Posted 09-27-2010 at 05:55 PM by Mom2Finn
Since I am knee deep in the world of cloth diapering, I am always looking for products that make the whole process easier, more fun and better smelling.
Here are three I cannot live without:
1. CJ’s BUTTer
Image courtesy of CJ's Sewing Room
It’s hard to find a good diaper rash cream you can use with cloth diapers. I absolutely love CJ’s BUTTer made by the WAHM who runs CJ’s Sewing Room. I bought the sampler pack which comes with a ton of yummy scents and lasts a long time. Finn is not super diaper rash prone, but it clears up anything he gets immediately. The only problem is when you forget you put it on and can’t remember why your baby’s diaper smells like blueberry pie.
Summer is coming to an end which means it is time to find new activities for family fun. With Christmas coming faster then I want to think about I am trying to save my pennies so our fun budget is very tight. Luckily there are still many fabulous fall activities that are budget friendly as well.
1. Watch for local churches to sponsor family days. Every year we have at least two churches in our town that have family day in the fall. They rent inflatable rides, have cake walks, crafts, music, food and best of all it is free with a small donation. The church we attend does it every year as a way to give back to the community and give families a way to spend time together in safe environment.
2. Check our your local pumpkin patch. We have several in our area. It is free to get in and they have a corn maze and a couple other activities. They have food available to buy, a small gift shop and every year we let the kids pick out a pumpkin to buy and we take it home and decorate it. The pumpkin usually costs us around $5 and it is a lot of fun to decorate it as a family.
I can still remember my first piano lesson. It was in a little studio at a music store and I learned a song by ear called “Mississippi Hot Dog.” I also learned how to sit correctly, and used a tennis ball to practice holding my hand in the nice round shape I was supposed to. Over twenty years later, I am now using these same songs and techniques to teach my youngest students who are eager to begin mastering the art of piano playing.
One of the first questions a parent asks me when considering having their child take music lessons is at what age he or she should begin. Having taught a variety of instruments for just under ten years now, I have seen how the learning and enjoyment curves change over time for a student and are influenced by the age at which one begins to take lessons. From four-year-olds to adults, people with and without disabilities, I have taught people from many different backgrounds, cultures, and family designs over my years as a private teacher.
In short, the best time to start learning piano is right after your child starts to read.
Posted 09-21-2010 at 03:03 PM by Mom2Finn
Here’s what I hear. All the time.
“How old is he?”
“And you’re still nursing?!”
Yes, I’m that woman nursing a toddler. And being told “You know, if he’s old enough to ask for it, he’s too old to nurse.” First of all, says who? And secondly, who does my nursing affect except him and me?
Finn is 21 months and we’re still going strong. He has been a nursing champ from day one. He would just nurse and nurse and nurse. The doctors who saw him as he grew (and grew, he was quite the little piggy) couldn’t believe what a big baby he was on only breast milk.
It was (and sometimes still is) exhausting to meet his nursing needs. And to feel like I could never be away from him because he didn’t want a bottle, he only wanted me. It is still like that now, to some extent. I can be away for the occasional long period during the day, although he won’t nap without nursing first.
Posted 09-20-2010 at 01:01 PM by admin
I’m not a big yogurt eater and I wouldn’t say that I’m irregular either. But, this challenge got me thinking that maybe it would help me anyway. I saw the commercials and figured that I had nothing to lose. S0, I loaded up on a large pack of Dannon Activia Yogurt and took it home. I couldn’t decide on what specific flavor to get so I opted for the variety pack which had Vanilla, Strawberry Banana, and Peach. Every morning for about 2 weeks I ate the yogurt for breakfast. I have to admit that the taste is what got me. It’s just good. Again, I’m not a big yogurt eater and I haven’t tried other brands so I’m limited as to comparison tastes.
About three days into it, I was ready to used to my routine. It’s such a simple breakfast and being that I tend to be on the go, it was easy to grab the yogurt and a spoon and be on my way. I know, eating eggs and whole grain toast would probably be better but I just don’t have the time every morning for that. These little yogurt containers are simple to carry around.
I can’t say that my system has been rearranged or that I am now the epitome of healthy living. The yogurt helped in many ways and the biggest one for me was noticing the importance of breakfast. I tend to skip that meal (I know many others who do too) and eating this yogurt every morning helped me to want to eat breakfast. That in itself was worth it. So, I was not suffering from irregularity to begin with but I still feel better. It’s weird but I look forward to eating yogurt more now. I think I’m going to start trying different brands to see which, if any, I enjoy more.
Posted 09-13-2010 at 05:22 PM by Mom2Finn
I have struggled off and on since college to make close female friends. My boyfriend/then fiancé/now husband and I moved around quite a bit and it was hard for us to meet people once we weren’t in school.
We were in Georgia for around four years before we had Finn. I had met some people through my work as a teacher, but still hadn’t found new friends to really click with. I missed the kind of friends I had had in high school and college, but I was busy working and I had my husband to spend time with on the weekend.
Then I had Finn. And after I emerged three or so months after his birth from my nursing/pajamas/couch daze I realized I needed to make some friends. My husband travels most weeks for his job and my high school and college friends don’t have kids for the most part so I knew I needed to meet some other moms quickly.
Easier said than done, I discovered. I then spent months looking for friends. I was a dog with a bone. I joined groups on Meetup.com. I joined national mom’s groups. I went on messages boards. I joined local groups. I went to group after group, meeting after meeting, all with a refluxy baby who I cried everywhere we went.
And it was hard. Now in a friend I needed not just someone I clicked with but someone who’s parenting philosophies were at least a little in line with mine. There was a group of local moms I went to who told me I need to go in the other room to nurse…I felt so uncomfortable after meeting them that I cried in the car on the way home. The mom who told me that she waited to answer her two week old baby’s cries because she didn’t want to be manipulated by him? Not someone who was going to be my new BFF.
Finally, I met some women I liked in a group that seemed nice. After one meeting the group’s organizer stepped down. I was so close! I could not let these women escape! So I did the only logical thing (at least to my sleep deprived and desperate mind) and stepped up to be the new leader.
That was about a year and a half ago. I consider myself a shy person, but I now run a mom’s group of about 40 women. A lot of them are friendly acquaintances, but some of them have become my best friends, who know me and my son inside out.
I can’t imagine being a mom without these women. They give structure to my day and provided well needed adult conversation in a sea of Elmo and toddler shrieks. We have fun together, and I have people who are experiencing the same things I am when I need advice or a shoulder to cry on. Finding friends as a parent is almost more difficult than when I was single. Do our kids get along? Are our schedules compatible? I have found that it was worth all the missteps to have finally found my tribe.
When my son hit about three years old he started becoming really picky. He is already small for his age so I gave into him and this made the situation way worse. By the time he hit three and a half, dinner time was a battle and I was on the loosing end. I could not take it any more so that is when I started making some very simple changes that made our whole family a lot easier.
1. I stopped asking him what he wanted to eat at snack time. While I want him to feel like he does have some choices I did not want to leave it open that much because he would always ask for something sugary. Now I give him two choices. While he was not very happy about this at first it did not take long for him to adjust. This small steps did wonders in changing his behavior. I was truly shocked by the change it made.
2. Do not let your kids fill up on juice or milk. I was letting my son have as much milk as he asked for. This was drastically affecting his appetite and come time for dinner he would not eat. Now I let him have a glass of milk with his breakfast, juice with his snack, and then milk with lunch and dinner. If he tells me he is thirsty in-between I get him a glass of water. When I first started doing this he was not a happy child, he did not want a glass of water and would throw a fit. I simply got the water, put it on the table for him and told him when he got thirsty enough he would drink it, he was not getting anything else. It only took a couple days and the fits stopped and he was eating better.
3. Do not make something different. I did this more then once, I was concerned about him eating because he is already rather small for his age. In doing this I was making the situation way worse. It got to the point that he would refuse to eat anything I made unless it was the meal he has predetermined he wanted. I would make something and he would tell me, “ I do not want that, make me something else” That attitude is what made me say no more. I make one meal, if he refuses to eat then he does not get anything else. The first time I did this he sat at the table for about twenty minutes, refusing to eat what I made. I told him he did not have to eat it but if he did not eat then he got nothing else the rest of the night. After everyone else was done and I still would not make him something else, he ate what I had made to begin with.
4. If there is a food that you do not like, avoid voicing your dislike in front of your child. My husband dislikes a lot of food and I noticed that anything Alexzander heard daddy did not like, he suddenly did not like either. To stop it I put the food on both their plates and my husband took at least a bit to show Alexzander he needed to at least try it.
5. Stop the distractions. Make your child sit at a table, away from toys and television. We have a small table set in the living room for the kids and for lunches I was letting them sit in the living room and watch a cartoon while they ate but they would not eat well. They wanted to get up and play or they were to distracted by the television. Now we all go out to the kitchen and eat. Not only does this give us a nice and calm eating time but it also made them eat a lot more.
Posted 09-9-2010 at 02:13 PM by Ellen
I finally decided to go and try one of those new Activia yogurts from Dannon. I had heard about them from other friends and I picked up an assortment of them from the store. This morning I tried Strawberry Banana and let me tell you, it was not bad.
The taste was very bright and colorful. There was a good arsenal of meaningful fruit pieces included in the yogurt. I found myself really enjoying the texture. The yogurt was not clumpy or runny but was rather soft and consistent. It was very enjoyable and actually solidified to me the idea that this could be a good midday snack.
Apparently they are running a campaign now which is a 14 day challenge where you eat the yogurt for 2 weeks straight – complete with your own balanced meals – and it is supposed to help regulate you. I figure I’m going to try this challenge and see what happens. The yogurt tastes really good and it’s not cumbersome to take with you to work. Put it in your lunch sack and leave it in the refridgerator until mealtime. It’s not a bad way to get some good bacteria in your system.
Anyway, stay posted for more details on the challenge. So far, so good.
Many daycares are now cloth diaper friendly and eager to help families in any way they can. Though laws differ from state to state, typically any daycare can accept cloth diapers as long as parents are laundering them and remove dirty diapers each day.
Using cloth exclusively – including while at daycare if you’re a working parent – means you’ll still enjoy the financial and environmental benefits of cloth diapers. Here are some tips on helping your babycare providers (and you!) transition to using cloth at daycare:
- Try to have about 30 diapers in your stash to avoid washing everyday. Washing every other day will allow your covers time to air dry and will give you and your washing machine some quality time apart.
- Having several wetbags will help. Right now we have three in our rotation and that seems to be the bare minimum. Each day we send a new wetbag to daycare and wash the bags when we wash the diapers. In the mornings, we pack a small diaper bag with clean diapers and stick the wetbag on top for them to just toss everything into at each changing.
- Find daycare friendly diapers. I prefer prefolds at home, but we send pre-stuff pocket diapers to daycare. This way they are doing no more work than they would with a disposible diaper. We’ve noticed our son needs to be changed more often with the prefolds, too, so it’s easier to do at home when he’s with us.
- Send plenty of diapers. At three months old, we’re sending about 8 diapers a day. We haven’t gone through this many (at our request, they change him every 1.5 hours instead of the state-mandated every hour) yet, but this leaves one diaper an hour just in case there’s a poo emergency or giantic pee tsunami.
- Make sure providers have any special instructions in writing. A lot of people don’t know to not use standard diaper creams in cloth diapers, or don’t know how an extra long insert should be stuffed into a pocket. Any special things in your routine should be in writing in case questions come up while your little one is at daycare.
- Don’t forget wipes! Some centers provide wipes, while others request that you bring your own. At home, we make our own solution and use homemade wipes; if someone else watches our son, we send the spray bottle along and let them know they function the same way as conventional wipes…only better and more enviornmentally friendly!
Depending on the situation, you may also consider labeling your diapers if there are other babies in cloth at the center. Having a washing routine for days you do need to wash helps, too – we tend to throw everything in the wash as soon as we get home so that it’s in the dryer by the time we are having dinner. A lot more places are willing to do cloth than I would have ever imagined, and with a little organization, using cloth can easily continue at a daycare center.
Posted 09-7-2010 at 03:29 PM by Ellen
Family time is one of the most important times in our lives. As children grow, the bonds that are formed as well as the lessons that are learned come in great part from the time spent with family. Here are some ideas on how to spend quality time with each other.
(1) Grocery Shopping – Everyone in charge of something.
One of the most important times in a family is mealtime. Whether your kids are toddlers or teenagers, mealtimes are often an exciting part of the day. Can you hear the kids asking for something to eat? No family escapes this time and as such it can be used to create a time of bonding amongst the members. If you are an adventurous type of person or if you feel particularly dangerous then this idea may be just for you!
Planning a meal is a good way to come together as a family. The twist however is in allowing the children to choose the ingredients for a meal. You can give them a limit on items, cost, food genre, or all of the above. Say for example that you have 5 or 6 year olds, they can be taught what kind of ingredients go into a certain meal. You can guide them in their decision but they need to opportunity to select their food item.
Go to the grocery store and let them select the item they will contribute to the meal. Have fun with it! If the meal will be spaghetti, then suggest crazy items and watch their reactions. Once the items are selected and paid for, go home and create the meal together!
(2) Adding Flowers to Your Garden – Everyone’s creativity is included.
While the season to plant flowers may be coming to an end, there are still some good sales at stores like Home Depot or Lowes. Local nurseries are also a good place (and better in my opinion) to find good flowers. Allowing each family member to select one flowering plant is a great way to add some ownership to the yard and maybe even some much needed décor.
Kids will love choosing their own plant and you will be able to tell a lot from what they choose. Are they moving towards a more extravagant type of flower or a subdued color flower in smaller clusters? Have fun with the selections and then go home and plant them together. Allow them to be able to help out as much as they are able and you might even decide to name your plants. When children see their plant in the yard it will help to make them compassionate and careful about what happens to it.
(3) Making Your own Movie – Everyone is a star.
With modern technology, the ease of video-recording has become a reality. Even cell phones have video cameras now so making videos has become a thing that everyone can do. How about making short films with your family? You may decide to recreate a fairy tale with dad as the Big Bad Wolf or Mom as the Fairy Godmother. For those who want more of a challenge, how about recreating a scene from a movie that the family likes?
Allow the kids to dress in costume or make puppets and then record the action! They will be so excited to see their “work” on screen and the whole family will own priceless memories. This is such an inexpensive thing to do and it will involve everyone. For the bold at heart, you might even decide to post your videos online to share with family and friends. Maybe they can get into the action as well and create response videos. Use your imagination and allow your kids to use theirs too. You never know if you have a future thespian in your midst.
(4) Writing a Story –What if?
What if Little Red Riding Hood took place on the beach? What if the Three Little Pigs were all architects? What if the Tortoise used a go-kart against the Hare? Imagine the possibilities of the scenarios listed above. Can your family finish the story? A fun project to make as a family is to create your own picture book. It does not need to be fancy. A bound notebook or a few pieces of paper stapled together would work equally well. Have mom or dad write the story and leave a blank space for images. Then have the family each take a page and draw or color the action! Once completed, the book could be showcased on a bookcase or the living room table for all to see.
Allowing family members to contribute their ideas towards a common goal is what we are after. Praise each family member for their work and creativity and then, make another book!
(5) Recording Your Own CD – Making organized noise.
You children may not be able to play a musical instrument but you might. Maybe no one in the family is musical. That’s ok, we can all sing and singing songs that kids know is fun. Have you tried recording your family singing together or making music? Even if it doesn’t sound good, kids love hearing themselves. Come up with 3 or 4 songs as a family and practice. Then, when everyone is ready you can start recording. Enjoy the final product as a family and laugh together. These recordings can become a special memory for your kids. Who knows, maybe you can play these again when your child is getting married!
“The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions orpositions of Sprint”
“Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Sprint via Glam Media”
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