Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: June 27th, 2012 MOVING DAY!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Want a Hug?

It is hard to change the world. When everything you know about parenting and discipline is disconnecting and punitive, it seems especially difficult to want to do things differently. How do you deal with "bad" behavior, without punishing your child? How do you teach what you ave never learned? I have three ideas that were shared with me that I do my best to remember when interacting with my children.

Does It REALLY Matter? To Who?
Before reacting to a behavior, first ask yourself if it matters. Jumping on the furniture? Touching every cereal box in the aisle? Throwing all the bedding on the floor? Hitting other children? I find that often, actions not having a direct effect on other people are often disallowed just because we are used to saying "no" to that action. Often we fear what other people are thinking about our children's behavior or how they are judging our parenting and react out of fear of judgment. So asking myself what really matters to me and my child is important in picking my battles, and deciding what kind of reaction would be best.

They Are HAVING a Problem, Not BEING a Problem
When things are getting out of hand, and children are acting out it might be good to remember that our children are NOT out to get us. They don't behave in that way just to test us or to be at odds with us. Children want to be connected to us, but might not always know how to communicate it or gain that connection.

Children Are People Too
Say your child just threw their dinner plate on the floor, how would you react? Now, imagine it was your partner or best friend: how is the reaction different? This is the pinnacle of my reason for wanting to be a gentle parent. Children are people, and they deserve the same respect we do. These are not tactics we tolerate in the adult world, it makes little sense to use them on our children.

All that said: I have been at this parenting gig for almost 5 years. I am not awesome at this stuff. I even had a moment WHILE WRITING THIS that I imagined drop kicking my kiddo upon discovering the poopy finger paint done in the quiet moment I stole to add a bit to this post. Before finding people with similar ideals when my son was almost 6 months, I never knew people who wanted to use gentle discipline. I have to work each and every time something comes up to react in a way I can be proud of. I don't often succeed. The point is that I keep trying. And when all the techniques fail and I have no more tricks to try I know that just getting down on their level and asking for a hug will do us both a world of good.

Please join us all week, June 25-June30, 2012, as we explore the world of gentle, effective parenting. We have new posts each day by talented authors providing us with insight into why gentle parenting is worth your time and how to implement it on a daily basis. Check out all the carnival posts over on ParentingGently.com We are also giving away several parenting book and other goodies from our sponsors this week. Please stop by and enter to win! This year's beautiful motherhood artwork is by Patchwork Family Art. Visit the store to see all her work.

Monday, June 25

Are you considering Gentle Discipline and don't know where to start?  Not surprising giving how the media talks about helicopter and permissive parenting.  If you like the idea of gentle parenting but don't know where to start then today's posts are for you!
Want a Hug? by Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy  
10 Principles of Unconditional Parenting by Amy from Presence Parenting writing for Natural Parents Network  
Spare the Rod? Does the Bible Promote Spanking? by Paige at Parenting Gently  
Biblical Instructions for Discipline: How Should a Christian Parent? by Dulce de leche  
Looking for a Better Way by Practical OH Mommy

Tuesday, June 26

Maybe you've read posts like yesterdays and you are intellectually convinced that this gentle parenting thing sounds great.  Now what?  Today's posts expand on the philosophy of gentle parenting as our authors break it down.
When Empathy Doesn't "Work" by Dr. Laura Markham  
Kids Are People Too - and how remembering that can make life so much easier by Momma on a Mission  
So You're Thinking of Trying a Different Way? by Practical OH Mommy  
Life Isn't One Size Fits All by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children  
To Me, Gentle Parenting Means... by A Teachable Mom

Wednesday, June 27 

Now that you have a great basis for the principles of gentle parenting let's look at one of the trickier parts of implementation.  Punishment.  Consequences.  Regardless of how mainstream parents talk about it this is the "big scary" thing that many parents worry will make their parenting permissive.  Today's authors talk about this important issue.
We Don't Do Discipline by Tat at Mum in Search  
The Fine Art of Natural Consequences and Logical Consequences by Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama  
Save Time Outs for the Soccer Field by Practical OH MOmmy  
Gentle Discipline Basics: Teaching Skills by The HIppie Housewife  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Can You Spare $1 To Help Baby Sean?

On June 10th 2012, Baby Sean was born. He is truly a miracle baby and both he and his family need our help. A fellow blogger with the Natural Parents Network shared Baby Sean’s incredible story with us and asked if we could reach out to our friends and fans. Jennifer of Hybrid Rasta Mama is hoping to raise $1,000 over the next several days to help both baby Sean and his family as they face the lofty challenges in front of them. Please take a moment and read a little about Baby Sean’s journey and needs as shared by Jennifer. From 2001 until June 2011, I was fortunate enough to have five of the most caring, uplifting, generous and supportive people caring for my grandmother who suffered from dementia. This family literally fell into our lives and because of their selflessness, my grandmother lived 94 wonderful years. Without the care and support she received, I doubt that my daughter would have had the opportunity to spend two years with a great-grandmother who loved her, even when she did not have a clue who she was. Caroline was my grandmother’s main caretaker but her entire family (husband Tony and their three young children) did everything that my family could not. They bathed her, they cleaned up her bathroom accidents, they fed her nourishing foods, they told her stories, they took her to concerts, they took her camping, they took her to family events, and the list goes on. They lived with her 24 hours per day, 7 days per week with no time off. They embraced her and together, they become an expanded family. After my grandmother passed away in June 2011, I not only mourned her death but I mourned the loss of my extended family. Although I knew we would keep in touch, it would still be different. Fast forward to the end of May 2012. Caroline had been experiencing a headache that defied words. She decided to go to the hospital, knowing that something serious was going on. A short while after her arrival, she learned that she was 26 weeks pregnant and in a major health crisis. That headache was the result of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. Both Caroline and her unborn baby were in serious trouble. Caroline was put on hospital bed rest where a fabulous team of doctors and nurses did all they could to keep Caroline’s baby where he should be…in his warm, watery womb. Unfortunately, Caroline’s placenta was too thick, her baby was not getting nourishment, and his life was in danger. After his heart kept stopping, Caroline underwent an emergency C-section to save both her baby’s life as well as hers.   15 days after walking into the hospital for a headache, Caroline gave birth to a 1 pound 10 ounce baby boy she and her husband named Sean Feleti Jeremiah Mokofisi.
Baby Sean is a miracle. He is a fighter. And he has a long road ahead of him. However, Baby Sean is already breathing well on his own, a miracle and something pretty rare for a baby only 28 weeks gestational age. He has had some significant health challenges since his birth but has fought through them with the help of a wonderful and talented team of doctors. Baby Sean is not able to be held or breastfeed but Caroline is pumping milk and the hospital has been very supportive of her through this. They are also open to supplementing with donor milk, knowing how crucial breastmilk is to a premature baby. Caroline has had some health challenges as she recovers from not only the C-section but the preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. However, she is expected to be released from the hospital soon. Baby Sean is not so fortunate. His stay will be quite lengthy.
This is where YOU come in.
Caroline and her family were already at a financial disadvantage before this incredible journey began. They work hard, they are generous people – giving to those even less fortunate than they are. They give everything they have to care for their children and give them the best life possible. But the economic cards have been stacked against them and the financial impact of such a lengthy and complex hospital stay for both Caroline and Baby Sean will be devastating to them. Once Caroline is released from the hospital, she will have to travel 45 minutes each direction to see her baby daily. The cost of gasoline is going to make this near impossible. On top of that, Caroline needs to begin preparing for Baby Sean’s arrival home and literally does not have the resources to purchase the most basic of baby supplies let alone some of the special supplies a premature baby with Sean’s health needs might require. Today we are reaching out to you. Could you donate $1 – just ONE DOLLAR – to help Baby Sean? Your donation will go towards clothes, cloth diapers, a car seat, and other premature baby essentials. In addition, it will help this beautiful family make the daily trip to bond with and bring breastmilk to their precious son. If you aren’t able to donate, perhaps you know someone who could. In lieu of a donation, we are asking for help in spreading the word. We know that in these tough economic times, it is difficult to know when to give and what cause deserves our hard earned dollar. This baby needs our help now! Imagine if this was your baby and all you needed was a little financial cushion so you could start your baby’s life out right? Caroline, Tony, their entire family and Baby Sean are already deeply grateful, humbled, and moved to tears by the mere fact that we are raising funds to assist them in their greatest hour of need. So thank you for your help. It literally will make a world of difference in this family and child’s lives.
To donate to the Help Baby Sean fun, please click the DONATE button below. You will be taken to Paypal where you can donate even if you do not have a Paypal account.

If you prefer, you can purchase a copy of Jennifer’s eBook, Coconut Oil For Your Skin, for $9.95. This increased price will be in effect June 20th and 21st and all sales from those days will go directly to the Help Baby Sean fund. Click the BUY IT NOW coconut below to purchase the eBook.

Together, we WILL be able to help Baby Sean and his family get off to the best start possible. Again, thank you and many, many blessings for your generosity!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Little Chefs

My husband wrote this for Natural Parents Network last fall. It pretty much says so much about what makes him an amazing dad, that I thought I would share it here. Happy Father's Day!

Growing up, being asked what we wanted for dinner meant picking a restaurant. My first word was "Fry!" as we passed a McD's. When I moved out and had to cook I burnt minute rice, ruined ramen, and would set fire to microwave dinners. But, I loved food. My girlfriend (and now wife) kept us from going hungry (more than that really, she's pretty dang good. Especially with creating something nothing, which was not unusual for a couple just starting out) but I really wanted to know how to cook and create the foods we loved for myself. So, I went to culinary school. It took two and a half years, during which we also got married and had our first son. L1 was 3 months old when I graduated.

Graduation December 2007
Since then I have wanted my boys to know how to cook. I would wear them in a carrier while I cooked. We encouraged them to help with the grocery shopping, exploring new foods. And now that they are getting big enough, I try to welcome them to help me cook whenever possible. Even if it is just scrubbing potatoes, I want them to be a part of feeding themselves and our family.

There is always SOME job they can help with.
I never expected kids to like foods like salad, brussell sprouts, salmon, or anything with flavor. I though all kids ate plain tasting foods: chicken nuggets, mac n' cheese, french fries. But, the more my kids are involved in the process, the more things they are willing to try. I want to encourage that to continue. For them to know there are no bad foods, just bad ways of making them. So, the trick is to find the good way to make them. We might try three or four different recipes before working out how some ingredients are best served.

Never give up, never surrender. Even the brussel sprout was defeated and devoured!

I love my boys (and the new baby on the way) and like any parent, I want for them everything I didn't have. There isn't much, but a good knowledge of food and cooking is near the top of the list, and I am so happy I have some skills I can pass on to them in that area. We are learning together, and not just about food. It takes a good amount of patience and trust to work with kids in the kitchen. Sometimes it does get to be too much and I have to find something else to occupy them so I can just get dinner served. But, every little bit matters, and there is always another chance to invite them to help later. It is a lesson I have been able to take to other parts of our lives to work at being a better dad for them. See, we all win.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: June 13th, 2012

Today is my husband's birthday! Things are growing up and older! Oh, and a picture of me in the shower. :-)

Our potato patch.

Drink I had at the Cheesecake Factory on Date Night. It is called JW's Lemonade: how could I resist?

American Idiot

Bath time with baby!

"I a Jedi, Mommy!"

Our bedtime snuggles.

Someone has a new, super cheesy grin!

Yeah, I put snacks in a jar. Hummus and bell peppers.

Eat Cookies, Boost Supply

Sometimes milk supply could use a boost. When L3 started teething, she was consuming more and I was pumping less. I figured a little treat couldn't hurt!

I adapted my recipe from That Mama Gretchen

1 C butter (or substitute)
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar, packed
1 T fenugreek
4 T brewed fenugreek tea
2 T flaxseed meal (I had flaxseeds and ground them in my coffee grinder)
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
2 C Gluten Free all-purpose flour (I use Jules)
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
4 C oats
1 C dried cranberries
1/2 C chopped/sliced almonds
4 T brewer's yeast

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Brew fenugreek in 8 oz of hot water until grains are soft.
Mix flaxseed and 4 T fenugreek tea and let sit for 3-5 minutes. Drink the rest, reserve the grains!
Beat butter and sugars.
Add eggs and mix well.
Add flaxseed mix, fenugreek grains and vanilla, mix.
Add flour, brewer's yeast, baking soda, and salt.
Mix in oats, cranberries and nuts.
Round off a large tablespoon of dough and place on cookie sheet.
Bake for 15-18 minutes.
Let cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Meal Plan Monday: June 11th, 2012

Vegetarian Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Enchilada Casserole (This recipe, but layered instead of rolled)

Palak Paneer

Mini Pizzas

Masaman Curry and Yellow Chickpea Curry

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches

Gourmet O's and Grown-Up Grilled Cheese
This is a crazy easy recipe. Enjoy.

Gourmet O's
1 box (32fl oz) Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Tomato Soup (I used Trader Joe's or Pacific Foods)
1 cup quinoa

Boil 2 cups of water. Add quinoa, lower temp to simmer until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Add soup, heat through. 

Grown-Up Grilled Cheese
Cheddar Cheese
Ripe Tomato

Spread pesto on bread, top with cheese and tomato. Coat outside of bread with butter. Grill until golden brown and melty. I have done several at a time under the oven broiler.

Meal Plan Monday

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Your Humanity is Showing

More hoopla about breastfeeding. This time some moms daring to do so in their military uniforms with Brynja Sigurdardottir Photography. The storm of comments and judgments began. 

Being in uniform demands a certain decorum.

An American soldier feeds Japanese children in 1945 on Okinawa, site of an 82-day battle and Allied victory.Photo Credit: Getty Images

A responsibility to represent the strength of our force.
Soldiers show children how to play with yo-yos during humanitarian mission in the Philippines, September 2007 U.S. Navy (Michael Larson)
Because soldiers are trained killers. 
U.S. soldier carries a wounded Iraqi child (Marine Corps photo)
And breastfeeding makes women appear weak.

And while in uniform, soldiers are required to behave a certain way.

I refuse to show any images of the horrific things 
soldiers have done in uniform. They are graphic, 
heart-wrenching, and a horrible representation
 of who we are as a country.

Soldiers can be mothers. Mothers feed  their babies.  Breastfeeding doesn't make them more or less or enough. They are just ARE, so leave them be. They deserve support, not judgment. If their uniforms don't allow for ease of breastfeeding while following their code, then maybe some considerations need to be made to the uniforms or the code. Military families deserve the support and knowledge that their families are well cared for for the work they do to protect our country. Maybe if we were more connected to who we are as humans, there would be less need for the military.

For information about Breastfeeding in Uniform

Friday, June 1, 2012

Farmer's Markets are for Kids Too!

This was originally posted last year for Natural Parents Network. Thought it was time for another go around, with Market Season getting underway!

We love food. We like to talk with other people who like food. My boys are learning this as well. Where do they learn about food, and how it gets from farm to table? The farmer's market.

Before we even get to the parking spot, there is talk about what items we need for our grocery list, what we are hoping to find, and the required reminders about limits: hold a hand, use walking feet, ask before touching anything.

They each get some money to spend. We supplement their amount, since they aren't aware of the value of money yet, they see it as a trade. When they have used their money, they are done. Right now that means one trade. Later, it will mean learning about money value and the math involved.

When making their "deal" they ask about the food. L1's favorite right now is bread. He asks for bread based on the meal he wants it with. "I want toast," "For spaghetti," or "I eat it now." The baker we visit makes the suggestion and tells them what is in it. L2's favorite thing is fruit. And right now, berries. I swear he has one particular market gal bewitched. He is just sooo darn cute, and she loves such a little boy asking for "boo berry," "tawberry" or just "THAT ONE!" and she is always good at addressing him and listening.

I love that my children are gaining this opportunity to start talking about their food this way. I am glad to have a place to teach them about product value (and soon, about money). To learn courtesy and conversation skills. To have a place where more often than not the people treat my children as "real people" whose needs and wants are just as valid as the next customer.

I also love the FOOD we get! And the lovely recipes that come from our pickings.

1/2 c raspberries
1/2 c blueberries
2 peaches, cut into chunks
2tsp nutmeg
2tbsp cinnamon
2c sugar
2c water
5tbsp cornstarch

2c Jules Gluten Free or other all-purpose flour
1/2c shortening or unsalted butter
1/2c sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1/8tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 c milk or milk substitute (might vary, use enough until it just holds together)

Cook peaches and berries over medium high heat to start juice release. Add water and sugar, bring to boil. Let boil about 4 minutes.

In separate cup use equal parts cornstarch and water to create slurry. Add to fruit and cook for 5 minutes.

Pour into casserole dish and place in fridge to cool.
In mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cube butter, add a couple at a time while mixing at low speed. Slowly drizzle milk until crumbs form. Chill in fridge.

When chilled, sprinkle crumbs over fruit mixture and bake at 425 until browned, about 10 minutes.

To see what deliciousness we had for dinner before this lovely desert, head on over to True Confessions of a Real Mommy.