Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Aftermath

My kids are quite wound up with all the Christmas celebrations and no school for another week. Just a few things we have done to keep them doing productive things:

Make some play dates with school and neighbor friends
Have some cousin play dates
For your boys or girls that are involved with scouts and activity days, Do one activity a day that will help them pass off a requirement.
Have them help you with some household cleaning or projects.
Have a game party (each person picks a favorite game and write their name with their game on a piece of paper. Take turns by pulling out the name out. We had games like hide and go seek, tag, memory, Wii Mario Cart.
Do a puzzle activity and involve the whole family who can participate
The kids got bubble bath for Christmas, on a cold day a nice hot bath is a fun idea.

What kind of things have you done to keep the kids busy over Christmas Break? Share some of your fun activities!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Small and Simple Things

Anyone read Marjorie Pay Hinckley's book Small and Simple Things? I picked it up at the library and it made great bathroom reading material. I found some wonderful gems of wisdom on parenting that I thought I would share here.
"When our children were all at home and making bread was part of the routine, a friend found an antique bread mixer for me. It was a simple bucket with a hook attached to a handle. A clamp secured it to the table and it was operated by the children, who took turns "spelling each other off" as we did away with old method of kneading. It is one of the objects that remains a family treasure because of the part it played in our communal venture of bread making. Even still, the smell of bread baking somehow slows down the world and feeds my soul in a small and simple way."
--I love that she reminds us how simple traditions we do in our home now if we allow our children to get involved will provide treasured memories for a lifetime.
"The trick is to enjoy life. Don't wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead."
"It is good to kneel as a family and to hear daily expressions of gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the blessings we enjoy. The Lord intended his children to enjoy the good things of life. With all that we have, we must also have grateful hearts. We must teach our children not to take all that they have for granted. Thank you is a wonderful phrase. Use it. It will add stature to your soul. Never let a day go by without saying thank you to someone for something--and especially to your Heavenly Father.
"I know it is hard for you young mothers to believe that almost before you can turn around the children will be gone and you will be alone with your husband. You had better be sure you are developing the kind of love and friendship that will be delightful and enduring. Let the children learn from your attitude that he is important. Encourage him. Be kind. It is a rough world, and he, like everyone else, is fighting to survive. Be cheerful. Don't be a whiner."
--I sure love this because I know I could be so much better at this.
"Children rise higher when they are treated with respect. Use courteous and respectful language when you talk with your children and other. Bruno Bettelheim, a world-famous psychologist, said, "You can't teach children to be good. The best you can do for your child is to live a good life yourself. What a parent knows and believes, the child will lean on." You don't teach a child not to yell by yelling. We cannot expect to be respected if we treat others in demeaning ways."

I didn't even write half of the great quotes here but some of my favorite. If you need a pick me up and inspiring read this is a great one.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Count Down til Christmas-homemade project

I love advent calendars and so do my kids. I made an advent calendar that is very simple that you can do at home with your kids very easily. You can find the complete file on excel and pdf on sugardoodle.net. Click on the above link to go directly there. It's a chain advent calendar. Simply cut the strips and tape or staple them together in a chain. The fun thing about this calendar is each day their is a task for your children to do to help keep the spirit of christmas in your home. Most of the tasks are services that they can do by themself. It starts December 1st, Enjoy.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Help me Hannah!

I have a good friend who bought me this book she loves. It is called Hannah Keeley's Total Mom Makeover: The Six-week Plan to completely transform your Home, Health, Family, and Life. (quite the title) Well after staring at the book for a few weeks I finally broke into it last night. It is very well organized with daily tasks 5 out of the 7 days a week for six weeks.
The first day talks about what challenges mothers have today. These are different then the challenges our grandmothers and our mothers had when they were young mothers. We have so many options and choices about what to do, how to do that it is hard to decide. For instance, are we going to work full time, part time, at home, or not at all. Do we keep our kids home for school, send them to charter, private, or public school. The choices we make determines whether we sink or swim. So the first step to becoming a Total Mom according to Hannah is to forget about what you should be doing. There is so many things we should or could be doing that by trying to do all of these things will wear and tear us down. Quite feeling guilty. These feelings will leave us feeling powerless and hopeless.
Hannah challenges us to make a decision to change. Whatever in your live needs changing, commit to start today. Decisions have power behind them. Stop wishing for a nicer home or wishing we were 10 pounds lighter. A true decision comes with a launchpad underneath, like I will take steps to become healthier. Start now!
Each day there are journal entries to write so you can keep track of your progress and do some self reflecting.
Week One, Day One:
1. Things that bug me in my home, health, family and life (any burdens you have been carrying around).
I should have a cleaner and more organized office room: The office room is a disaster. I don't even know where to start.
I should be scrap booking for all my children these cute books that they will treasure in years to come
I should have more room to store my food storage so I can organize the food properly
I should eat less sweets and eat more fruits and veggies, but sometimes I just don't want to
I should be more patient with my children's constant nagging and needing of attention especially when I'm on the phone and driving
(these are really hard things, lets see what Hannah can help with!)
2. My firm decision about this six-week journey
I have decided I want to enjoy being mom more. I want to provide a home that my children feel loved and a place they want to bring home their friends.

Now I'm going to check out the Total Mom Makeover club.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Classes for Daddy and Kids

Thought I'd share something we just discovered. My brother in law takes his kids to Home Depot once a month to do a building workshop. We thought that is such a great idea to do something with just Dad and the kids.
Here is some more details I found out. Home Depot does it every 1st Saturday of the month. Lowes does it every other week. Lowes has a sign up online and also tell you what you will be making that week. But these classes could be a family activity as well. The great thing is these are free classes!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Infant Activities

When you have a little one, sometimes it's hard to know what you can help with their development and in bonding with you. Here are some of my favorite games to do with my newborn-two year old babies.
1. Play Pat-a-cake

2. Play Texaco Texaco all the way to Mexico with their legs while they are laying on their back.
Do the Kicks Kicks Kicks, (kick legs one at a time)
Do the Splits, Splits, Splits (open their legs)
Turn a round round round (move their legs in a circular motion)
Get out of town town town (lift both legs up in the air)
I got this from watching my sister-in-law do it to her baby and improvised on the actions.

3. Mirror Play - Talk to her about seeing herself in the mirror (It's fun when they get excited and recognize themselves
4. Peek a Boo
5. Hide a way toys, or books (wrap up a few toys and books in a towel, or bag and place them somewhere your baby will discover it. You can have part of the toy showing to entice them to explore. Great to do this before Christmas and Birthday's so they get a little practice =)
6. Baby Massage --Touch is so important and I have love using massage to help relax my babies before bedtime. Use a little Grape seed oil and massage all their little parts from top to bottom. Just be sure when they get fussy it's time to stop. You want them to enjoy it. There are many books you can get and also a lot of classes. I also found some information on the web. I was lucky to have a trained infant massage instructor teach me with Pumpkin when she was a few months old. We were part of a study that used infant massage everyday. It was really cool.
If you have a favorite activity you like to do with your infants please share.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Thought on Priorities

Whenever I find myself not enjoying what I'm doing, being a mother, I have to look at if I'm too busy. I know when I'm too busy, I start snapping at my kids, I'm impatient, and I'm not seeing the beauty of my children. Almost without fail when I'm like this, I'm trying to do too much. How can we enjoy life if we are trying to do too many things? One of my favorite quotes in my house is, "In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed not just endured." --Gordon B. Hinckley My goal is to do this. But it's a struggle for me especially when I have put to many events and projects to accomplish. Does anyone else struggle with this? What do you do to keep your persective as a mother? What helps and reminds you to enjoy today and not wish it away?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Update on Thumbsucking

Pumpkin has been working on stopping her thumb sucking at night and at naps. I really thought we were making some good progress by using band aids. She would come out and show me that she still had her band aids on and she would get a treat. I was so excited that it was working and so simple. Well, as I went to check on her during nap I found she was sucking her thumb with the band aids on. That stinker was getting treats and getting to suck her thumb! =)
Back to a new plan. We put a pair of socks on her hands and then duck tape them. We rip the duck tape in half vertically and then it's not so big. I've used masking tape too and it was fine. This so far has been working pretty well. She has only taken them off one time. If she keeps them on she gets a little treat.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Free Online Parenting Classes

I just heard about this great resource for parents. Check it out at http://www.utahparenting.org/tips.php If haven't taken any of the classes or really checked out the site throughly but from what I can see if looks like a great site of info!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Treat or Treat Thoughts

There is a big trend to do "Trunk or Treating" and commercial sponsored treat or treating at the mall or area businesses. Most of these started I think to keep the kids safe. That is wonderful, but unfortunately I think these events can exclude others. I think specifically of our older neighbors who don't like to get out in the dark and cold but would love to see the neighbor kids all dress up. How sad would it be if they got no visitors on a day they look forward to. We have really tried to make an effort to visit these folks with the kids.
Halloween can be a unifying time for communities and neighbors. I really started thinking about this when we left to go to the church trunk or treat one year. As we left the neighborhood I saw a family, of a different faith, just start out on their trick or treating. They were sorely disappointed to find at each door, no one home. I hated to see them left out and feel excluded. Since then we decided to stay home from the trunk or treating. You may also want to include these neighbors by inviting them to the "Trunk or Treat" but some of them don't feel comfortable. Those who live miles away from others, trunk or treating is ideal. But for us who live in a neighborhood, it's not necessary. The other idea we have done is to keep one of the adults home to hand out candy while the other adult goes out with the trick or treaters. Everyone is in a totally different situation with where they live so you have to do what you feel is safe and good for your children. These are just my two cents in my situation.

Here is a few safety points to talk over with your kids before the big day comes.
Cross the street at the corner, make eye contact with drivers, looks both ways before you cross
Walk on sidewalks and face the traffic!
Watch out for cars turning or backing up.
Wear glow sticks, reflective tape, and take a flashlight.
Don't eat your treat until has been inspected by an adult.
Do not enter a home or apartment without an adult.
Plan route with your parents and decide when you will be home.
Wear a watch!
Only visit houses where the lights are turned on.
Dress for the weather even if you can't see your costume as well. The best costumes are those that are built in warmth.
What do you do on Halloween? Take the poll on the home page. Thanks and have a great Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thumbsucking and Pacifiers


8 Total Votes
1 year 3 37%
18 months 4 50%
2 years 1 12%
3 years or older 0 0%

This is a touchy subject for me since my husband and I have been working very vigilantly for the last 3-4 months on getting our daughter who is 3 years old to stop sucking her thumb. I can't say we have the answers because we are still working on it but I can tell you what we have done and what hasn't worked.
First, the difference between pacifiers and thumb sucking is such a different thing. We have had one out of three children suck a Binky. The thing I didn't like about Binky is it seems like we were always trying to find Binky's in the middle of the night, or in the middle of church. It could be stressful. But weaning from the Binky was so much easier then weaning from the thumb sucking.
Thumb sucking was so nice when they were babies. All my thumb suckers were great sleepers. Went to sleep on their own at a very early age. But when they get older, it is very hard to break the habit. The thing we have learned so far is it's so much easier to break the habit when they are younger. We started working with our first thumb sucker when he turned two years old. We just put socks on his hands and would check on him during naps and at night to see if the socks were still on. When he learned to take the socks off we used the Carter one piece PJ's with socks underneath and ducked taped his socked hands. It took a couple weeks and he completely stopped. Yes it was hard for us to explain to a two year old who didn't really understand but it worked without too much drama. We didn't start working with our daughter until she was three.
We started with THUM polish you paint on their finger nails. Totally didn't work. Then we tried Thumb Guard. Our niece used this and learned to stop sucking her thumb. These are a soft plastic guard that are attached by disposable bracelets that lock on to prevent thumb sucking. Sometimes if we didn't put the guard on tight enough she could get her thumb out and still suck on it. The first month we tried it we didn't take off the guards everyday. Her thumbs got so red and sore. So the second month we learned to put the guards on at nap time and then we took them off in the morning. This helped keep her thumbs healthier but she still had really dried out thumbs. After we ran out of bracelets the second time (the replacement bracelets were really pricey) we thought she was done and were way excited. A week later she started sucking her thumbs when she went to bed. I was so discouraged.
We have finally found something that is working. We put a band aid on each thumb when she is going to bed and we tell her that when she wakes up if she still has the band aids on she gets in the treat basket. She loves it. She has gone at least a week of keeping the band aids on. After she gets her treat we take off the band aids and wash her hands so they stay healthy. The key here is she wants to keep the band aids on so it's her decision. Also we have to be committed to remembering to put the band aids on and reinforcing the behavior of not sucking her thumb. I also think the thumb guards helped initially break the habit and the band aids are now just a reminder to her.
We really have been working on this since her third birthday in June. You decide what is more painful for the child. It's a hard call. We have an 18 month that we are deciding now what to do. I think were going to go for starting younger. What if parents don't intervene? Will a child just stop on their own? I haven't known any adults who still suck their thumb, at least I haven't noticed Devin doing it at night. =) Just kidding.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Girl Stuff

So you may think this is crazy, but my husband and I have had little discussions now and then about what ages our girls will be when they can wear makeup and other getting older things. Since we are still working on not sucking thumbs we have a while till we need to really worry about it. Well, the other day we sat down and wrote it down. We discussed when we thought it would be OK for our girls to get their ear's pierced, makeup, fingernails, sleepovers and such. We had to compromise a little bit but we feel good about the ages we set. Even though you may not have girls even close to these ages it's a good idea to think about it now before they ask. Then it's not something your children can have to put a wedge between your husband and wife relationship. It's always better to be on the same page with big decisions.
Here is what we decided. You may think some of these ages are too old or too young. That's why we have our own kids to decide what is best for your family.

Sleepover with a close friend- 5 years old,
Paint own nails-8 years (mostly because of the mess. We thought when they are 8 years old they can be more careful to do it on their own. Mom can still do it for them when they are younger)
Ears Piercing- 12 year old,
Make up- 14 years old.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Marriage and Family Classes

The Extension office offers Marriage and Family Classes that look really well done. I think they are free so if you live in Davis County or close by you may want to take advantage of this great opportunity. Here is the next class:

Making the Magic Last
November 4, 2009
Place: Davis County Courthouse Room 230
Time: 6:30-8:30 PM
Please RSVP 801-451-3412

What are the secrets to a lasting, satisfying, and successful relationship? Come learn what Dr. John Gottman's research has found. Couples will go away with skills that strengthen their coupleness, and can improve parent/child relationship. New and expecting parents are encouraged to register for this class.

The next class is
November 18, 2009
same time and place
This class is the Creating a Family Legacy Series. A family consists of many parts, yet is one unit. Parents and children comprise a household. A family legacy is creating a family philosophy. This session introduces couples to the process of developing their own identity as a family. The class also suggests ways to include the children in creating a family legacy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Language Development-18 months

Peanut (my 16 month old) does a lot of babbling but not making a lot of words that I can understand. I always wonder how much is normal, am I to worry and what can I do to encourage her language skills. In thinking of this I referred to a binder of handouts I got from Parents as Teachers. So off and on I will share with you some things I got from here.
Some ideas to promote your child's language:
1. Use stretch talk or expansion--this is simply repeating his short sentences or one word statements into more information. Like if he says, "bear down" You can expand by saying, "Would you like me to get your bear down for you?"

2. Use imitation--Just repeat his words back pronounced correctly without saying he said it wrong

3. Use parallel talk--Just talk to him about what he is doing while he is playing or eating. I like to do this on walks and narrating the scene around me

4. Read books to him every day--talk about the pictures, let him turn the pages. You don't necessarily have to read the story--this can be frustrating when they turn the pages before your done reading so just follow their lead. When they are ready to hear the whole story you will know.

5. Teach your child the names of body parts. Once he knows the easier ones add to include harder parts like chin, elbow, eyelashes, cheek

6. Sing songs to your child. Rhythm, melody and rhyme are fun for him. Repeat his favorites and someday he'll start singing with you

7. Continue to recite nursery rhymes. Once he is familiar with a rhyme trying excluding words and see if he can fill in the blank. Listening and playing with words helps your child get ready for reading.
One I would add is try sign language with your children. Always say the word with the sign. This is a way they can communicate with you. They often can sign before they can speak but a lot of the time those are some of the first words my kids have said is the words they regularly sign.

Don't compare you child to other children. All children learn on their own timeline. According to this handout it says that by the time your child is 18 months they usually start putting words together and have a vocabulary of about 50 words. If you don't see a growth spurt by the time he turns 2 consult your pediatrician.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Extra-curricular Activites Poll Results


Music Lessons: 9 --90%
Team Sports: 0 0%
Scouting/church activities 9 90%
Individual sports (swimming, karate) 2 20%
Speech/drama 0 0%
Job/Employment 1 10%

Total Votes 10

I once heard a family say they were really glad they had mostly girls because they didn't have to involve them in extra-curricular activities. I was saddened by that because I think girls need just as much opportunities to develop their talents as boys do. I really appreciate that my mom and dad felt it was important for me to take Music, dancing, and swimming lessons. From these I not only learned how to dance, play the piano, and not drown in a poll but I also learned about myself. I learned that I am capable of things but I have to work hard to get good at something. When something got hard my mom taught me not to quit. She helped me see that I can get better at something if I really want to and I practice. I hope to instill these same values in my own children by encouraging them to develop their talents and give them opportunities to learn. I don't ever think they will become professional musicians but they will learn how to be better people. My only concern is they get too involved that they don't have time to just play and be kids. I have to be careful about that because I as a person tend to over-schedule myself, I don't want to do that to my kids.

Check out the next poll about sucking thumbs and pacifiers. I'm in a little conundrum and would love your opinions.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Canning Applesauce

My kids love applesauce! My mom and I did some this weekend and my sister in law did more today. It fun to can with other people. After many years of experimentation my mom has got a really slick way to can applesauce so I'd thought I would share.

1. First thing is to find apples. Explore your options before buying them. Check your family, neighbors or drive around and look for trees that have dropping fruit (one of my friends has really good experiences doing this!). They probably would love you to use their apples.
2. Wash and quarter the apples (no peeling or taking out cores is necessary) I do get rid of worm holes.
3. Put them in a steamer/juicer. This is also something you can borrow from family, friends or even your local extension often will lend them out for a dollar a day. By juicing the apples you get two produces, applesauce and juice plus your applesauce won't be runny.
4. Steam apples for about 1 hour. Be sure to put a pitcher to catch the juice that will be draining from the juicer. I put my cardboard table up to the stove to place my pitcher on. In my juicer I get about 2 quarts of juice before the apples are ready to puree.
5. Transfer the apples to a Victoria/Food Strainer (which I got from the DI). You can also rent from the extension office.
6. Puree all the apples and put in your jars with lids. (no sugar necessary)
7. Process your applesauce and apple juice for 20 minutes in a boiling hot water bath.
8. Leave them out on your counter and enjoy the pops of the lids sealing. That's so gratifying to hear! Your kids and husband will love the applesauce without the extra sugar and preservatives the store bought kind has in it.
Applesauce cooling after processing

These are the supplies I use to make applesauce. Most cooking supply stores have them for purchase.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Preschool Options

There are so many options for preschool. I thought I would tell you about some I've tried and have checked into. You may know of others that you prefer. Please share and let me know. I've got a 3 year old that I'm looking to start preschool next fall. You may think-why worry about it now? Some preschools have long waiting lists so it is time to at least start thinking. Preschool can be expensive, but I've found that there is affordable and free options as well.

1. Your local university or college may be a good place to look. We have an amazing preschool. The toys, materials, and playground equipment is just awesome. You have to register for this particular one basically at birth to get in. We had our oldest enrolled here for a year. He loved it. The teachers were great, they did parent teacher conferences and I could tell they loved all those kids. They had a unstructured learning discovery philosophy which I think was really neat but some children don't do as well in this environment. Knowing your child's learning style could be helpful in determining what preschool would be the most beneficial.

2. One year I joined a neighborhood preschool where four or five mothers rotated having the school at our homes. This is a very affordable way and you can really tailor it to what you want the children to learn. We chose to focus on one letter per week. This gave us a focus but also allowed for creativity and for each parent to do what they do best, (i.e. music, arts and crafts, reading). The group put together a preschool kit that traveled from house to house with things like paper, scissors, crayons, paints, music activities, and a calendar to do the date and weather.
3. I just heard of a new preschool option which is for Utah children. It's called Utah UPSTART. It is a free on-line program for any 4 and 5 year olds that are not in kindergarten. You musts commit to spend 15 minutes a day on the program 5 days a week. Pre-registration for next year has begun. (I just signed up today!) Everything is done on-line from what I could tell. Check it out here.
4. There is a free preschool every week at the Family Information and Resources Center in Logan. This is very open to anyone 3-5 years old. A parent must attend with the child. They also have a free lending library which is really fun. For more information on that click here. You may have something like this in your area. It's worth checking into.
5. The last idea is to just do it on your own. Your public library has a wealth of information that can help you tailor a preschool for your child. You can do your own field trips that your child will like. I really like the Ready! Set! School! resource that will help with lesson plans. There is also so much available online. Coloring pages, handwriting worksheets and much more. If you choose this option you may want to have regular play dates where your child gets to interact with children her/his age to get socially ready for school.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Protecing children's innocence

My kids are still very young. One thing I love about children is their innocence and purity. When I first hold my newborn babies I can't help think of where they came from. They are so sweet and pure. I treasure that because unfortunately we don't remain as innocent throughout our life. It seems like the world wants our children to grow up way too fast. Children in grade school are walking around with cell phones, watching adult shows, talking with attitude and vulgarity, and much more. It worries me. I think children need to develop some maturity before being introduced to certain things. I don't want to put blinders on and pretend my children aren't going to be exposed to things. So we definitely need talk about things to help them avoid and recognize evil. But I want my home to be a place they can be protected from the garbage that is out there.
One really simple thing we have consciously done is to be careful about the movies and television show the kids watch. Have you noticed that once a child starts watching more mature shows, they aren't satisfied in watching Sesame Street (our older cousins call them baby shows) anymore. I say let them watch those "baby shows" as long as they will!
Rating can be difficult. I found this online which was really interesting: A PG-rated motion picture should be investigated by parents before they let their younger children attend. The PG rating indicates, in the view of the Rating Board, that parents may consider some material unsuitable for their children, and parents should make that decision.
The more mature themes in some PG-rated motion pictures may call for parental guidance. There may be some profanity and some depictions of violence or brief nudity. But these elements are not deemed so intense as to require that parents be strongly cautioned beyond the suggestion of parental guidance. There is no drug use content in a PG-rated motion picture. I don't think we can just assume that PG's are going to be fine. There is a great website called: http://www.kidsinmind.com/ This website will rate a movie in the categories of Sex and Nudity, violence and gore, and profanity. This has been so helpful in determining if we want to watch a certain movie.
My husband had a really great idea, he told the kids if a PG movie is made from a book they have to read the book before they watch the movie.
This can be difficult especially if they watch a movie at a friends house. After some learning lessons we learned to tell our kids they have to check with us first before they watch a movie at a friends house if it is PG.
I know how sensitive those little minds are. Those scary, violent, or bad words in a movie can effect them for a long time.
My brother shared with me a time when we was invited over to babysit for a neighbor when he was 12. He turned on a movie they had after the kids went to bed that he can still remember a bad image he saw from that movie.
That made me really think about the things that I have in my house that my babysitters, and kids could get access to when I'm not home and I would have no idea. For that reason we have put a security password to get onto our computer and really are careful about the movies we own on DVD.
I have really struggled with the wording of this. I hope this makes sense and does not offend. If anyone has any ideas of what they have done that has helped with protecting their children please share.
I found this short article that I thought was enlightening.

Music, movies, and magazines have a lot in common with mushrooms. For example, they come in countless varieties. Just as some mushrooms are edible and desirable and nutritious, certain kinds of music, movies, and magazines provide nutrition for the soul as they edify, entertain, and uplift.

And just as there are different kinds of poisonous mushrooms, so are there different kinds of music, movies, and magazines that poison the spirits of men and women. Some of these poisons are very much like jack-o’-lantern mushrooms because their impact is so repulsive and objectionable that we immediately reject them.

But there are other kinds of music, movies, and magazines that work very much like the “destroying angel”; that is, at first we have no idea that what we are listening to or watching or reading is slowly and surely poisoning our very souls.

Often we hear people comment on different entertainments, and we will hear something like, “This tape by the Dirty Gym Sox has ten good songs and only two bad ones.” Or, “It was a great movie (or video), with only two or three bad scenes.” Or, “Most of the articles in this magazine are very interesting and insightful.” But in 1988, only a few toxic mushrooms in a whole dishful put five Oregon people in the hospital on the verge of death Just as mushroom hunters develop safety checklists regarding the color, size, and shape of edible and poisonous mushrooms, our loving and protective Heavenly Father has provided us with several checklists to determine whether the things we view, listen to, and read are poisonous or wholesome.

1. The thirteenth article of faith [A of F 1:13]. Just ask yourself, Is this virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy? If so, “seek after these things.”

2. In Doctrine and Covenants 45:32 the Lord says: “But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved” [D&C 45:32] (emphasis added). With the music you play, the videos and TV programs you watch, and the magazines you have lying around, is your home a holy place? Would you feel comfortable if the bishop or stake president were to walk into your family room while you were listening to music or watching TV or a video? Would they feel comfortable in your home?

3. In his Sermon on the Mount, the Savior admonishes us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matt. 6:33). He did not suggest that we just keep the gospel in the “top ten.” He lovingly encourages us to make the gospel the top priority in our lives.

4. In the very closing verses of the Book of Mormon, Moroni extends the invitation to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness” (Moro. 10:32; emphasis added). The real question is not whether heavy metal is worse than hard rock or whether certain TV programs are worse than certain movies. If we wish to avoid being poisoned spiritually, we must ask: Is this music, movie, TV show, or literature ungodly? For example, does it leave me feeling unworthy to approach my Heavenly Father in sincere prayer?

5. The Apostle Paul gave the Thessalonians some great counsel that would protect them, and us, from the poisons of the world. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thes. 5:21–22

By: Elder Spencer J. Condie of the Second Quorum of the Seventy

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Toy Rotation and storage

Do you have too many toys in the house? Well you may have too many or maybe they just need to be organized so their not out all the time. We have found that if all of the kids toys are always accessible to them, they don't seem to play with them as much. So we decided to organized all of our toys in Rubbermaid containers and label them (see pictures below). Some toys are just hard to store because they are so big. So we just did what we could to have some order.

The thing I love about this, is my kids know they only can have one box of toys down at a time. Before we get another box down the other one has to be cleaned up. Even the friends kids are great about choosing a box and then picking it up. The other thing I love about this is they get so excited about a toy they have forgotten about, and one box can entertain for a long time.

We do have some toys that always stay down. These toys get rotated as well within the other toys. The other thing I also don't like is a lot of toys in the kids room. I love to have them play in their room but I have them take a box a toys and play in their room and then when their done it gets put away. They have a hard enough time keeping their clothes picked up. If they always had a lot of toys stored in their room, I'm not sure I would want that battle. Plus I don't like them playing with toys when they are having quiet time/nap time.
When birthdays and Christmas come and we get more toys, I go through and organize again. If I can't find a place for toy, we have a toy donation day when my kids find some toys they don't play with anymore and we give them to charity or our church nursery. I am always surprised at what toys they pick and that it's not a big deal for them. I just snapped these so you can get an visual idea of what I'm talking about. Do you have a way you keep your toys that you and your kids love? Please share! This is only one idea.
This is the area that always has toys in it. It's down low so the kids can get them at all times. Some of these toys get rotated with others when I think the kids have lost interest in them.
These cupboards are in our laundry room. The buckets fit perfectly on the shelves. We have a box with just baby toys, and one with cars and trucks, we also have a character bucket with a lot of McDonald's toys, dinosaurs, animals, and such.
More buckets with labels, little people farm, play dough, marbles, games, magna cars.

P.S. If you haven't voted on last weeks post, do it now you still have time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tooth Fairy Poll Results: new poll

How much does your child's tooth fairy bring?
Total votes 13
25 cents or less 1 vote 7%
between 25 and 50 cents 2 votes 15%
Between 50 cents and $1 7 votes 53%
More then $1 1 vote 7%
We don't believe in the tooth fairy 2 votes 15%

I thought this would be a fun survey because it seems like our tooth fairy is visiting quite regularly and I wondered how much other tooth fairy's give. Very interesting. After putting in the results though I can see how the categories are pretty confusing-sorry about that. I'll work being more clear. I wonder what you do with the teeth if you don't believe in the tooth fairy?

The last tooth that our son lost he put his tooth under his pillow and the tooth fairy didn't come. He was so upset. We told him maybe he needed to put it in an envelope so the fairy could find it more easily. Well the second night still the tooth fairy didn't come. So we suggested he label the envelope with "Traedens Tooth" It worked! The tooth fairy found it. (Devin and I had such a busy week and were so exhausted that we had forgotten!) Do you have similar experiences?
side note: We have been reading Fablehaven to the family and their are great stories of Fairy's in there. I think fairy's are pretty cool. If you have older children I would highly recommend this as a family read.
This next poll is inspired by the numerous choices of lessons and activities your children can be involved in. We have only just begun with our children being involved with extra curricular activities for our kids. What activities do you feel is the most important in developing talents and life skills. You can vote for two on this poll. Swimming lessons, music lessons, sports, scouts, dancing, 4-H. What activities do you think will help your children the most in life. Are there some that are better done at home? Time and money constrains us to pick and choose. And when you have two activities in one day what do you choose? I'm still formulating my opinions and would love your input via comments and voting.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Breakfast-Most important meal of the day

So I really am not obsessed with food but it seems like a lot of my posts lately have been about mealtime and eating. Here is one more. A while ago I was tired of thinking so early in the morning.....What should we have for breakfast. The kids unceasingly choose cold cereal. I can only handle so much cold cereal, plus I don't really it's that great nutritionally. I was also tired of complaining from the kids so Devin and I decided to make a breakfast schedule. Now we don't have any morning meal crisis because everyone knows what we are having and yes they will get their sugar cereal every Saturday morning. Here is our breakfast schedule:

Monday: Hot Cereal (oatmeal, cream of wheat, cracked wheat, or rice pudding)
Tuesday: Eggs (we vary from scrambled with toast, ostrich eggs, and fried)
Wed: Cold Cereal
Thursday: Hot Cereal
Friday: Pancakes/waffles/ or french toast
Saturday: Sugar Cereal
Sunday: Family Choice
(With every breakfast everyone gets one glass of juice with their daily vitamin-this is the only time in the day we allow a glass of juice so this is really special! =))

This has really helped us get up and my kids set the table in the morning so they look up to see what is for breakfast and they set the table accordingly. The morning is still crazy but this is one less thing to worry about.
Do you have any fun breakfasts you kids just love? Please share!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Baby Products I love

What baby products could you not live without? Well we really could do without a lot but I find a few items so helpful. Here is a list of ones I love and why. If you click on the links you can see a picture of it.

Baby Backpack- Graco brand. This particular brand has been perfect. We have used it once they are about 6 months till about 3 years old. I use this to mow the lawn with my baby, we take hikes and walks with it. I've also used it in the store when I have more kids then I can handle in the shopping carts.

Jogging Stroller/Bike Trailer- We got a trek brand from a local bike shop. We have been really happy with it, that we bought a second used one. I love the versatility of both. We go biking as a family and we can put two kids in it. When they are newborn's we put them in it all by themselves with their car seat. After four kids and 8 years its still going strong, we love it!

Diaper Bag from JJ Coles- I have used two different ones from this same company and have loved both. The small one was perfect for just a few diapers plus everything I normally have in my purse. This was the only thing I used for my purse and I loved it. The larger one I loved for when I had two in diapers and needed to carry more around.

Bundle Me from JJ Coles--If you have a baby in the winter months this is a must. I just loved knowing they were comfortable. It is so easy to use too.

Advent Bottles--These bottles are wonderful. I love that you can get different flow nipples for the different ages. These are great for nursing babies. They last forever! Worth every penny!

Breast Pump Medela- I got the electric breast pump for my third baby because I was going to be working. It is so nice because it doesn't take very long to pump. The company support is wonderful as well. I had a part break after having it for two years (I was using it with my fourth baby) and they sent me replacement parts for free with no questions.

Pack-N Play--We have gotten so much use out of our portable crib. We take it camping, to grandma's. and even use it everyday for naps and "playpen playtime." We just have a very basic one that also converts to a higher bed bassinet which is great for newborns.

What products do you love? do share in comments!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Helping your local schools

My sister-in-law, Brittany just gave me a stack of Box Tops for my kids to take to school. I think that is so neat that she would take the time to save these for a school her kids won't even go to. Before my kids were in school I used to give my box tops and Campbell soup labels to my piano students. It really doesn't take hardly any time. My piano students thought that was really fun to get some extra to take to school. These little things really do help the schools. At our last Parent Organization meeting there was a report of the money we received from each company. I was amazed! So just a little plug to help out a school and start collecting.
Our school collects:
Box Tops, Campbell's Soup labels, Capri sun packages, Macey's Grocery Store receipts, Cream of Weber lids. Does your school collect others? Do you know of any cool things your school was able to purchase because of the extra money?
It's been a while since I've done a post. I'm trying to get back into the swing of things now that school is underway. I thought I was busy in the summer =). I hope to post something at least once a week.
PS. There is only two more days for the latest poll on the Tooth Fairy. Check it out and vote on the homepage of childrenareworthit.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dinner Conversation

Family meals are so important to keep families connected. One thing I found hard, was to let everyone, even the young ones, feel part of the conversation. So I started something that all the kids love. After we get everyone served we go around the table and share "the best and worse thing of our day." This really has been fun to see what the kids remember. It's cute when the kids say, "The best thing is ...... and my day was so great I didn't have any worse things." All the kids like to have a turn to share something. It really makes them feel special. What has helped your mealtimes a time you can enjoy as well as your children?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Super Baby Food Diet

Third attempt to put superbaby food diet on. Click here. Let me know if it works for you.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Super Baby Food

When my oldest child was about to start eating solids I was so clueless as to what food was best to start with. How long till I started another food etc. etc. I was frustrated with how little information the doctor office gives. I really wanted to avoid any food allergies. So I did some searching for a book or literature about baby food. I found the best book called, Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron. It was exactly what I was looking for. It teaches you how to make your own baby food (which is so much cheaper), what foods are best to start with and which foods you can introduce month by month. I love love it! I don't do everything she suggests. Some of the foods she lists are just not available or in my mind edible so I skip over these things. She has a great section on Yogurt making which is very basic and helpful. There are also lots of recipes in the back that are great. From her material I made my own Excel sheet that I use to keep track of which foods I have introduced to my baby. I have put it on Google documents for those of you that would be interested. It has been very helpful for me and I can give it to babysitters to show which foods my baby can and can't have. Click here to view. Let me know if you have problems using the document. FYI. I have a new poll on the left hand side of the blog so be sure to vote!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Healthy Recipes: Chicken Tortilla Soup

We have oodles of zucchini from our garden so I'm always looking for good recipes that my kids will eat this plenteous vegetable. My next door neighbor gave us this recipe and it's now a family favorite. This is my very favorite way to use up our zucchini from our garden because it is so delicious and easy in your crock pot. My husband does not dig zucchini but he love, loves this soup. If you chop your zucchini up small you won't detect it.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 TB olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 medium onion
Saute-then add the remaining ingredients in a crock pot
8 cups water
2 TB chicken bouillon
3 cups salsa
1 cup cilantro
3 small zucchini, chopped
2 cups of black or pinto beans (soaked and cooked previously)
Cook on low for 5 hours
Then add:
4 cups of broken tortilla chips
3 chicken breasts cooked and chopped
Cook on High for 30 min-1 hour
Serve with grated cheddar cheese, sour cream slices of avocado and tortilla chips if desired
But this soup is great solo.
If you want to do it on your stove it's just as easy. After sauteing add the next 6 ingredients and simmer on medium heat for 30 min that add the chips, and chicken and simmer for 10 mins. and Wallah you have yummy soup!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mommy and Daddy Dates

I remember growing up my parents making an effort to having one on one time with us. These "dates" with mom and dad were some of my favorite memories as a child. Their is something special about being with my parents one-on-one. I think I felt closer and more willing to share my feelings when I was a teenager because of this effort. Because of this I really want to do the same for my kids.
My husband decided that each month we would alternate with the children in having dates. This is how our schedule works for three children:
August--Dad goes on a date with Child #1 and Child #3 Mom goes on a date with child #2
September--Mom goes on date with Child #1 and Child #3 Dad goes on a date with child #2
This way each child has a date each month.
We set up a schedule and write it on the calendar so we wouldn't forget. Well, we did good for awhile and then things got crazy and we forgot about it. So now that school is going to be starting again in a few weeks we are going to set up another date schedule and commit to do it.
Once our kids our age three they are old enough to go on dates with mom and dad. The child gets to help plan the date. We plan dates that require little or no money, which helps our tight budget and allows us to be more creative.
Some of the activities they have chosen have been: Playing ball at the park with Dad, Riding bikes, Playing a board game, Going to the library and playing a computer game.
I'm so grateful for the individual differences each of the children have and having one on one time really helps me show them I value them as an individual. I'm recommitting to doing better at doing daddy and mommy dates with our kids. Have you tried dates with your kids? What works for you? What have been your favorite dates?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Naps-Hold them sacred

Poll Results: What age do you think naps are not needed?
Total Votes: 5
Age 3--0%
Age 4--60%
Age 5 or older--40 %
I have no idea--0%

According to Judith Owens a pediatric sleep expert we are about right here is what she says:
Most children under the age of 1 take two naps a day — usually one in the morning and another in the afternoon. By 18 months, most have given up the morning nap but still need an afternoon snooze to make it through dinner without a meltdown.

Even when you've kissed the morning nap goodbye, your toddler's likely to continue needing her afternoon nap for quite some time. At age 4, more than 50 percent of children are still taking naps. And even though the majority of children (about 70 percent) stop napping at 5 years, 3 in 10 still need a nap at this age.

That said, every child is different. Much depends on how many hours your toddler sleeps at night. Toddlers need approximately 12 to 14 hours of sleep in each 24-hour period. So if, for example, your child goes to bed at 8 p.m. and doesn't get up until 8 a.m., she may get her full quota of rest all at once, giving her no reason to need a nap. But if she doesn't get 12 hours at night, then ideally she should get some zzz's during the day. (more from Judith click here)

I don't watch a lot of TV but one of the shows I've seen a few times and quite enjoy is Supernanny on ABC. Have you ever thought, I sure wish Jo would come to my house and help me? She has some really good ideas. It seems like there are many homes that struggle with bedtime and nap time. These habits children establish can run deep and when mom or dad tries to change them there are often lots of tears from both child and parents. I saw one episode where the mom went into a toddlers room over 30 times putting him back to bed. By the time he went to sleep mom was a wreck.
I know by the end of the day I'm ready for some alone time to wind down and decompress. If my kids have trouble settling down it enough to put me over the edge. So what does this have to do with naps. I really believe their is a connection between naps and bedtime.
When my babies are getting a little older (usually around 2 months), and I feel they are ready to start going to sleep on their own, in their own crib, then I start sleep training during the day with naps. I always start with naps because I'm much more with it during the day then in the middle of the night or right before bed and exhausted. I'm also more patient and have my wits about me. Having your babies learn to go to sleep on their own can be really hard, but it's so worth the effort to be able to lay your baby in their crib and go to sleep without a big ordeal and tears.

What can help establish regular naps? Here are things I do that I've found help.
1. Hold nap time and bed times at a consistent time as much as possible. Once you get a consistent time you can play with the schedule when you have an appointment or an irregular day. Kids can be pretty flexible as long as you don't always change on them.
2. Have some traditions that help settle your kids-If you always do the same thing before naps and bedtime this really helps your kids and babies know its time to rest. We go to the bathroom, read a story, turn on our relaxing music, and give kisses and sing our nap or bedtime song.
3. Establish rules about leaving the room and bugging mom and dad and follow through with consequences.
We have really made it clear in our home that once it's bedtime or even nap time it's time for mom and dad to be together or to be alone. My kids like their doors open and lights on so they can read books. If they leave their room I say, "That's one, if I get to three doors are closed and lights are off." If they get out again, I count, "That's two." Third time, "That's three" Then I close the door and turn the lights off. I usually don't have to do this but I did at first because kids want to know if your going to follow through.
4. For nap time- I keep my kids in separate rooms. My kids at night time share rooms. We have two in each room but during the day I like to keep them all in different rooms.
5. Replace Nap Time with Quiet Time when your child is ready. Like Bonnie and Alisha commented on a previous post. Naps vary from child to child. My first child took a nap everyday until he started first grade. My second child at the age of 4 took a nap only once in a while but he was still given the opportunity everyday. When your kids are fighting going down for naps which they all will at one time or another, I say "That's is fine, you don't need to take a nap at all. Mom still needs a little quiet time so you can choose a quiet activity for an hour on your bed." Our rules for quiet activities they can choose an activity (no electronics like a Leapster, TV, or toys). Often my kids will choose puzzles, books, and magazines. When my kids started to be able to read the clock they were very prompt in coming out when it had been an hour. During the summer my one and three year old always have a nap. For my six and eight year old I'm very flexible with. Today both were so cranky because of the late night the family had so I had them both took an hour of quiet time. My six year old feel asleep but the older one just had some down time which really helped his attitude the rest of the day. Sometimes I think kids just need a little time to think and be still. When they get older I can see this as a good time to encourage them to write in a journal or read scriptures.

I guess you can see I hold naptime very sacred. It is my time to regroup, study, ponder, and sometimes do a creative project that I can't do well with all the kids up. I read an excellent book last week I'd like to share a quick thought. "Eternally, woman spills herself away in driblets to the thirsty, seldom being allowed the time, the quiet, the peace, to let the pitcher fill up to the brim... No longer fed by by a feeling of indispensability or purposefulness, we are hungry, and not knowing what we are hungry fro, we fill up the void with endless distractions, always at hand--unnecessary errands, compulsive duties, social niceties. And for the most part, to little purpose. Suddenly the spring is dry; the well is empty...Every person, especially every woman, should be alone sometime during the year, some part of each week, and each day." --From 'Gift from the Sea' by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
I have found this very true with myself. I love be mom and serving my children, but I get to a point where I can tell I haven't taken enough time for myself to recharge and I'm more impatient and cross. I challenge you to find some alone time. Set a goal to find a little time to fill your pitcher so you can keep giving to your children. Nap time is just one time during the day you can try to find some quiet time to recharge.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


So the winner for the contest is Jeana! Jeana is both a follower on Facebook and on google friend and she invited 25 friends to check out this blog. Wow! That is awesome! Jeana has won the cookbook Set for Life! This is my favorite and most used cookbook in my kitchen. I featured the granola recipe from that book. It's a great cookbook and even has some great advise on good eating habits for children and adults.
I decided to wait till tomorrow to post about napping, since their is still one more day to vote on the poll.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Check out the new look and Win a Prize!

I got a fun background from Leelou Blogs.--come over and check it out! She has some really cute templates. But it took me forever to get the layout fixed. I need some feedback on colors of text a layout. If you can't read it or if it gives you a headache please let me know, I would love some suggestions.
Also...I had a napping poll that was deleted with all the carryover. So if you could be so kind to vote again or vote for the first time that would be awesome. I only gave a week to respond because I wanted to do a post on Sunday about napping, and I'd love include your opinion. I have so much fun writing these posts and I hope you enjoy reading them. If you have any suggestions on topics or anything please comment below. Also if you have any friends, or family who loves children: invite them to read. The more the merrier, all of us benefit because we get more awesome ideas.

How do you keep up with your favorite blogs? I read all my blogs from igoogle. This is a customized homepage that you can add google reader to. Then you can subscribe to your favorite blogs and whola whenever something new is posted it shows up on your igoogle home page. The other great feature is if you are just swamped because it's been a while since you have checked it you can click mark all as read and bam-they all disappear. Has anyone figured out how to use NetworkedBlogs on Facebook? I haven't found an easy way to check if the blogs you are following have new posts. These are the only ways I know how to follow a blog. If you know of others please let it be known!

Last thing, On the main page of my blog on the right hand side is a place you can click to follow. You can do it through facebook or google or both. Right now there are only three people on the google friend connect (I'm one of them so there is really only two) and we are so lonely. So to encourage you to invite people to read this blog I'm going to give away an awesome prize. (I've seen other bloggers do prizes so here goes)
Here is how it works:
1. Sign yourself up as a reader for either or hopefully both google friend and facebook
2. Invite your friends and family to join (if you have questions on how to do this let me know)
3. Finally post a comment to this post by Saturday July 25th that you did the above requirements and how many friends you invited

By doing this you will get one entry into the contest. The most enthusiastic invitee (whoever invited the most friends) will get five additional entries in the contest. The prize is a book that I have featured on the blog. I will do the drawing and will have my husband pull a special name out of the hat and you will be notified as a winner! Your prize will be delivered to your home via mail next week! Have fun and Good Luck!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Healthy Recipes: Homemade Granola

Since I am trying to feed my children a variety of healthy foods, I thought I would occasionally share some recipes they enjoy. My mom would make this for us as kids. I love it hot right after it's been cooked with cold milk. Here goes for the first one which uses a lot of food storage items as well:

Favorite Granola
(From my favorite recipe book- Set for Life by Merrill She also has a great section in the back about healthy eating for pregnancy and nursing and great ideas for family eating as well)
4 cups old-fashioned oats (I also use a combination of other flakes like barley)
2 cups rolled wheat
1 cup unprocessed oat or wheat bran
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1-2 cups slivered almonds
Mix these dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Heat the following until the sugar is dissolved:
1/2 cup oil
1 cup water
3/4 cup brown sugar (you can substitute honey)
Add after heated:
1 teas vanilla

Simply add to the dry ingredients until mixed well and bake in a 200 oven for 1 1/2 hours. For chunky granola do not stir during baking. Break into bite-size pieces and add 2 cups of dried fruit (our favorites raisins, dried apples, pineapple, craisins, coconut and dates). Store in an airtight container. Serve as a cold cereal. Excellent as a topper on Yogurt Parfaits.
All the main ingredients in this recipe you can get at a health food store or most grocery stores. Let me know if you try it out.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The worst cleaning job-mopping

This is pretty random: but last week I was dreading the inevitable...my kitchen needed a serious mopping. The crusted spaghetti, sand, visible muddy footprints and other food chunks that my dog wouldn't even eat (yuck!) was my first clue. I had a brain storm and remembered when I was little I loved to mop the floor. It's because we put sponges on our feet and skated around till it was clean. We had a blast. So I decided to try it and involve the kids. It worked! I enjoyed doing it with someone and my floor got clean.
After I posted last week about chores I wondered if I overwhelmed many with the chore chart for my kids. It really looks like a lot that they have to do. But because I started having him help with little things around the house when he was two and three years old, he became more and more capable and responsible. Also a lot of the things listed aren't really jobs but they are things I want them to get in the habit of doing like reading scriptures, praying, brushing teeth, and exercise (ride bike). If your just starting out doing separate chores for your children, remember to start small so you don't overwhelm your kids. It is so rewarding when my kids just do something because they know they are suppose to and I didn't even have to remind them about it. But just as I discovered with my mopping, jobs are funner in doing them with others. To help each other get motivated we like to turn on the kids fun music to listen to while we clean. Or we will help each other do the dishwasher, (each of us have certain items we are responsible for, plastic, glass, and utensils) and sometimes we have races. One thing I like to do is give them a little treat when they get so many jobs done. It just depends on the day. Sometimes they are so motivated to get up and get going and other days they need a little more encouraging. So I have to keep my thinking cap on.
Boyack in her book "The Parenting Breakthrough" says there are things you can do to help make doing chores an excellent opportunity for growth and training and about how in the world you can get your kids to work. Briefly they are:
Develop a Backbone: Using chores as a training method cannot be done by invertebrate parents. Parents must be in control and have their wits about them or it will fail. But also having a militant attitude and a total control-freak mind-set will also fail. Be firm and clear and unmovable.
Remember the Importance of Work: She said that work at home should be a priority. The training for the work we do as adults rests largely in learning how to work as a youth.
Use Lots of Methods: Some methods or chore charts work for a while and then they need to be modified for the age of your children or just for variety. Do what works for your kids. Some ideas she gave was the 1. pocket chart with a pocket of to do and done. 2. Zone Management-divide the house in zones and each person is responsible for keeping his zone clean and tidy. 3. Chore wheel 4. Random choice-kids choose their chores by random ways, drawing slips of paper, popping balloons with chores written inside 5. Monthly rotation 6. Blitz method--This works when you don't have a lot of time and everyone pitches in to get the house picked up7. Sixty-second straighten: See how much they can do in their room for 1 minute. This can be fun variation.
Define the chore clearly and then have them report when they believe it is complete. This is when the training is emphasised. You could even have on a card step by step process of cleaning the sinks or their room. This will help them see the process and understand your expectation
Set a definite time frame: Have a time frame when the jobs need to be done.
Have a no-nonsense attitude: Don't cave in to whining and complaining and back down or give second chances.
Use Rewards: Stickers, a kiss from mom with red lipstick, coupon for ice cream, etc.
Use both arms: If your married use your spouse to back you up on chores.
Be persistent: Just keep plugging away day after day, week after week, month after month and it will get better and easier but never perfect.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Potty Training Question

I got a question and started replying to it and it ended up way too long for a comment so I decided just to make it it's own post. I would sure love some other feedback to help this mom who is frustrated with potty training.
Question: I read in another section that your goal was to have your kids potty trained by three. That was my goal as well and my 3 and a half year old still has accidents and has only stayed dry all night once. I feel like potty training is a never ending process and I know I made many mistakes that probably contributed to this, but do you have any suggestions? We did give her a big surprise for staying dry all day for a week. A great book I read was "The Everything Potty Training Book." It had several different methods and many great statistics and information. I also like "My Big Girl Potty" for my daughter, there's "My Big Boy Potty" for boys.

First of all, I probably did say my goal was to potty train by age 3 but this may not be realistic for every child. I have never read, "The Everything Potty Training Book." I think I've read the "My Big Girl Potty" if its the one that is written for children like a story book. My kids really liked this book.

I believe children will be ready at different times even though we would love for them to be potty trained early. Also, I think children could use going to the bathroom as a power struggle with parents because they are in control of this. Maybe she just needs to know that it's her choice to go to the potty and let it be her thing.

You may ask her if she would rather go back to wearing diapers during the day until she is ready to go potty every time in the potty. If she does then go back to diapers. Don't let it bother you one bit. Maybe it would be good for the whole family to take a break because it sounds like the fun of being a big girl is gone for both your 3 year old and mom and dad. If you are frustrated with it then your child is probably frustrated too. In the Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood book it says, "Like any task we're expected to perform under pressure, potty training becomes an undesirable chore." pg 35 If your child wants to continue with her big girl pants then one idea is to lay low and tell her that you know she is a big girl and you have every confidence that she can go to the bathroom when she needs to. Tell her you are going to stop reminding her and that when she needs to go to the potty she can choose to take you with her or go by herself. Take out the reminding and you being extremely anxious about it. Another thing that helped my first was when he had an accident I really had to not get upset (and believe me it was hard) but I instead talked about how sad it was. I like how Love and Logic words this response: "Oh, you had an accident! That's too bad! I love you, Sweetie." Then you can make them apart of the clean up by asking them to put their clothes in the laundry and getting you a rag to clean it up, etc.

Now the nighttime water (or in other terms bedwetting) is a completely different story. My oldest was 6 or 7 before he stopped wetting the bed. We tried everything. After consulting our physician on many occasions at well visits he recommended a bedwetting alarm. This really worked. In the instructions of the bedwetting alarm it talked about how children are not doing this on purpose, they simply sleep so soundly that they don't wake up to go to the bathroom. It is a physical response and their body has not learned to tell their brain when they need to go. The alarm requires parents to be extremely involved but it was well worth waking up a few times at night for a couple days and taking him to the bathroom.

It doesn't work to not give them any water hours before bedtime or waking them up before you go to bed to go or lectures about wetting the bed, or even having them clean the mess up. Believe me we tried all these things. There is also medication and herbs that you can try but I really didn't want to add other side effects that go with Meds. The thing with the alarm is they really need to be a little older--I think the age recommended was five. In the meantime don't sweat it--after I have talked with other parents this is really common for a lot of children.

I know they are really expensive but you can get overnight diapers for bigger kids. I would just use diapers if they still will fit your girl. I also put water proof sheets over the mattress so it doesn't get ruined and I also put a waterproof pillow case over the pillows.

I hope this helps a little bit. But try to look at the long picture here and realize that as long as they are potty trained by kindergarten you will be just fine. =)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Teaching Children to work

My sister in law Deonne recommended the best book about chores and teaching your children responsibility. It's called "The Parenting Breakthrough" by Merrilee Browne Boyack. First of all I love Boyack's opinions about teaching children and discipline. In my opinion she has it spot on. She gives so many ideas to get children to do their chores and help out at home. My favorite part of the book is the "Master plan" She talks about how we as parents need to decide "How I want my children to turn out" Some of the things I thought of, I want my children to have their own testimony of the gospel, be able to keep a job and know the importance of hard work, love to learn and read, get a long with their family and want to come back and spend time with their aging parents =). After you do this then you need to set realistic goals and learning objectives to accomplish this. This is the part I love. By the age of three my child will: Learn to dress self, use the toilet independently, brush teeth, pick up toys, say prayers, etc. She has a list for each age that is really comprehensive but she recommends you supplement things to the list as well. Here are things listed on a five year old--Straighten room, vacuum, empty garbage cans, set table, clear table, make own lunch, warm up canned food, get allowance.
So I have really liked this to help my kids learn valuable lessons of life and they are really learning how to help around the house. I really believe children need to do more around the house then clean their room. As a part of living at your home their are things that can teach them it's not all about them. I have found that when they are in charge of cleaning something they start realizing that they have an impact -they are a contributing member of more then just themselves. I love this quote from the book.
" Doesn't it seem these days as if we find ourselves surrounded by work-phobic youth? These kids are largely a result of lazy parents; that is, parents who take the easy road. Sometimes I wonder if my children are the only ones who do chores beyond self-maintenance. Self maintenance tasks are pseudo-chores: 'make your bed, pick up your toys, brush your teeth. These don't contribute to the family. By and large, parents have forgotten how important work is in the home. They have a hard time getting their children to work, so they give up. It's easier to hire maids and gardeners or to do it all themselves." pg 51
I think about my grandparents generation and even my parents generation and they helped on the farm. Feeding the animals, picking vegetables, making bread. Because of so much convenience in our life it can be easier to just do it yourself. But I think we are doing our children a disservice. It will be harder for our kids to adjust to real life when they move away from home. Will they just automatically know how to do their own laundry, clean the bathrooms. I would rather have them already know because their are plenty of other things they need to adjust to.
I think summer is a great time to start implementing a new job plan, because your kids have more time at home. For a long time each of my kids had a cup of index cards. I wrote and drew a picture of the job on the card. When they got done with the job it went in the cup. When all their jobs were done they got to go play. My two older kids now have a chart that they mark their jobs off on. This has worked really well since some days they have different things to do. I have put the job chart to give you an idea on Google Reader.
I'm new to loading a document so let me know if this doesn't work for you. Your welcome to use this and modify it to the needs of your family. It was really easy to create and works great for my kids. I update it as necessary and then we laminate it so they can use it over and over. I get some dry erase markers and they mark it up each week. We do fun things when the kids need some motivation. Sometimes I put a M&M on each index card they can eat when they get a job done. We let them do half their jobs and then take a break and watch a cartoon. For some families I know it works better to do all the chores on Saturday or Friday because of all the extra activities planned in the middle of the week.
You will have struggles when you try to implement a new job chart. But just remember the big picture-you are teaching children responsibility and work values that will help them for the rest of their life. I believe it's worth it!
PS. I have a poll on my blog I'd love for your input. 7 more days till it closes.