Category: Parenting

Bye Bye Common Sense

Posted on Oct 31, 2014 by No Comments

I recently read a Huffington Post article that asked, quite simply, have we taken the common sense out of parenting?

I thought about it for a bit and then I realized that the only answer I could make was a heartfelt yes. Yes, we have taken the common sense out of parenting and almost everything else.

The author cites the plethora of how to parent articles, picture perfect family Pinterest boards, and women struggling under the yoke of self imposed slavery to try to make it all happen.

Common sense tells us that no one is going to post an image of their burnt dinner on Pinterest. They aren’t going to post images of their messy bedroom, or cloudy widows that haven’t been washed in years. People only post the best things about their lives whether that is parenting or a sparkling clean toilet.

Not one of us can live up to the parenting requirements we put on ourselves when we put too much stock in Pinterest, Facebook, and other social media.

We don’t trust our parenting instincts anymore, worry too much that we are going to cause our children lasting damage, and we listen to anyone who can post a perfect family portrait on their blog. We fail to remember that as humans we are not perfect and we can’t do it all. Not now, not ever.

I have successfully raised eight kids. The oldest is 32 and the youngest is 10. So far no one has been to jail, killed anyone, or spent excessive time on a psychiatric couch. I tend not to read stuff about how to parent. Sure, I write it but I try to give  people ideas and I try never to make my life out to be Pinterest-worthy. Trust me, it’s not.

Read all the articles you want. Pin the pretty pictures. Just remember, those images do not reflect your reality.

photo credit: Matteo Bagnoli via photopin cc

Alyssa Milano Shares Intimate Breastfeeding Photo

Posted on Oct 31, 2014 by No Comments

Alyssa Milano is one of those celebrities who seems to hang on to her down-to-earth persona amid success. She shares little insights into her private life with her fans, without branding herself and everything she touches like a Kim K.

On Monday, October 27, she posted an intimate photo on Instagram of herself breastfeeding her two-month-old daughter, Elizabella.

These days you never know what to expect when it comes to the topic of breastfeeding. Who would have ever thought something so natural would be controversial, but people do tend to hold strong views about where and when it should be done.

But Milano posted the black-and-white breastfeeding snapshot anyway, and the response from fans as been overwhelmingly positive with almost 24,000 likes.

One fan, ainalani_aloha, said, “Love the breast is best picture, way to represent! Breast milk is the best first perfect food!” And another fan, apadilla2824, echoed similar thoughts with, “Beautiful! Thanks for sharing. Nursing is a beautiful thing! 9 months in and love the bond. You are a great example for others out there.”

At 41, Milano has totally embraced motherhood and addresses issues related to being a mom on social media. She believes it’s a great way to raise support between moms rather than judgement.

Recently, she has tweeted about the difficulty of working out after you’ve given birth on Twitter saying, ““First time working out since having the baby (4 weeks ago). Dear lord. Everything hurts.” Hearing things like this from a celebrity reminds us that they are human just like us, and have to work to get back into shape, just like us.

Milano is totally committed to her role as mom and announced at the end of September that she will be leaving her starring role in the popular TV show, Mistresses, because the filming location has been changed from L.A. to Canada.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I have decided that I can’t relocate,” she said. “I have two babies under 4. Being a mother and wife comes first and I just cannot uproot my children and separate the family by moving away.” – Alyssa Milano website

Photo credits: Instagram

Link Round-up: Sweets, Fashion Talk, Things to Do with Toddlers, and More

Posted on Oct 30, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has cinnamon rolls, pumpkin pie, fashion talk, things to do with toddlers before they turn two, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie showed us how to make mini cinnamon rolls.

Mommypotamus taught us how to make maca energy bars.

Cupcakes and Cashmere shared what makes a basic wardrobe item an essential.

link ru pumpkin pie
I Heart Nap Time shared a pumpkin pie recipe.

Rookie Moms shared a list of things to do with toddlers before they turn two.

Babble took a humorous look at a kid-free employee’s complaint that parents “get” to take extra time off when their kids need something.

Mom-Blog offered tips for going dairy-free without losing your mind.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and I Heart Nap Time

Halloween Version of Elf on the Shelf

Posted on Oct 29, 2014 by 1 Comment

My kids were grown before the Elf on a Shelf craze started, but when my niece visited with her three children on the way to Disney last year, I was introduced to the rules of having one of these elves.

The children weren’t allowed to touch it or it would lose its magic, and while the elf wasn’t allowed to move or speak while people were around, it moved to a different location each night. Just what a mom of three (5 and under) needed to deal with on vacation, but I kept my lips zipped on that.

The Elf on the Shelf started as a storybook, and now it seems a new Halloween tradition has come on the scene in the same way with a book titled Switchcrafted.

Switchcrafted is a 20 page hardcover book with beautiful illustrations, an 8.5-inch witch doll, and a trick or treat bag.

The story introduces Switch Witches Ruby, Wanda, and Piper along with their helpers Sugar and Chewy and a new Halloween tradition of getting rid of all the sugary Halloween treats your children collect.

It encourages them to exchange their sweets for a healthier options – thus the title “Switchcraft.” I just learned about this, but I guess it goes on all October with the witch doll moving around to different places watching pre-Halloween activities much like the elf does before Christmas.

The Switchcrafted website offers ideas for ways to donate candy and provides ideas for healthy snack alternatives, along with games, activities and more. The idea behind the book is to help equip parents with a way to deal with the massive amounts of candy brought into the house following trick or treating.

While the idea might be fun, the practical side of me kicks in. As a parent we spend money on costumes and candy, let the kids go out and trick-or-treat, and then want them to give up their candy to the witches who need it for fuel. I’m not sure how that’s going to work.

Maybe if we want to limit their candy take, we could limit how many houses they visit on Halloween. I’d love to hear from parents out there to hear how this goes over with the kids. The giving up of their candy stash that is.

Photo credits: Amazon

Link Round-up: Fun Ideas for Halloween, a Superfood Smoothie, and More

Posted on Oct 28, 2014 by 1 Comment

Today’s link round-up has more fun ideas for Halloween, treats, a superfood smoothie, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie taught us how to make Butterfinger brownies.

A Beautiful Mess shared 13 fun ideas for Halloween.

Create Craft Love taught us how to make Halloween mini donuts.

link ru dry erase marker
Kenarry taught us how to remove dry erase marker from the wall.

I Heart Nap Time showed us how to make banana cream pie.

Crafts ‘n Coffee shared how to make a Halloween eyeball wreath that glows in the dark.

Mommypotamus gave us a chocolate peppermint superfood smoothie recipe.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and Kenarry

Superstitions About Babies

Posted on Oct 28, 2014 by 2 Comments

Back when my daughter was three months old, my husband and I made a visit to my great-grandparent’s farm to join in a brief vacation with extended family. Everyone was overjoyed to see my firstborn. It was an ideal way to show her off and catch up with everyone.

But there were little things I didn’t expect as a new mom, like superstitions my great-grandma believed.

For instance, according to her thinking, you didn’t cut your baby’s fingernails until after they were a year old. If I clipped them, my daughter would become a thief to Grandma’s way of thinking. Instead, I was supposed to bite her nails.

I admit I was a bit astounded that anyone could still think like that. She had others, like not showing your baby their reflection in the mirror or they’d grow up vain.

Believe it or not, people from different cultures still believe these kinds of things today. While my great-grandma had Irish roots, some cultures believe they need to protect babies from the evil eye.

This can be done by wearing a red or pink bracelet that can be worn around the wrist or neck, but you have to be careful that it isn’t a choking hazard. A red thread can work.

Another superstition I recently learned about has to do with someone complimenting your baby. The belief is that when someone says nice things about your child that they are actually jealous and sending bad thoughts your way. To thwart this just stick your thumb between your middle and fourth fingers and the power will be nullified.

Another way to chase away these bad vibes is to lick your baby’s face three times and then spit on the floor. Can you imagine doing that when someone tells you how cute your baby is? It sounds like something you might see on Saturday Night Live.

The evil eye superstition is also related to the belief that babies should not be taken out for the first 40 days.

There are many more superstitions regarding keeping babies safe and more, like washing their hair with wine if you want them to have curly hair. I’d love to hear what your family believed or believes.

Photo credits: Jess

Advertising to Children Is a Big Business

Posted on Oct 27, 2014 by 1 Comment

Did you know that the average American child watches 25,000 to 40,000 television commercials per year? This means that by the time the typical American graduates from high school, he or she has spent twice as many hours in front of a television than in a classroom.

Companies market to children because history has shown that is it effective. In the United States, $15 to $17 billion is spent each year on advertising targeted towards children — with $4 billion coming from the fast food industry alone.

The advertiser’s return on this investment is huge, however. Teens are estimated to spend $160 billion per year, while younger children spend about $18 billion per year.

One might think that children are only a factor in the purchase of toys and candy. However, even purchases that are not exclusively for children, such as the family car, are heavily influenced by their opinions.

James McNeal, a market researcher specializing in the children’s market, reports that SUVs rose in popularity once advertising helped children decided that it was no longer “cool” for Mom and Dad to drive them to school in a minivan.

Before I became a parent, I firmly believed that it was a matter of personal responsibility to limit your child’s exposure to advertising. However, I’m starting to realize that this is extremely difficult to do unless you live in an Amish community with no exposure to the outside world.

We don’t have cable TV at home, but my son still sees commercials while watching shows at Grandma’s house or when we visit a business that has a TV playing in the background. His favorite websites are filled with ads for toys and candy. There are even ads in each issue of the National Geographic Kids magazine his great grandparents got him for his birthday last year.

Are you bothered by how many ads your child sees in a typical day? Why or why not?

Photo credit: Stock.xchng

Do Smart Toys Make Our Kids Smart?

Posted on Oct 27, 2014 by No Comments

Technology is providing us with more and more Smart gadgets. Our smart phones know who we called, how long we talked, keeps track of all the phone numbers we need to know, and let us stay connected to social media and the web.

But if you lose your phone, how smart are you then?

I ask this because as Smart technology enters the world of play for our kids, I wonder if the toy’s abilities curb the use of the child’s imagination.

For instance, the Smart Wheels Train Station Playset from VTech is a motorized train set that runs along tracks and plays what they call “imaginative phrases” or music at each of ten Smart Locations.

It is designed to teach time concepts, colors, and phrases in English and foreign languages. It does other things, too, but for a toy designed for 1-5 year olds I wonder about developing the use of imagination!

Imagination
The first three to five years are critical developmentally, and currently there are no studies to show that SmartToys (as well as other educational toys) give kids an intellectual edge.

However, researchers have discovered that babies who are deprived of certain stimuli during the early years of life never totally recover from that lack of stimulation. It leads me to wonder if we are creating a generation of passive observers who like to be entertained, rather that kids who figure out how things work and use their imagination to come up with new ideas.

A growing body of evidence shows several connections between cognitive competence and high-quality pretend play. According to one study, it may “facilitate a higher-level of cognition,” and that there are “clear links between pretend play and social and linguistic competence.”

I say let the toys leave the smarts to the kids. Let them play pretend and grow to be our next generation equipped to think for themselves and dream rather than passive observers waiting to be entertained or told what to do.

Photo credits: AmazonRenee

Link Round-up: Avoiding Toxins, Healthy Meals, Fingerpainting with Starburst, and More

Posted on Oct 23, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has tips for avoiding toxins while pregnant, treats, healthy meals, a new fingerpaint idea, and more.

A Beautiful Mess shared a giant skillet brownie recipe.

Mind Body Green shared 14 tips for minimizing toxins while pregnant.

Bitz n Giggles showed us how to make a Snicker caramel apple dip.

link ru monogrammed pumpkin
Uncommon Designs Online showed us how to make monogrammed pumpkins.

Life a Little Brighter showed us how to make Starburst fingerpaint (that’s one idea for getting rid of the Halloween candy!).

Luv a Bargain shared a cilantro lime chicken with zucchini and spinach recipe.

Play Dates on Fridays took a look at some of the insecurities we have as parents and how they sometimes show up in daily conversations.

Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess and Uncommon Designs Online