not an easy job! 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 stressors 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.
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, accomplishing your goals, and keeping a happy healthy home then you should have no guilt about taking a day to yourself. Every job as personal days and you should too!

Get out of your sweatpants.

Every office has a dress code to make people appear and feel professional. There's the 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 morror. (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!

Monday, November 8, 2010

WE LOVE FALL!!!







Playing in the leaves.....









LOTS OF LOVE......





and kisses.....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Getting Your Love On

Check out this awesome guest writer we have today!
Michele Paiva has worked as an author, radio host, yoga instructor, and wellness coach. I am so excited to have her share her ideas with my readers....hope you enjoy!


This is the time of year when though we claim to be festive more than ever, we are actually a society filled with increased depression, stress, anxiety and weight gain.

Lead with your heart, and get your love on...

Not love for others-you are probably focusing too much on making others happy right now and that is what got you into this mess (or what WILL get you into that mess!). Instead, focus on loving yourself more. Take yourself to the next level; instead of focusing externally focus internally. Transform your anxiety and stress to energy, and banish depression and combat weight gain with commitment to yourself.

Think about your past, and heal your childhood and relationship wounds so that you can activate undeveloped potential and increase your ability to cope, love yourself, and thus handle the holiday season with an embrace not a grimace.

It sounds elementary, and it is; but it is often overlooked. We say things like "make time for yourself" as if one need to schedule sanity into our hectic life....that shouldn't be the way it is! You should be focused on your time all the time, and make time for OTHERS!

Schedule others - yes even your children.

I am a homeschooling mother of two; one is in college, the other in 11th grade. I love them with all my heart but I also have boundaries, and those boundaries are respected and learned, and they too focus on helping themselves before reaching out to help another. I am all for that attitude.

Most people who are very at peace and happy with simple are able to walk away or deflect that behavior, but those who are less at peace, are more vulnerable to this, and so the cycle continues within themselves. When you focus on your own needs and meet them (and trust me, a lot men and women really need to not feel guilt on this one!) you will harness energy that is second to none.

When you are stressed or depressed you are not as strong, even immunity-wise, it is easier to catch a cold or flu, and to catch a "mood", in that I mean you will if stressed or depressed, be more likely to absorb someone else's negative emotions or cranky outlook, even their tension.

It's really all about focus.

One way to really show the day down, increase potassium (which is so important when speaking about stress) and give yourself some aroma therapy as a boost, it is simply to make this recipe. Share it with others but first, and foremost, have some for YOU!!
Michele's Oat-Pumpkin Autumn LOVE-ON....served warm ;)
A small can of pumpkin filling or puree
Three cups of oat milk (you may use more if you have more of a crowd, it will just be less thick but still packed with flavor)
A pinch of salt (I use ionized since I don't eat seafood much and I want to ensure thyroid health)
A pinch of Cinnamon
A pinch of Clove
A dash of Vanilla
Mix all of the above well and then put on stove on medium heat, stirring frequently, until steam rises.
Serve warm.
This recipe is healthy, increases focus and relaxation, celebrates the season, and it's a great way to show yourself a little love!
Have an idea for stress reduction you want to share?? Post and share http://www.loseyourfinattitude.com/

Friday, November 5, 2010

Saving Money for the Holidays

What is the best way to save money for your family? Cutting coupons, finding sales and shopping at yard sales are great ways to curb spending but it is still "money out" instead of money that we could be keeping in our pockets.

Winter is approaching and we often think about recharging our cold spirits by buying a new latte at Starbucks, going to the spa, or having dinner out with our friends. All of these things are great, but think of how much space they take in our budget. If we can truly find enjoyment in ourselves than we will REALLY save big bucks while teaching our children to not be materialistic and find enjoyment in the simple things in life.

If we turn on the t.v or look in our children's classrooms, we will quickly see how materialistic our society has become. I admit, I am constantly challenged by trying to avoid shopping for the latest shoes or fantasizing about going to the nicest spa for a pedicure. But if we really try to focus on creating the greatest MEMORIES, we can quickly learn that the best things in life really are free! Here's an example.

As mothers, finding time to relax and unwind is priceless, right? Here's an idea for you that doesn't cost a dime. Find a quiet, relaxing space in your home to call your own (a favorite chair, the bath tub, or even in bed if you find that relaxing) Set up a little area with a favorite candle, prepare a cup of tea and put on your favorite p.js. Sound inviting yet? Good, I'm not finished!

Next, I want you to find a favorite magazine or book and take half an hour (or more!) to just have YOU time. Recharge your battery and energize your soul! Think about the money you are saving by creating a mommy moment without shopping or spending on dinner out, manicures, etc.! Don't get me wrong, there are definitely times when a mom should splurge on herself- but using moderation and finding thrills in your own home will not only save you money but help you find balance during difficult times (especially those times when you don't have money!)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Using Guided Imagery to Help Your Family

Guided imagery is an amazing tool for creating the life you want. Research has proven again and again that our imagination can help us build our own realities. What is that you want? What kind of family do you want to have? When you are old and sitting on a rocking chair, what kind of family to you want to come visit you?



Do you think it sounds sound corny or silly? Maybe, but chat with some athletes that have won races, people who have overcome illnesses, or people who have lost a lot of weight and you will quickly learn that guided imagery is a powerful tool. Whether these people realize it or not, they have used guided imagery (in some form or another) to attain the goals they have set. In other words, they become the person they want to be.

Can we turn our worries into dreams?
I am a women, therefore I worry (I think it goes along with the territory!) but I really think that worries can be our own worst enemy. Don't get me wrong, listening to our intuition (and taking time to listen to what is best for us is a good thing) but when these thoughts of doing what's best turn into worries, it really doesn't help us and instead drags us down; preventing success.
Instead, if we take the time to listen to our intuition, then visualize the life we want we will inevitable (almost effortlessly) create the life we want. It's SIMPLE. If you believe in yourself and take baby steps you will be moving in the direction of your goals and dreams.
Are you ready to make it happen? Try these simple steps one or 2 times a day (or whenever you want!) and watch your dreams become a reality.

1. Picture your family doing the things that you wish would change (ex. fighting, sadness, or illness).

2. Next, picture yourself throwing that picture away.

3. Create a new family portrait in your imagination with the family that you wish to become.

4. Take baby steps to move toward that image.






Interested in learning more about guided imagery? Check this out: www.holisticonline.com/guided-imagery.htm




Thursday, October 28, 2010

5 Simple Ideas to Make Trick or Treating a Success!




Halloween is a very fun time of year but it can also be tiring, expensive, and full of drama. Don't let this happen to you! Planning ahead can prevent meltdowns, hurt feelings, and exhaustion. Follow these simple rules (plus be safety conscience!) and you will have an awesome evening with your little ones!

1. Keep your eye on the clock. If your children are young, get them started early and home early so they don't get too tired and end up miserable. Be realistic about your expectations and plan on one parent taking a young child home early if necessary so that older children can still enjoy themselves. Remember, you want it to be a positive experience for everyone, not a nightmare! As Kenny Rodgers says, "Know when to fold em, know when to walk away!"

If your kid is over 13, don't allow them to Trick or Treat. It is a little upsetting for a 13 year old to be told that they can't trick or treat anymore but it is necessary to set limits. Trick or treating is really for small kids. If you have an older child, engage them in the fun by having them give out candy and encourage them to dress up if they would like to. For crying out loud, keep your kid inside after the trick or treating hours are over, don't let you kid be one of the kids that are way too old knocking on doors after hours!

2. Prioritize what's important. Focus on how a child rocks the costume instead of who has the neatest one. I remember my brother was devastated one year because someone else at school made an R2D2 costume that was "better" then his. Focus on having good manners and having fun instead of how much candy they got and your child will have an enjoyable Halloween. Remember, it's not a competition-it's about having fun with your neighbors and family.

3. Dress your Children in Layers. Halloween weather is always tricky and can really turn trick or treating into a disaster if your not prepared. Watch the weather closely and dress your kids in an extra layer under their costume if needed.

4. Preset your children. Trick or treating is a very exciting night but it only happens once a year. Talk to your kids about expectations before leaving the house since they may not remember what it's like or know what to expect. Talk to them about manners and be clear about the plan for the evening. Give examples of what kind of things could happen and quiz them on what they will do if that occurs (example..."People may not know what you are since your character is a little unknown. What will you tell them if they ask?" or "What happens if someone offers candy that you don't like?" This will help them know what to say when the time comes.

5. Set clear candy rules and stick to them. If your child is a kid that will consume half a bowl of candy in one sitting, set some rules and stick to them. Put out other yummy alternatives for you and the kids to snack on before you are tempted to eat candy.


Finally, have fun. When you're having fun, your kids will too!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Making Mealtimes Memorable


There are so many ways to show your child that they are loved and mealtimes are a great chance to do that. Using your creativity to show your love can provide your kids with wonderful memories that they can cherish into adulthood. Here are a few ideas to get you started..

1. Own a Special plate. My mom had this cool plate for us while we were growing up and I loved it. We got the privilege of using the special plate whenever we did something good (good grade, birthday, or just for the heck of it!) I always love this tradition and use it with my family now. You can buy it online http://www.redplatestore.com/ or make your own at a pottery store.




2. Make Special Dinners Part of your Weekly Schedule. I would love to say that my family eats at the table every night but that would be a lie. It's not something we do at this point in time but but having a family dinner one night a week (Sunday is always a good day) is a great way to show family values are a priority in your family. Picking a certain day and sticking to it allows your kids to know when to expect it and even get excited about it.


3. Engage Children in the Process. If you plan ahead, you can ask your kids to pick a meal and help you get the ingredients at the grocery store (and even help you stir or pour ingredients into the bowls). Another idea? Children of all ages seem to love making Place cards for other family members (or guests). Set your child up with materials to make place cards while you get dinner ready.


4. Theme Night. Pick a country such as Italy or Mexico and make a recipe from that county (don't worry-tacos or pizza is creative enough!) Bonus: Find a new word from that country and use it while you are having dinner!


5. Question game. This is something you can do every night. Get your kids talking by asking what is their least favorite part of their day and best part of their day.


Although all of these ideas are fun, the important thing is just being together. Remember, your kids (especially teenagers) might complain "UGH! family dinner is ridiculous!" but years from now they will look back with a smile and remember those special moments with family!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Seeking a Natural and Healthy Lifestyle for Your Family?


Someone from up above must be trying to send me a message today. I turned on the t.v this morning and watched as Dr. Oz was speaking about fat substitutes and non calorie sweeteners. Then, I see on the news yet another recall of Tylenol. It really makes me wonder how and why we get into the habits of looking for quick fixes so often when it causes so much damage to our bodies. It's really scary, and what's even more scary is the habits we're teaching out children.




Let's talk about food first. Billions of dollars are poured into research of processed foods every year, yet obesity in adults and children is at an all time high. Does that make sense? It seems to me that if we slow down and truly enjoy nature's natural sweeteners then we really don't need to drink 5 cups of coffee with artificial sweeteners and can instead enjoy one or two cups with a little bit of sugar. Instead of 3 huge scoops of sugar free ice cream, why not enjoy 1 scoop of natural ice cream? We've created these habits of eating constantly and not working it off enough. Do we want to pass these attitudes and behaviors down to our children? I don't!




What about all the pain medications? It's the ninth time (in a year) that Johnson and Johnson have recalled Tylenol. Could it be that we are complicating our lives by trying to find quick fixes to our ailments (and our children's ailments) instead of using some natural remedies?




I believe everything in moderation is beneficial for my health and wellness, but I really wonder what our children and grandchildren are going to say about the things we consume and the lifestyles that we choose. I have a lot to learn when it comes to natural remedies and holistic medicine but it's looking more appealing than ever right now!




I am opening the door to any ideas and suggestions that anyone can throw my way on the subject! Anyone?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Stay at Home Mom, Working Mom, or Part Time Working Mom?

These are some of the hardest decisions we have to make but we often make it harder than it needs to be! If we follow our intuition and let go of the guilt, we can be happy no matter what we decide (and so can our children!)...it's that simple. If you are struggling with whether you should go back to school, work, or quit your job and stay home with the kids...here are some ideas that may help you out with your decision.


Should you work full time?

Being a stay at home mom is not for everyone and if it's not for you, you certainly shouldn't feel bad about it! I feel so bad hearing women (or men) who are unhappy staying at home with their children. Everyone goes through rough days (maybe even a week) but if you are finding yourself unhappy for extended periods of time, think of some other options. If most of the following statements match your feelings, perhaps it's time to go back to work, go back to school, or work part time.


1. You are going into debt because you can't afford to pay your bills.

2. You are not known to be very patient.

3. You miss your old job constantly.

4. 10 minutes of duck duck goose is enough to drive you into the grave.

5. The thought of repeating the same thing 55 times a day is less than enticing.

6. You think a play date is the worst possible thing you could do with your time.

7. You constantly miss the lifestyle you had while you were working.

8. You find yourself moody and resentful of the life your significant other has outside the home.

9. If you hear Elmo's laugh one more time, you might punch yourself in the face.

10. You have found your passion/niche (and it doesn't involve being a stay at home mom!)


Should you work Part Time? New research indicates that moms that work part time are the happiest because they have their time away but don't feel overwhelmed by trying to do everything. If the following statements match your feelings, it may be time to look into a part time job or even going back to school.

1. You have to work to pay the bills (and by bills I mean mortgage, utilities, or car payments). You hate constantly worrying about how you're going to pay the electric bill.

2. You miss getting out and feeling like an adult.

3. You would like to make a little extra money for a nice pair of boots you've been eyeing up.


4. You enjoy staying at home (most of the time) but sometimes feel chained to the house and need a break.


Should you stay at home full time?



1. You truly enjoy playing hide n seek, duck duck goose, and reading Elmo books (it's not for everyone after all)

2. You enjoy being creative and finding new games to play.

3. Coloring and crafts are a hobby of yours.

4. You often find yourself singing Barney songs.

5. The thought of working full time and letting someone else take care of your child makes you feel ill.

6. You feel like staying at home with the kids is what you were meant to do.

Whatever choice you make, the important thing is to feel confident in your decision and not carry around guilt. Also, it's enough to know that you are a good mom if you are able to pay your bills, keep your children in a safe and fulfilling environment (even if it's not with you!), and still be true to yourself!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

5 Simple Questions to Show Your Child they are Loved

1. "Have I told you lately that I love you?"
2. "Which way would you like to do your chores...wearing your cool shoes or without them?"
3. "I am not sure why you are talking to your sister that way?"
4. "Can you tell me more about that?"
5. "When did you learn to do that, can you teach me?"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dealing with a Difficult Teacher


Let's face it, it's a part of life. You're child will have over many teachers in his or her life and they will not all be good! However, if we view bad teachers as a learning experience, our children will become more resilient and successful overall. Here's how...


1. Communicate Remember, your child only offers one side of the story and your child may be leaving important information out of the story. Talk to your child's teacher politely and find out the whole story. Try to put yourself in the teacher's shoes. The teacher may be new, going through a difficult time in their personal life, or have other information about the situation.


2. Setting boundaries. Be your child's advocate. If there are issues that you are concerned about, don't be afraid to address the situation with the teacher and ask for follow up. If the issue still isn't resolved, look for other options such as talking to a principal about the problem. If that doesn't work, you may need to speak to someone even higher up the chain. Just think carefully and have a plan before acting out in anger. Remember, your child may need to be in the classroom for many more months and you want to make the situation better (not more difficult) for them.


3. Show Respect. Although you may not like your child's teacher, you still need to be respectful. (This may require biting your tongue in front of your child!) Even when you are home, avoid talking badly about the teacher in front of your child.


4. Be positive. Making the best of the situation will help your child overcome the situation and allow them to focus on the what's really important....school work. It will also encourage them to overcome the situation instead of being the victim.


Avoiding difficult people doesn't solve problems and can lead to negative self esteem in children. Instead, teach your children to use the tools they have to overcome their struggles and allow these experiences to be a positive experience instead of a negative one. Try not to focus too much on the problem and instead focus on the schoolwork, reminding your child that your teacher is there to teach not to be your friend. Overall, your child will walk away from this experience with a new lesson in their pocket and a better view on education.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Goal Setting for Children

Goal setting is a skill that keeps adults on track and helps us to stay grounded but what can we do to help our children stay focused and attain their goals as well? If a child is able to practice goal setting effectively, than he/she will be able to learn the important skills of time management, organization, and (as a result) building positive self esteem.

I always say that succes is a loose term and should be defined by the individual. I believe that my child will also only be successful if she can meet her own goals (not mine). I will be very careful to not define success for her. But, I also want to give her the skills she needs to meet her goals and feel confident in the little successes in life. So, I came up with a little skill setting exercise...

Visualize

Ask your child what they want. Ask them to be specific and tell them to picture themselves doing (or having that). Have them close their eyes and visualize the goal or draw a picture of what it will look like.


Set Goals

Whether your child would like to build a huge Lego castle, save money for something cool, or make a good grade, have your child write it down. Then, ask your child to write down a plan (or explain) what they are going to do to attain their goal.

Show Support

Google information about the subject. Find people that have accomplished the same goals that your child is working toward. Make yourself knowledgeable (at least a little bit!) about the subject and try to create an environment where your child feels that can accomplish their goals.

Tell your child a story about something that you wanted (and accomplished) that was not easy for you. Explain how it took time, patience, focus and perseverance. Never say that what they want is impossible or silly. Instead, ask them how that will happen if it sounds outlandish.

Next, follow up by asking your child [occasionally] how they are making out with their goals. Take time to listen to their response (yes that means putting down your cell phone and stopping what you are doing!) and ask them if there is anything you can do to help them with their plans.

Finally, plan a party or something special (even it's their favorite dinner or an ice cream treat) when they accomplish their goal. Make sure it's a surprise because you don't want it to be the sole reason why their wish to fulfil their goals. The most effective payoff is their own pride for accomplishing the task and the joy they feel associated with that result is something they will cherish and remember in the future.

Remember, the goal that your child sets today will probably change tomorrow...and that's OK! The important thing is to show them how to organize their thoughts, set their goals, and feel pride in the steps leading to their accomplishments. Also, letting them know that you believe in them and what they want to accomplish.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Teaching Children to be Accepting of Others



My husband and I love to watch the show Modern Family. If you haven't seen it before, it is a comedy about a family that's not exactly the normal family consisting of a father who is married to a younger woman that has a young son from a previous marriage, his son who is in a gay relationship and has a baby, and a daughter that is married to a whacky (but hysterical) man. Man, that was hard to write and definitely a run on sentence...but hopefully you get the picture.

We love the show and it reminds me of how we've grown as a society in accepting differences among others. I think that's pretty cool but can be challenging at the same time. Chances are, if you are reading this article and you are not racist than your children will not be. It's really simple. Children learn from watching us and if you speak highly of people that follow nontraditional roles or are friends with people that may not look the same as you, your child won't even think anything is wrong with people who appear different. But if you are concerned and aren't sure if you are teaching your kids the right messages, here are some ideas.


1. Read books that show diversity. There are many children's books these days that use people with different religions, belong to different races, and have nontraditional families.


2. Lead by example. It is part of your child's healthy development to question other people that may look 'different'. It's actually quite exciting and fun to learn about other people! When your child asks about someone who looks different, take the time to answer their questions.

By exposing your children to other people who have differences, you will be teaching them sensitivity to others. In addition, if we want our children to be kind and accepting of others, we must always be kind and accepting of others as well.


3. Address Racism. This can be a difficult one. I know many people who are racist or prejudice (and they don't even realize it!) Since I've had my daughter, I've realized that saying nothing when I hear these comments can in fact make me part of the ignorance. Here are a few ways to make addressing the issue a little easier.
  • Don't avoid the uncomfortable conversation because you feel like you are making an uncomfortable conversation. Put the ownership back on them, they are the ones that caused the uncomfortable situation and causing a poor example for your child.
  • Use a touch of humor to ease the conversation (but still addressing your point) such as saying, "wow, Sally, welcome to 2010 the year we are accepting of others and showing our children intolerance! What's up with these remarks?"
  • Address the issue with your child by telling them that you do not like what you heard and that you will talk to that person about it. Avoid, saying, "That person is a biggot or a racist!" and instead explain to your child that people make bad choices and sometimes say things that aren't OK but they are still good people.

Ignorance is a huge problem in our society and teaching our children to be tolerant of others is something we must do as parents. Although, it's not always easy, the payoff will be a child who is loving, kind and accepting of others!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

3 Simple Ways to Make the Most of your Child's Sports Activities






I often think about how girls (or boys) that don't play sports miss out on the many lessons that playing sports offers. Sports can be a great opportunity for children to learn many wonderful life lessons.



Unfortunately, sports can present many challenges...or should I say learning opportunities (depending on how you look at it!). There are a million books and articles written about sportsmanship for a good reason....sports are a great opportunity to learn many values such as teamwork, leadership, determination, trust and respect. But often, it takes a good coach or mentor (such as a parent) to teach children the real value of sports in a child's life. Here are a few simple ways you can help your child reap the benefit of sportsmanship.






1. Let your children fail. Your child wants to play football but can't catch a football? Don't worry! Let them try out and find out for themselves if they can do it. Although we want to help our child by guiding them in the best direction for them, they often need to figure it out for themselves. Who knows? If they want it bad enough, they just might find a way to get better.






2. Stay positive. I used to know a family that loved sports. I should say, the father loved sports but the kid did not. I would watch the father playing sports with the child in the back yard and it was always difficult to watch. The father wanted his son to enjoy the sport as much as he did and he wanted his son to be good at it. The father had the best intentions but had no idea he was turning it into a negative experience by continuously correcting his son to do it the "right way". I always wondered if his son would actually like sports if his dad lightened up a bit. Here are some things you can say to turn the experience into a positive one.



"Wow! You are fast!"



"I like how you hold the bat!"



"Wow Sally! How did you do that? Could you teach me to kick the ball like you do?"



"Thanks for playing catch with me, I really enjoyed it!"






3. Stay supportive. I know how hard it can be to get your child to practice anything. Try to avoid arguing about practicing or it could turn the whole subject into a negative one. Instead, sit down with your child and decide on a reasonable schedule and stick to it. Remember, they may need you to do it with them sometimes. Even if you aren't skilled at that sport, having them "teach you" is a great way for them to learn, practice and most importantly feel confident. If they do not like the sport as much as they anticipated, this is a great opportunity for them to learn how the value of commitment, that is fulfilling your promises to be part of a team.




Get involved with your child's interests and ask many questions (whether you are truly interested or not) The point is to show your child you're interested in them. Joining sports teams are not easy commitments and are usually not cheap. Make the most of it and you will make the most of your time and money while teaching your child invaluable lessons that will last a lifetime.





Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

3 Quick and Easy Ways to Engage in Play


Some days seem so long when our kids are acting out and we can't figure out why. Kids often act out because they are bored! Sometimes we are busy and attempt to give them ideas of what they should do but that's often not enough to keep them occupied. They might need some undivided attention with you engaged in an activity with them. Here are some ideas.


1. Climb onto the jungle gyms. I have seen kids acting out at the playground while their parents are talking on their cell phones. To me, it's obvious that they just want their parents attention even if it's just for a little bit.


2. Change levels. Get on your child's level by crawling, squating, sitting on the floor or put your child on your shoulders.

3. Unplug. Show your child that they have your undivided attention by turning off outside stimuli such as the t.v, cell phone, or laptop.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Product Review: The Silly Sorter




The Silly Sorter is a great product for kids. It is a great organizational tool to help your kids keep track of their silly bands and is also a great accessory. In addition, this product is great quality and is made of durable fabric. The product is $20.00 (which is well worth it!) and comes in over 50 designs including camoflauge, sports themes, and even one with glitter. My friends who are both 8 years old loved this product, however, i think any children who love silly bands would love the product as well. Order your Silly Sorter at http://www.2momcrew.com/







Thursday, September 23, 2010

How a Diary Can be Your Child's Best Friend


Writing in a diary (or journal) is a great way for children to learn about themselves and improve their writing skills at the same time. Offer your child a few quiet moments in the morning or evening when they can be alone and collect their thoughts. Writing in a diary is a great way for them to sort through their problems, express their creativity, and build self esteem.




Childhood is such a fun and amazing time for a person. It is a time when a child can learn about who they are, what they enjoy, and what qualities they possess. Giving your child a tool to help them learn about who they are is invaluable and can pave the way to a lifetime of good self esteem. Here are some ideas to get you started.




1. Let them pick out their own journal. Shopping for a special jounal can be a fun activity for you and your child to do together and can engage your child in the process. If your child is more of an online kind of kid, here's a great website http://www.kidjournalz.com/ for them to journal their thoughts online.




2. Create a special space. This can be really fun for kids! Offer your child ideas of where they can create their special space to write in their journal (in their bed, behind a sofa, or even in a closet!). Let them be in control of where they want to be inspired!




2. Do not read your child's diary. Having a safe place to write their thoughts is a great thing that you don't want to sabotage. Respect your child's space and they will be more likely to open up to you when they have a serious problem that they need help with.




I know it's hard to remember childhood (since it was so long ago) but childhood can be a stressful time for children. Teaching them coping skills will help them express their frustrations and work through them without solely depending on others. Obviously, this exercise is not intended to replace talking to you or others about their problems but instead helps them sort out their issues and learn to articulate their thoughts.




Do you need some help to get your child started? Here are some great ideas to initiate the start of a journal.






Wednesday, September 22, 2010

These are the moments to cherish!


How Therapy Has Made Me a Better Mom



Let's face it...life can be difficult! When challenges arise, I find it helpful to stay positive and keep moving ahead. But I often find myself in the same kind of predicament over and over again. I find myself wondering, "Why do I keep getting myself in the same situation?" This is when I have found therapy extremely helpful.

While its good to 'be in the moment', it's also necessary to look back at your past and take care of unresolved business. It is helpful to hink about why you started making the bahavior patterns that have formed in your life.
There is such a negative stigma attached to therapy. For some reason, people see it as "living in the past" or dwelling on things that have already happened." I have found the opposite to be true. I often find myself dwelling on frustrations that are out of my control. Therapy allows me a safe and comfortable place to let out these frustrations and see them in a new light. I always leave the office with a fresh outlook and a new perspective.

These sessions can be very refreshing, however, sometimes I have had to take a hard look at my past (including my childhood). I found it very hard to look at some of these issues from my past, but it's definetly allowed me to grow and be a better person as a result. Because of these "breakthroughs" in therapy, I have had some difficult conversations with people close to me expressing my feelings about the past. It was very difficult to have these conversations but it has allowed me to let go of some of these feelings that I didn't even realize I was holding onto. I have now formed stronoger relationships with these people. I have put a lot of sweat and tears into these sessions but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

So, how has it made me a better mom? Well, I vent most of my frustrations out in a safe place each week which allows me to let go and be more fun and more present for my daughter and husband. Also, I have learned to set healthy boundaries in therapy which results in a happy, more productive environment for my daughter.
To me, therapy is something that I will need occassionally throughout my life when life presents it's challenges. I will probably spend just as much time and money on therapy as I do at the doctor's office because I want to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit. For me, if I don't utilize the tools I need to handle life's challenges, then I am not living life to the fullest!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Great Activities Without Spending a Dime!

Want to have some fun with your kids without spending a dime? Look around you and use what you have in your own living room! We sometimes think that kids need expensive toys and fancy items but the truth is, they love the simple things!

I used to work with children with autism and provided many sensory exercises. While working with the children with special needs, I found thier brothers, sisters, and classmates wanting to do the activities as well. I began doing these activities with other kids and found they liked it just as much!

Children love pressure and squeezing. They find it hysterical if you tell them you're going to sit on them and flatten them into a pancake (I like to pretend to put syrup on top and then eat them)

Next, children love the sandwich game. Take some pillows from your couch or sofa and put your child into a 'sandwich'. Ask your child what they want on their sandwich, "Would you like me to add cheese or tomatoes? " Put the cushions or pillows on top of your child and push down with a little pressure. Your child will love it!

Finally, exercise balls are great for bouncing and rolling. Use your imagination for different ideas such as having the child sit on the ball and bounce them lightly or put them on top of the ball (on their belly) and roll forward and back. Another option? Roll or bounce the ball across the room to each other.

Don't have anything to play with in your living room? Challenge older children to a push up contest or get the little ones to start marching! Children love to march and will enjoy following you around and stomping their feet!

Children have so much energy and also have many sensory needs. They often act out as a result of either being tired, bored, or needing some sensory input. Try some of these activities and you will definetly have some quality time and create a positive experience with your kids. The best part? All you need is your imagination and some willingness to try new things! Enjoy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Is Your Family Grounded?

Staying grounded can be such a tricky thing. For us and for our children. It's so easy to get wrapped up in all the materialistic things, events, and even drama.
To me, staying grounded means living up to the priorities that I set for myself and my husband and I have set for our family. Of course, what 'staying grounded' means to me could be an entirely thing than it means for you. Your job is to figure it out so you can have the family life you desire! Here are a few ways to help you find out what it means to you!

1. Have a conversation with your significant other about family priorities. Having a candid conversation about family priorities can really be eye opening. I remember where I was when I had the conversation with my husband about what priorities he felt were most important for raising children. I remember that I was pregnant at the time (perhaps this conversation should have been before that point! LOL!) Before opening this conversation, think about the question first. Try to be open minded and listen carefully.

2. Put your ideas and goals on paper. This really helps me. I may write it down and never look at it again but having things written helps me to prioritize (and really make it real!)

3. Make it happen. Make your actions consistant with your priorities. If you are working towards having a positive and happy family, are your conversations and actions mostly positive? If you are working on being an honest family, are you being honest as a role model? If you want your kids to get along better, are you communicating effectively with your spouse and even with your children?

Good luck and I would love to hear your ideas about this!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Focus of the week: Karen Izzi

The person I chose to focus on this week is Karen Izzi, owner of the Peaceful Healer in Exton, PA. Karen provides a variety of beauty services as well as wellness services to her clients. Karen is actually not a mom, but I chose to spotlight her because of all the wonderful services she provides to moms of all ages.

I met with Karen at Barnes and Noble a few months back. Her ideas were enlightening and inspirational. She explained Reiki to me (since I didn't really know very much about it) and how it is a healing touch which balances the shockers in the body (something I'm sure many moms could benefit from). Karen also motivated me to give back to the community. She talked about how she encourages peaceful healing to those going through troubled times (including many troubled teens). She gives teens facials and creates a peaceful and loving environment. In addition, she offers wellness counseling which specialized in behavior, guidance, dietary needs, and lifestyle changes. It was so nice to have met Karen and to hear the positive ways she is giving back to the community. I am now motivated to create more of a consciousness about love and peace myself and with my family.

If you are interested in hostessing a massage party or visiting Karen for one of her services, call Karen for more information 484-889-8668 or email peacefulhealers@msn.com.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

3 Greatest Tricks to Getting Your Child to Love Reading




Many parents struggle with getting their children to read, but it doesn't have to be a battle! First all, it should not be a battle and if you start to go down that road (an argument), make a u turn and try a different approach! Here are a few ideas to get you going!


1. Create a special 'Reading Time'. This is something fun you can do together! Read on your own while your child is also reading. First, ask your child to set a timer for a certain length of time (maybe 10 minutes). Next, have them find a "special reading spot" (under a table, behind a sofa, or anywhere they like!) Turn off any t.vs, radios, or phones that may distract. Finally, RELAX and enjoy your quiet time (although it may be brief!)


2. Read to your child. Keep books handy (in the library and in the car). Ask your child (with enthusiasm!) if they want to read "Hey Mary, would you like to read this book or that one? I bet this one is good!". Also, many parents create special times when they read such as before bedtimes. This creates a great reading habit for your child.


3. Go to the library. Children love to make their own choices. Offer them some ideas and help them find some books they enjoy. Although the library can be a little overwhelming, with some guidance it can be a great place for kids to find a love for books!






Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Secret to Beauty...Generosity!


So you want to look and feel beautiful? The most beautiful celebrities aren't the ones with the most expensive designer clothes, fancy car, or perfect body. The most beautiful celebs are ones that are graceful and show generosity. Showing grace is demonstrated by giving back to those less fortunate. Take Angelina Jolie and Demi Moore for example. Their beauty is shown through their generosity and kindness.


When I am giving back to others (usually through my church) there is nothing better than the feeling I get when I do something for someone in need with no expectation in return. If you are interested, here are a few really cool websites:






If you have a daughter who like Hananh Montana, check out this website..



The key to gettting your kids involved is to make it fun and let them see you enjoying giving back to others. When sitting home on a Saturday afternoon watching t.v, why not volunteer your time and give back to others? Enjoy!






Saturday, August 28, 2010

Giving up Gossip

I signed up for the free Inner Mean Girl 40 day cleanse www.meangirlcleanse.com. This week I have been doing the gossip cleanse, meaning that I am staying away from gossip and instead practicing more positive talk. I actually don't think I gossip that much so it hasn't been too hard for me but it has made me think about what I say and do.
One thing I have thought about this week is how my gossiping (or lack there of) can affect my relationships with others. When I think about the people around me that gossip a lot, I tend to wonder what they are saying about me to others when I'm not around.

Also, I never thought of this before but Facebook is a breeding ground for gossip. Since part of my promise is to not participate in gossip, this week I starting hiding some of my friends that tend to gossip on Facebook. I read what's on my Facebook page every day and if I have gossipers writing every day then I am [in a way] participating in it.

Sooooo...what about my daughter? If I am gossiping, how will it affect my child? Well, if she hears me doing it, she will most likely begin gossiping in school or on the playground. Is that something I want? I would much rather my energy and her energy spent toward something positive and away from something that wouldn't potentially harm someone else. Will she start hanging out with others that gossip and maybe the kids who pick on other kids? Will her friends not trust her and think she talks about everyone? Hmmmm.

Do I occasional gossip? Yes, but this experience is really teaching me that gossip is no good and staying positive when I'm chatting with others leaves me with a much better feeling at the end of the day!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Handling Confrontation

Setting boundaries is a very difficult thing for me to do. I'm not sure why? I guess it's because I don't always trust my own judgement therefore I feel more comfortable having someone else take control of certain situations. When something happens to me, I find it difficult to find the courage to face the issue head on. Also, I struggle with follow up from my threats or promises (this is what always gets me into trouble!). Unfortunately, setting a boundary is not just a one time discussion. It requires a lot of work (I'm tired just thinking about it) and follow through. But here' the thing; I know that if I don't set boundaries, I will get depressed (which is a road I am trying very hard not to go down).

If I have a significant issue with someone I care about, I really try to resolve the matter as soon as possible. First of all, I try to think extensively about the best way to handle the problem (This may take a few days!), if not I will most likely say something out of anger and then regret it. Then, I confront the issue in a calm but assertive manner (of course this is the hardest part). Finally, I have to follow up with any promises I've made regarding the issue (no, I changed my mind, this is the hardest part!) PHEW! My favorite thing to say (in the past) is "one more time and I'm out of here." But I've learned that making these kinds of threats makes my follow through very difficult which enevitebly loses my credibility!

The thing is, I take pride how I take responsibility for my actions. I think I have a pretty good life and I know I have worked damn hard for it! But why is life so hard sometimes? Why does facing these confrontations head on seem so tough? I guess it's just a part of life and how we learn and grow but darn it...I'm exhausted!

So, what does all of this have to do with motherhood? Well, any research on society will show you that a child learns how to deal with their problems mostly from his parents. So, if I choose to confront my problems (with my husband, my daughter's teacher, or even directly with my daughter) in a calm but assertive manner, she will most likely handle her problems in a similar fashion.

Having a child that can eventually stand up for herself and be resilient is something I would really like to teach my child but darn it...I have a lot of work to do!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

10 Things I Love About Having a Child


1. Having a "little me"

2. Learning the art of patience

3. Seeing that beautiful smile every morning

4. Seeing the world through a child's eyes

5. Being able to be myself and know she will love me unconditionally

6. Getting kisses whenever I want them

7. Challenging myself more than I ever thought was possible

8. Finding a new love and appreciation for my parents

9. Bringing my Dad back into my life (after having Sienna I decided to reunite with my father after 15 years!)

10. Keeping me grounded and appreciating the little things in life







Monday, August 23, 2010

Letters to my Daughter

When Sienna was a newborn, I had 5 baby journals and was trying to keep track of every detail of her little life. I was going a little crazy. Then, I thought about what was most important to me (and Sienna). Now I keep it simple. I keep a simple health journal (logging any rashes, ailments, etc.) and also a journal that containers special thoughts and ideas.

The journal that contains thoughts and ideas is almost like a series of letter to Sienna. I write things about her developmental milestones but also about life lessons (honesty, respect, and love). I am hoping that by the time she has a daughter, she will really enjoy and appreciate these thoughts and ideas I have written. Also, in the event that I pass away, she will have a special keepsake to feel like I am still with her even if I'm not. I am not sure exactly when she will get this journal (hopefully not for a long time!) but I am pretty sure it will be very special!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

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!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

"A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary. "-Dorothy C. Fisher

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Celebrating Summertime with a Cake!

How to Turn any Day into a Celebration!

Try this simple and tasty salad...

This is my favorite salad and it's so simple and easy! The best part? All the ingredients last longer than most salads so you don't have to throw away bags of old lettuce and moldy cheese!

SIMPLY PUT THESE ITEMS TOGETHER....

Spinach

Cran Raisins

Feta or Gorgonzola cheese

Optional: almond slices, eggs, onions, mandarin orange slices



You can use any dressing you like but my favorite is the Asian Sesame Dressing!

Friday, August 13, 2010

3 Easy Ways to Get Your Family Focused!


My martial arts training has given me many tools to make my life easier and happier. Learning to focus effectively has helped my relationships, my work life, and even my health. Here are a few easy ways that you you can provide your children with an environment that is less distracting and more productive.

1. Provide a simple environment. When children are really young, their playtime is their learning time. If we allowBold them to completely focus on the activity they are doing, they will be more creative and learn more from what they are doing.
Have your children take out a certain number of toys at a time so they are less overwhelmed. (Of course, this also helps make clean up easier!) Be realistic and take into consideration their age and abilities. Use your awesome motherly intuition to figure out how many toys are too many. Watch your child intently to see if they seem overwhelmed and adjust accordingly.

Wondering how to get your teen to focus? Limit thier temptation to socialize with friends by keeping the phone in a certain place where you can see it such as the kitchen counter. However, don't forget to let them have it when they need their socialization time!!

2. Turn off the t.v. Creating an overstimulating environment will make it harder for children to focus in quiet areas (like the classroom). Make it easier for them to focus on whatever it is they are doing such as family dinner, homework, playtime, or reading by turning off the t.v.

3. Avoid giving your children too much caffeine and/or sugar. Giving a child a lot of sugar or caffiene and then expecting them to focus and be in control is not really a fair expectaiton to ask of your children. Giving them healthy snacks instead will make it easier for them to focus and sit still.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

DRINKMARX Customizable Markers

A great way to keep life simple!

The kids and I had a pajama party today and used these Markers for a fun craft. The kids had so much fun making the "bracelets" (as they called them) and putting these fun accessories on their cups to identify which drink is theirs. The DRINKMARX markers come with a whole sheet of really cool stickers so the kids can personalize their own marker. The markers are durable and dishwasher safe and fit a variety of cups (even sippy cups!). They are $12.95 for a pack of 4.
Here are the kids making their markers....

For more details or to order your own beverage markers, visit their website at http://www.drinkmarx.com/.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Life Lessons From my Girlfriend Weekend

SO, I just got home from girls weekend with my favorite girls! I had such a great time! Sunshine, laughs, wine, good food, and silliness! It was so great to have uninterrupted adult conversations without having to chase after my one year old. I loved taking a walk by myself on the beach while smelling the ocean and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Also, walking to the beach is considerably easier with out a million bags, strollers that don't move in the sand, and a thousand toys!
Although the weekend was so fun, I did have one issue. We went out to our old hangout and consumed some adult beverages. After a while, we decided to head to the dance floor...that is where I had an embarrassing meltdown!! I was dancing with my friends to the songs when it occurred to me that I didn't recognize the last 4 songs played. I quickly began sobbing like a lunatic and ran to the bathroom (like a teenager who's boyfriend just broke up with her!) Fortunately, I am lucky enough to have a friend that chased after me, listened to me, then sternly told me "Snap out of it, it's time to get back to the dance floor!"
Well, here's the deal...I was crying because I felt like I had lost 'Toni' and I felt like I only knew my identity as 'mom' lately. I felt like I had no idea what was going on in the world (outside of the daily routine of changing diapers, chasing my daughter, and watching Yo Gabba Gabba!). How could I let this happen? I am usually so good about recognizing when I need me time and making time for myself. Also, my husband is always willing to take over if I need a break. What the heck?!
Well, the truth is, the week before had been a rough one! My daughter had the stomach flu and she was still not 100% when I left for my trip. I was stressed out and had not slept very much the whole week (and adding alcohol to the mix probably did not help the situation!) I'm sure that these factors made it hard to transition from pediatrician's office to the dance club. (However, the transition did finally happen the next day and I was able to relax and unwind quite a bit!)
Here are the lessons I learned from this experience....
1. Be proactive in scheduling 'me' time before getting overwhelmed (even if it's just a walk around the neighborhood!)
2. It's difficult to transition from mom to me in just a few hours! I also, have this problem sometimes when I am on a date night with my hubby and start talking about kids instead of just being a wife and a friend to the hubby.
3. Lady Gaga and Katy Perry (not sure if I spelled that correctly!) have hit songs that I should at least know some of the words to....and if not I can just pretend by saying the words "mashed potato, mashed potato" (this was one of my friends ideas! She says she does this in church when she doesn't know the words and it works!)
4. Great friends are a great treasure not to be taken for granted! Although these events don't happen often, I need to make time for those special moments which reenergize me and make me feel like me again!

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Kid's Guide to Keppin' Life Simple

Starring the amazing and talented Mikayla Rakoff

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Simplify Your Life Series: The Mommy Checklist

Welcome to our Simple Sunday feature!

Hope you're enjoying this Sunday with your family! Today is the start of National Simplify Your Life week (yes, it's a real thing, I didn't make this one up!) Check out my ideas throughout the week to simplify your life with your family. Today's vlog features the mommy checklist which helps me keep my life simple on a daily basis. As a person who has ADD, this checklist helps me stay stay focused and be productive! Hope you like it!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Focus Fridays! Having Fun with Veggies!

Check out this great game- Having fun with veggies!

Make healthy eating fun and your kids will love it! Have a SALAD PARTY with your little ones and have them make their own salad. Use small bowls for the toppings and create your own salad bar. Use your creativity and have them make signs to hang on the wall saying "salad party" (or whatever they want it to say!) Make it fun and your kids will catch the enthusiasm. PS. I don't think "I don't like any veggies" is an excuse! Everyone can find a veggie that they like! Try not to argue about it (it's not a discussion)

Also, ask your children to talk about their favorite veggie and how it's grown!