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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stretch Marks Smetch Marks

So, let us get right to it.

I am guessing that there are minimally a few things you would have different about your body and that at least some of your time and energy is invested into mulling this over; well "sweet pea" that, is an exceptional waste of both resources.

It has taken me a very long time to learn to love myself and becoming a mother played a significant role. It all started when I decided that my post-pregnancy body was disgusting, I was so miserable and obsessed about it constantly. It brought misery to every area of my life, I stopped taking care of myself, I didn't shave for 6 months (by the time I did my landlord had to snake our drain because I clogged it). I would not let my partner anywhere near me and when we did have sex I was disgusted by it. I would spend hours looking in the mirror, for the sole purpose of intensifying my hatred.

About 4 months after I returned to my full-time job following my maternity leave, I quit. I needed to be at home with my son. He had 2 very invasive, painful surgeries during that time and I just had to be home with him. I took a part-time waitressing job and that was that, I was a stay at home mom. One day shortly after I was home full-time with him and following one of the above mentioned surgeries, we were hanging out taking pictures. Now he had to have arm restraints on so that he could not do any harm to the site of his incision, he was around ten months old.

So, here I am sitting on the couch watching my little man crawl and climb with these "no, no's" holding his arms perfectly straight, laughing and smiling and doing all of the things that they said he couldn't; and it occurred to me that I was a jerk. This child grew in me, this body nurtured his, and every part of him was a part of every part of me. He had already endured so very much; he had a face sewn together when he was just 4 months old and had just had the inside of his mouth sewn together and his nose broken, and here I was whining and sobbing about stretch marks and extra weight. I understood in those moments that my body was what it was because it was supposed to be, I had gained and grown, stretched and changed to accommodate him. So there it was, my very first real moment of truly loving my body, the body that had gifted me my son.

As women we are bombarded day in and day out with images and information that defines beauty for us, it comes to us from every direction at various different volumes. So what is all of information telling us? For the most part we are presented with an unattainable standard, a grand lie that whispers to the majority of us that we are simply not enough. For some of us, we are just not thin enough, others too thin, our cheekbones and bums not high enough, our breasts not perky enough, and blah, blah, blah.

You are indeed Beautiful regardless of these silly and unrealistic messages, how do I know this? Understand that all Women are Beautiful, each and every one of us. What is the benefit of ignoring or disregarding our Beauty, what is the pay off for treating ourselves poorly and hating any aspect of our bodies?

Beauty is found in simply being a Woman, Beauty is found in the diversity of Women. Beauty is confident and strong, self-aware and actualized. Beauty is about identifying one's personal style and "rockin" the "what" out of it. Beauty is not giving a "what" about what anyone else says or thinks Beauty is, it is ignoring the images and voices that tell us that we are not Beautiful. Beauty is seeing the Women on television and in magazines and recognizing their Beauty without using it to define what we are Not. Beauty is whatever we believe is Beautiful about ourselves.

It really is that simple, I think my larger behind is fly, some girls may think their tiny behinds are fly, just stop looking at other chics and finding the "imagined" ugly in you. Look at other Women and admire their own unique Beauty while embracing and cherishing your own.

In the world of me I have decided that being a Woman makes me absolutely spectacular. I adore my own abilities to create and hold another, warm in my womb while it grows, its energy glowing bright in my belly. I respect that my body was made to carry this being and cultivate it with spirit and structure alike, sharing my vital organs to assure its health and safety. I find my woman's body, spirit and structure, to be like the earth; giving and breathing life, sustaining and nurturing, protecting and destroying. Knowing that I cannot have anymore children strengthened my appreciation for the plethora of greatness my body offers beyond creating and carrying a child. I also believe firmly that a woman is to be the governor of her decision to bear children. Before becoming un-expectantly pregnant, I would not have chosen to have children.

For those of us, who are not able to have children or choose not to, we must remember that our body is the house of our true and deepest self, we must create, cultivate, nurture, and protect this self with the same ferocity we would our unborn child. This helps me to introduce you to my own adoration of my ability to create and hold my true self, warm in my centers as it grows, its energy glowing brightly in my chakras. What I mean by all of this is we as Women have a responsibility to take care of ourselves and each other.

My woman's body is plush and ripe, my own to bring pleasure and gift it to others, my own to decorate and adorn, my own to cleanse and forgive. My own to protect, my body should be free from the harm of myself and others; never to be taken, raped, or defiled. My choices are my own about my body and I should live free of ridicule and judgment. I believe that a Woman is the master of her own body and she belongs to no one other than herself or whomever she gifts herself to. If someone else is to take of my body without my unmitigated consent, I am entitled to re-claim and seek vengeance for this despicable wrong.

As a woman I understand that power resides within and around me and I accept my responsibility to embrace and use that power. Knowing that being a Woman means I am Brilliant and Beautiful, Kind, Caring, and Compassionate, Empathetic and Gifted, Nurturing and Emotional while also recognizing that I am Fierce and Strong, Competitive and Driven, Wild and Intelligent, Rational, Disciplined, and Physically Competent. I am Everything, Everywhere, in Every Woman, and so are you.

Originally published on CharlotteMommies.com

Monday, August 29, 2011

Menu Monday Butterscotch Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Butterscotch Pineapple Upside Down Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
One 12-oz package (2 cups) butterscotch flavored morsels, divided
3/4 cup butter, softened, divided
Two 8-oz cans sliced pineapple, drained, reserving 3/4 cup juice
8 maraschino cherries
1 cup sugar
2 eggs

Cooking Instructions:
Mix dry ingredients, set aside. In 10-inch cast iron skillet over low heat, combine 1 cup butterscotch morsels and 1/4 cup butter. Stir until morsels are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Arrange pineapple and maraschino cherries in skillet. In large bowl, combine sugar, remaining 1/2 cup butter and eggs and beat until creamy. Gradually beat in the flour mixture alternately with the reservered pineapple juice. Stir in remaining morsels. Pour over pineapple. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. Immediately invert onto serving plate.

Submitted to The Mommies Network recipe database by a member

Friday, August 26, 2011

Playroom Organization...COMPLETE!!

I realized about a month ago that my two kids were playing in the family room more and more. I’m fairly certain this is because there was no empty space on the floor of the playroom. So they were taking toys from the playroom into the family room. And I noticed that the toys they were playing with were always the same. Most of the things in the playroom sat untouched. So why did we have a playroom filled with toys that neither child ever used? A playroom that was so packed with old toys that there was no room to actually play?

To give you a good visual of what I'm talking about, this is what our playroom looked like about a month ago:

I set up a plan and executed it, and this is what the playroom looks like today:

The first step of my plan was to remove all the old toys that were no longer used. I thought this would have to be a covert mission, but the kids actually didn't seem to mind me taking away all those old toys. [Note to self: I should have done this months ago!]

Once the room only contained toys the kids actually play with, I set to work determining how I could organize everything. I came up with five "zones" for the room. Here's what they are.

Dolls and Figures Zone
This zone includes the dollhouse, pirate ship and all the little dolls, figures, Zhu Zhu pets, Transformers and anything that goes with little dolls and figures. My daughter and her friends have been spending a lot of time in this area. And I must say the dollhouse is getting a lot more use now.

Projects Zone
This zone was set up to include arts and crafts, school-related stuff and any other "project" types of things. We have a small table and chairs, workbooks and coloring books (in the red containers on the shelf), and science kits (on the bottom shelf). You can see the markers, crayons and other arts and crafts items in the picture above. They are on the top shelf in the previous zone but right next to the table, so it works. I am determined to keep the top of this table clear so they can actually use it!

Building/Construction Zone
This zone is all about building stuff. We have a train table that is now used as a Lego table, with the Legos stored underneath. We have Zoobs, wooden blocks, and other building and construction stuff. There's plenty of floor space to build on as well. You can see my son was working on a Lego project on the floor when I took this picture.

Pretend Play Zone
This is another one of my daughter's favorite areas. We have a small kitchen and all the stuff that goes with it. We also have doctor kits, a magic kit, baby dolls and stuffed animals here, so she and her friends can play all sorts of pretend activities.

Games and Puzzles Zone
This zone is where we've stored all our board games, Beyblades and Pokemon cards, and all sorts of puzzles and games. The book shelf is here too. That is one thing I have not purged yet. I need to remove the baby and toddler books and bring some of their age-appropriate books down from their bedrooms where they usually read.

I will say this was a huge project but I'm so happy with the results. Just removing all the old stuff (and there was a lot of old stuff) made a big difference. If you have a playroom, I highly recommend reassessing it and taking out all the stuff your kids don't play with anymore. And putting like things together in "zones" to make it easier for them to find the toys they do want to play, and know where to put them when they're done.

Now let's just hope they manage to keep it cleaned up so it never looks like that "before" picture again!

Submitted by Julie, member of TriangleMommies.  Originally published on Just Playin' Around, July 5, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mommy, Look at That Dog!!

You and your children are enjoying a sunny afternoon at the park when they suddenly say, “Mommy, look at that dog! Let’s go see him!” This innocent request could turn emotionally and physically harmful for your children if your children don’t know the proper manners for meeting a new dog.

What do you need to know? Bonnie Buchanan, owner of Bon-Clyde Training Center in Sanford, NC and professional dog trainer offers some advice.

“Dogs need to be treated like human strangers,” says Bonnie. Parents should observe the owner and the dog’s body language. Does the dog look relaxed or nervous? Does the owner have control over the dog? Bonnie also notes that “it’s also important to remember that dogs react differently to adults and to children. Children often make faster and jerkier movements that can make a dog nervous. For a dog that hasn’t been ‘kidsocialized’, children can be threatening.”

Here are a few tips to keep your next encounter with a four-legged friend a positive one:
  • The number one rule: Never stare a dog in the eyes. A dog interprets staring as an attempt to be dominant and this can cause a negative reaction from the dog.
  • Always ask the owner’s permission before you approach the dog.
  • Slowly lift the back of your hand for the dog to sniff.
  • Scratch under the chin first. Never pet the top of the head because this is a sign of dominance.
  • Keep your voice soft.
  • If a dog runs up to you, then remain calm, don’t run or scream.

The dog’s owner may not be aware of the dog’s behavior, so watch for these signs and don’t approach a dog if he is doing any of the following:
  • Staring at you intensely
  • Tipped forward on the front feet
  • Ears pressed against the head
These are all signs of aggression and it is best to stay away. If you have any doubt about the dog or owner, then avoid them. Dog bites are 100 percent preventable.

What can you do if your child loves dogs, but you don’t want to make one part of your family just yet? Here are a few suggestions:
  • Training Centers like Bon-Clyde offer a variety of classes and seminars open to the public to observe.
  • Attend fundraisers or dog festivals
  • Attend local dog shows

What can you do if your child is scared of dogs?
  • Find a Therapy Dog volunteer dog. Therapy Dogs are used in nursing homes and hospitals and have undergone special training to be gentle and calm.
  • Encourage the dog owner’s to tell your child something special about the dog.
  • Ask if your child and the dog can “shake hands”.

It is important to remember that dogs will be dogs and even the most well trained dog can have a bad day. Dogs have personalities as unpredictable and complex as humans. It is these personalities that make dogs irresistible to adults and children.

Originally posted on CharlotteMommies

Monday, August 22, 2011

Menu Monday Heathers No-Salt Table Blend

Heather's No-Salt Table Blend

6 tbsp. dried oregano
7 tbsp. onion powder
4 tsp. dried marjoram
4 tbsp. dried basil
4 tsp. dried savory
6 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried sage
3 tsp. black pepper

Cooking Instructions:
Mix together and store in an airtight container.

Additional Comments:
This is a lovely addition to the table. My family and friends are crazy about this mix and are constantly asking me to package it up for them.

Submitted to The Mommies Network recipe database by "Heather"

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bath Time 5 Years Later

My oldest child is about to turn five. She will leave what I consider to be a preschool phase and begin a whole new phase of being a child, a kindergartner. She believes that being five mean being a 'big girl' and she'll soon discover, in her own way, exactly what that means. Thinking about her upcoming birthday has caused me to reflect on the past years and how much she has changed and how much my mothering has adapted.

She was born in Spring 2004 and became the center of my world. I was suddenly a new mother struggling to understand and care for another helpless human being. I was also new at being a stay-at-home mom and trying to find all the necessary fulfillment from that job. I was trying to develop my style of parenting while balancing the advice I didn't yet understand how to brush off. I did so much for her with the utmost care and patience. Even the simple task of bathing her was treated as a time of bonding and learning; a time of togetherness and love that always began our bedtime routine.

Then I had more children.

What started with a temperature gauge to test the heat of the water has turned into a quick check with a finger. While I used to fill the tub with bath time letters, art supplies, and toys, I now keep only a small cup used for rinsing. My oldest used to have the best baby wash and shampoo designed especially for dry baby skin. Now I make all the kids use whatever kid shampoo and soap was on sale at the wholesale club. Bath time used to last about 30 minutes. Now I can bathe all three of them in under 10 minutes.

There were always fresh towels and washcloths ready when my oldest emerged from the bubbles. Now I only change them out on laundry day or when they actually start to smell. My oldest would be lotioned up and powdered down after each and every bath. Now they are lucky if I remember the cream for an occasional diaper rash. Every pair of pajamas my oldest wore were chosen with care and coordinated with her onesie and socks. I'm not even sure any of my kids actually wear matching pajamas now. Bath time always ended with my oldest having her hair brushed, ears cleaned, nails trimmed, and teeth brushed. I'm lucky if I check nails and ears once every couple weeks.

I don't think any of this makes me a bad mother. I don't love my youngest two any less than I love my oldest child. I just think she was exposed to the mothering I was only capable of when I had one child. I may not focus as much time and attention to bath time now, but I'm a much more patient, crafty, and relaxed mother. I'm capable of achieving the bonding, togetherness, and the learning in ways that are silly, fun, and full of chaos. I'm grateful to be the mother of three great kids, but I'm even more grateful that five years and three kids has helped me discover that kids are loved just as much even with a dingy wash cloth and quick rinse off.

Originally posted on AtlantaAreaMommies.com

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Preserving Our Memories

I find it amazing how something small and otherwise trivial can bring about a flood of memories. Listen to a song from your high school years and see where your mind wanders. Catch a whiff of a certain cologne and your memories take over!

There are so many ways to preserve our special memories. Here are just a few ideas to try:

What better way to preserve your thoughts than to keep a journal. Some people cringe at the idea of journal writing: they think of "Dear Diary, today I woke up, I brushed my teeth..." However journals can be so much more than that!
• Create a special journal for things you think about your husband. When you fill it up, you can give it to him as a gift (or keep it for yourself to remember all that honeymoon bliss or little petty arguments that seemed so big at the time!)
• Create a special journal for your hopes and dreams. Only write in it when you get an idea of "what you want to be when you grow up." Go back through it years from now and laugh at all of your ideas and applaud the good ones!
• Create a journal for your children. Start it when you first find out that they are coming and write in it intermittently throughout their life. Give it to them as a special one-of-a-kind gift on their graduation or wedding day.
• Create a prayer journal. Write down your thoughts and prayers to God. Go back through it periodically and check off prayers that have been answered. See how God is working in your life!
Whatever kind of journal you decide to make, don't feel you have to write in it everyday if you don't want to. Use it as a creative outlet, a place to store your best (and worst) memories and a place to let out your emotions. Years from now, it will be a treasured gift for you or whomever you share it with.

Have you ever wanted to find out more about your family history? With the advent of the world wide web, this has never been easier. Preserve your heritage by creating a family tree. Trace your ancestors back to the Mayflower or beyond! Find your family crest and proudly display it in your home. Researching your family history can be a fun and educational experience for the whole family. There are many websites available to help you find information and help you get in touch with long-lost relatives..

So you have piles, drawers and boxes full of old photographs? Join the club! There are so many ways to preserve photographs today! You can scan photos and save them on disk. You can also go to a professional studio where they can take photos, videos and even old movie reels and transfer them to DVD (you can find a list of local studios at the end of this article). There are many different photo storage solutions out there. Photo boxes that are acid-free are best. Store your photos in a cool, dry, dark place (garages, basements and attics are not good choices!). If you decide to put your photos in albums, make sure the albums are made with acid-free materials. Avoid using photo albums with the sticky pages -- over time the glue will permanently bond to your photos, making it impossible to remove them. If you are a creative person, you can preserve your photographs and other memorabilia in a scrapbook (or two, or five!). Scrapbooking is very big these days and there is a plethora of stickers, papers, borders and other paraphernalia to make your scrapbooks sparkle.

For me, music brings about a lot of memories. I can listen to a song and be instantly transported to my junior prom, my college apartment or a special moment in my marriage. I will never forget the song that was playing as I delivered my daughter (It was "Deliver Me" by Sarah Brightman, believe it or not!). Go through your collection of tapes, records, CDs and even 8-Tracks (does anyone have those anymore?). Make a mixed tape or CD of the songs that mean something to you or help you remember a certain time in your life. Listening to them will allow you to take a step back into history -- and you will have a lot of fun putting them together too!

Did you have a favorite dress as a child or teen? Or now, as a mother, does the sight of your daughter's first Easter dress send you down memory lane? Consider making a quilt out of these old clothes. A small scrap of each fabric is enough for a square and with a little effort, you will have a family heirloom full of memories.

How I wish I still had the scent that my grandmother used to wear! Whenever I catch a whiff of that scent, I know everything will be ok. I wish I knew what it was so I could always have it around for reassurance. You can keep your favorite smells nearby in a number of ways. Candle companies make scented candles in hundreds of scents, including Christmas Cookies (for us baking-illiterate folks), Seaside, with the smell of the ocean breeze and many others. These candles are usually reasonably priced and will fill your whole house with a lovely scent that can bring back lots of memories of good times. If it is a perfume you want to save, here is an easy sachet you can make:

Cotton Ball Sachet
Ingredients Needed:
6 inch square of fine lace material
18 inch piece of narrow ribbon
6 cotton balls
1. Lay 6 cotton balls together in center of lace material.
2. Spray cotton balls with perfume.
3. Bring ends of lace together, over cotton balls, and tie firmly with ribbon.
4. Tie ribbon in a bow.
(Cotton Ball Sachet From: "You Can Make It! You Can Do It!" by Ann Peaslee, Jullien Kille & Dave Ball)

Originally Posted on CharlotteMommies.com

Monday, August 15, 2011

Menu Monday - Dirt Cake

Dirt cake is one of my favorite desserts. Brings back memories of childhood when I played softball in a summer league. Every summer we would have a end of season banquet to pass out trophies and to have a cook out. One of the mother's would always being dirt cake.  It was always the hit of the cook out. The recipe below has been doubled since I am using a large flower pot. If you want to use a smaller potion please half all the ingredients.

In a large bowl mix two (16oz) packages of cream cheese, half a cup of butter, and two cups of powdered sugar together. Note: Make sure to use a large bowl. Also I used a mixer when mixing all the ingredients together and it flew things everywhere. I found that if I used a spoon first to mix and then use the mixer that it worked better.

In a separate large bowl mix 16oz. container of whipped topping, four small packages of instant french vanilla pudding, and seven cups of milk together. 

Note: Make sure to use two bowls to mix the ingredients together and then pour together into a large bowl. I had a tough time mixing. I need to buy a larger bowl. 

Combine both mixtures together until smooth.

Crumble Oreos in food processor or roll with a rolling pin. I used two large packages of Oreos. 

Note: When I make this recipe again and if I use the same size container I would use three packages or Oreos.

If you decide to use a clean flower pot, line it with tin foil for added protection.

Layer the Oreos and pudding mixture to the top beginning and ending with Oreos. 

Chill for several hours or overnight. Decorate with gummy worms, silk flowers, or 
construction toys. You will be sure to be the hit of your Memorial Day BBQ. 

Post submitted by Kathy (absolutelykathy) from CentralPiedmontMommies.
{Originally submitted to CentralPiedmontMommies Blog on 5/28/2011}

Friday, August 12, 2011

Last Chance!

The Mommies Network National Auction closes Saturday, August 13, at 10 p.m. EST! There are but a few hours left to place your bids. With more than 600 items, ranging from boutique clothing to autographed books to tickets to Dollywood, there is sure to be something for every taste and budget.

Click on a link below to see what's what in each category!
Amusement Parks, Activities, and Travel
Books, Music, and Games
Children's Clothing
Classes and Lessons
Crafts, Collectibles, and Toys
Decor and Home Items
Fashion and Jewelry
Health and Fitness
Infant Items
Infant/Child Gear
Maternity and Breastfeeding
Party Time
Photography Packages

By bidding on an item, you are helping mommies all over the country! Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from The Mommies Network National Auction will benefit Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. The remaining portion of the proceeds will go to furthering our mission:

To provide a safe, secure, FREE place for mothers to find support and encouragement from other mothers and to empower them to be better women, parents, and community leaders.

Hey Mom, Why Does Your Kid Wear that Football Helmet?

Childbirth, we all pray for it to be easy, but I was one of the not-so-lucky ones. I had a long and painful labor, my son was stuck against my pelvic bone for hours, and when he was finally suctioned out, his head was severely misshapen. Many kids come out with crooked heads, isn’t this what that hoodie in the hospital is for? “Give it a few weeks, the doctors say”. Well, I gave it a few months, and the condition only got worse. My son developed severely restricted head and neck movement, which in turn resulted in hearing problems and infections that we are still dealing with 18 months later.

So what is this called? The condition is called plagiocephaly, Greek for “an oblique head”; plagiocephaly results from external forces applied to a soft and malleable infant skull. This can be the result of childbirth, but can also develop from a number of external circumstances such as sleeping on the back with little tummy time, or only turning the head in one direction due to torticollis (restriction of the neck muscles), and prolonged use of an infant car seat, carrier, or swing (perhaps due to reflux). Whatever the case, many of us are mistakenly told by our pediatricians that the asymmetry will fix itself. However, in moderate or severe cases, this is untrue. Sure, the child’s hair will grow and perhaps the deformity will be slightly camouflaged, but this condition is not one that is self-correcting.

So what does this mean? Many people, including some insurance companies, also believe that plagiocephaly is merely a cosmetic problem. This is not the case, facial asymmetry can cause eating and chewing problems, vision problems, and in my son’s case, hearing problems and ear infections. This is a medical condition, and one that as parents, we should probably be aware of. Well, we all know that babies need to sleep on their backs and ride in infant carriers while in the car, so what treatments are available to assist in correcting the head shape? The child will most likely have to wear a custom-fit helmet or band for 23 hours a day for several months to correct the problem. The helmet, though it looks obtrusive, is quite lightweight and rarely bothers the child. My son actually cried when we took his off! The specialist will cast a mold of the child’s head to develop a band for the child that will slowly correct the deformity through constant pressure. The band will be adjusted weekly to accommodate growth and development. Many children are treated after two or three months, though some will wear their head accessory for as long as six months. Treatment is most successful if started between 4 and 6 months; however, a child can start treatment at as late as 18 months. Additionally, physical therapy is also affective in reinforcing the treatment.

So, the next time you see a child running around in a white or painted helmet that looks like they may be a baby wrestler or football player, you will now know that that child is being treated for plagiocephaly. And moms and dads, if this happens to your child, please learn the facts, know that this is a medical condition and does require attention, but also know that it can be treated without painful or intrusive surgery, and most important, know that this is not your fault. Let’s educate one another, our doctors, and our insurance companies. Stay aware of your child’s development and be proactive in his treatment. And hey, look at the bright side, I was actually thankful during a few baby tumbles that my child was well protected in his headgear! And the bands are a great way for your child to express his individuality.

For more information, please visit http://www.cappskids.org or http://www.cranialtech.com.

{Originally posted on RichmondMommies}

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wonk Wonk Wonk - How to Train Your Kids to Ignore You

It started with a trip to the grocery store. While I waited for the cashier to ring up my items, a mother behind me was delivering a soliloquy (only she didn't recognize it as such!).

"Suzy, you're not going to take that home."
"Suzy, you can carry that around but I'm not buying that."
"Suzy, you've been naughty. Why should I buy that for you?"
"Suzy, put that away. I'm not paying for it."
"suzy, everyone is looking at how much trouble you're causing."

And on and on and on...

I was so thankful when the cashier gave me my total. I was tired of this woman blathering on and I don't have to live with her! Poor Suzy. She is being trained to ignore her Mother. The more Mom talks, the less she hears.

Mom needs to learn rule number one:

Less Talk, More Action

Remember the Peanuts cartoons? When one of the adults spoke, all the kids heard was "wonkwonkwonkwonk". The more you lecture, threaten, warn, count to 3, etc... the less your child listens. Stop diluting your effectiveness as a parent with these non-actions. Use natural consequences as often as possible, and deliver the consequence calmly and swiftly. For example:

If your two year old won't stop running into the street, clearly explain to her that if she does it, she will be taken inside for the day. Then, when she does it (and she will, of course, cute little Scientist that she is!), calmly and without fanfare, escort her inside. Don't give her warnings or "another chance".

Toddlers and young kids don't understand an abstract concept like getting hit by a car... something they've never seen, felt or tasted. So talking about it until you're blue in the face is unlikely to do any good.

But what they DO understand is cause and effect. "If I do "X", then Mommy does "X"....EVERY TIME. Even young babies learn this. Ever noticed how excited your baby gets right before you feed him? He's learned that when you hold him a certain way, food is forthcoming. Our kids are smarter than we think sometimes.

Another example: Two siblings are fighting about a toy. Don't waste your time trying to figure out who is in the wrong, it's virtually impossible and just encourages tattling. The children will learn how to work out their own negotiations if involving the parent means unpleasantness. The toy is put up for a period of time. End of story. Toy squabbles will dramatically decrease almost magically!

Let Your Yes Mean Yes & Your No, No

Do what you say you will do. If you tell your child that acting up in the grocery store means no cookie from the bakery at the end of the trip, MEAN it. I'll never forget the look on my 2 year old daughter's face as she watched her brothers eat huge chocolate chip cookies while she went empty handed! Few things impress a young child more than you holding to your words, calmly and without a lot of emotion (that just makes you look like an idiot). Children don't respect you if you are always swinging back and forth like a pendulum. Decide what's important to you and expect those limits to be respected.

This rule makes parenting so much easier because your kids will stop testing you so much, which is just their way of saying "Do you really mean it?".

The flip side of this is that when you promise something positive, you had better make good on it! If you do this, your children will learn that you mean what you say.

{Originally posted on SaltLakeCityMommies}

Monday, August 8, 2011

Menu Monday - Corn and Avocado Salad with Lime Cilantro Dressing

Corn and Avocado Salad with Lime Cilantro Dressing

One bag Birdseye White and Yellow corn, defrosted
Two ripe avocados
one cup grape/cherry tomatoes
one handful coarsely chopped cilantro
one small red onion
juice from two limes
1/4 cup olive oil
one small handful finely chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions:
peel and cube avocados.
slice tomatoes in half.
dice red onion

combine all ingredients on the right side.

in a small bowl, combine lime juice, cilantro and salt and pepper. whisk in olive oil slowly.

top salad with dressing, mix well.

Serving Suggestions:
I serve it over fresh spinach or leafy greens.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The National Auction has Arrived!

It is said that it takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a community to support a mother and to provide her with the resources, encouragement, and opportunities necessary for her to be her best. With more than 90 local chapters and a national site that reaches all moms, The Mommies Network provides that community.

We are a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a safe, secure, FREE place for mothers to find support and encouragement from other mothers and to empower them to be better women, parents, and community leaders. Our philosophy is that no one should have to pay a fee to make a friend, so we offer free membership to any mother within the community who wishes to join. Members gain camaraderie and support through an online forum that is available 24 hours a day, as well as local events where mothers can meet and develop friendships that last a lifetime.

This August, The Mommies Network is hosting our second annual National Auction and will donate 25 percent of the funds raised to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, a national network of volunteer photographers who "introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with the free gift of professional portraiture … [to] serve as an important step in the family's healing process by honoring their child's legacy." The remaining 75 percent of funds raised will be used to further the mission of TMN to provide support to moms across the country.

We believe that by working together, mothers can change the world — one family, one neighborhood, one community at a time. The Mommies Network is a connecting force, helping us each to make a difference in our own lives, in our families, and in the places we call home.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Massage During Labor

The use of massage during labor is nothing new. Many tribal cultures throughout the world have traditionally incorporated massage into the birthing process. Nurturing touch during labor has been shown to enhance the laboring woman's mood and ability to cope with labor. In 1997 the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami conducted a study and on the effects of massage during labor. Researchers found that women who received massage during labor experienced decreased levels of anxiety and pain. They needed less medication and their labors were shorter than those of the control group, who received only obstetrical care.

The onset of labor in preparation for birth is an intricate series of hormonal signals and interactions. It is believed that the baby is responsible for initiating labor with the mother's hormones taking over to ensure that labor continues to progress. Two important labor hormones, epinephrine and norepinephrine stimulate uterine muscles to contract. Anxiety in the laboring woman overstimulates the production of both of these hormones, resulting in slow, ineffectual and painful labor. A relaxed woman's hormone levels are more balanced allowing the uterus to be more effective in responding to the body's hormonal signals. In addition to traditional therapeutic massage techniques, Acupressure and reflexology can also be used to help balance hormone levels and stimulate the uterus. The result is contractions that are strong, rhythmic and effective. Body positioning is also important in encouraging the progression of labor. Standing, squatting and sitting are positions that maximize the use of gravity for the laboring woman, and help open up the pelvis in preparation for birth. However, with the use of epidural anesthesia, the laboring woman loses the ability to utilize these various birthing positions.

If a woman desires to birth naturally, without the use of pain medication, how does she endure the pain that accompanies labor? Massage serves as a distraction to labor and contraction pain. It is believed that flooding the brain with pleasurable sensations will help to override pain signals from the uterus. Massage can be very effective between and during contractions. Acupressure points can be utilized during contractions to decrease the level of pain. The time between contractions can be used to massage tired, clenched and cramping muscles. Managing pain during labor decreases the need for epidural anesthesia and therefore the need for later medical intervention.

Epidural anesthesia administered during the early stages of labor doubles the likelihood of a cesarean section. Because massage during labor has been shown to decrease the need for epidural anesthesia, it may also aid in preventing an unnecessary cesarean section birth. Epidurals also decrease the pushing sensation during delivery and therefore the use of forceps and vacuum extraction becomes more likely.

If a cesarean birth is deemed medically necessary prior to the onset of labor, massage can also be beneficial in preparing for the event. The days and weeks prior to surgery may be filled with stress, anxiety and fear of not knowing what to expect. Massage can play a very important role in helping moms cope with these emotions and help in gaining a sense of empowerment.

Massage for the laboring mother can be performed by a massage therapist or by the woman's partner. Partners can consult with their massage therapist prior to the onset of labor and then use the learned techniques from the moment labor begins up to the time of delivery. It is important to remember that a laboring woman's response to touch is unpredictable and may change at any time throughout labor. Open and honest communication with the therapist or partner is essential during the entire laboring process.

Osborne-Sheets, Carole., Pre-and Perinatal Massage Therapy, Body Therapy Associates, San Diego, CA, 1998.

Stillerman, Elaine, LMT, Mother Massage, Dell, New York, NY, 1992.

Field, T., Ph.D.; et al., "Labor Pain is Reduced by Massage Therapy" Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol. 20, Dec 1997

Originally posted on CharloteMommies.com

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bugs of Summer

Most will think first and foremost of the mighty mosquito! And, even though they are the most popular of Summer Pests and ones that conjure up grand discussions of what would be the best way to kill said Pest or avoid their bites, I really wanted to chat about the other famous Southern bug: The June Bug.

Actually, June Bugs are not just found in the South. There seems to be a whole host of bugs throughout the beetle (genus) world called “June Bugs” and sometimes “May Beetles”. There are those in the South that are green with brownish wings with bight green underbellies and heads. The ones out West are locally called Figeaters. Then the not so fancy, light brown European ones are called Chafers or Dorrs.

These beetles are considered “pests” because the young grubs are known to feed on the roots of grasses and cereals, destroying both. The adults, maturing in late Spring and early Summer, eat the foliage of trees and bushes. Some even eat fruit!

So, then, what is so alluring about these pests? Their popularity can be found throughout popular culture from the character named Mama Junebug Jones in the popular book series about a little Siamese cat named Skippyjon Jones and popular songs by the B-52’s and Sparklehorse.

And, while doing research on these bugs, I found out that June Bugs have been known and studied for at least 400 years. Shakespeare has memorialized them in this line from Macbeth: “the shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums”. (Macbeth, iii. 2, 42)

No one can say for sure why they are so popular. I have two guesses, though. The first being that the bug is so common that everyone knows which bug you are referring to when speaking the name. And secondly, the name is just too much fun to speak out loud! JUNE BUG. JUNE BUG. See how your mouth wraps around the words like you are eating something juicy?

Now that you know a little more about these famous and popular pests, you can wow your friends with your knowledge when gathered around the TV watching NASCAR and rooting for Dale “June Bug” Earnhardt, Jr. and they ask, “Hey, what’s a June Bug anyway?”

May (June) Bugs on enature.com go to http://enature.com/fieldguides/detail.asp?allSpecies=y&searchText=June%20bugs&curGroupID=4&lgfromWhere=&curPageNum=1
May Beetles on the Iowa State University BugGuide.net go to http://bugguide.net/node/view/3477
For cool news on the character Skippyjon Jones go to http://www.skippyjonjones.com/
For NASCAR news go to http://www.nascar.com/
All other inquiries hit up Google or Wikipedia or go to the library!

Originally posted by "adeaneedscoffee" on the TriangleMommies blog 6/9/11