Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Which Parenting Method should you Use?


These days, parenting methods are as numerous as the sands of the sea, and it can be confusing to parents who want to do what's best for their children.  Which method will work best?  Which methods are doomed to fail?  After reading many parenting books and through much experimentation, I have realized one truth.  Many parenting methods work for many different people.  There is not one "true" method.  You have to be willing to experiment with what works for your personality, and for your children's personalities.  Personally, I have patched together a parenting method using several different sources and techniques gleaned from books and people, as kind of a "middle road" approach that works well for my particular children.

There is one truth however, that will help ANY parenting method succeed....and that is consistency.  Your parenting methods will fail if you keep switching them around every other day and don't follow through on your rules every time.  If you aren't consistent with whatever method you choose, you will only confuse your children, and they will have a hard time being successful.

This means you and your husband have to be on the same page.  You have to agree on a parenting style and stick to it.  This is not to say you can never change.  But once you have determined what works, be consistent in how you follow through on rules and consequences...and do it together.  Do not undermine each other.  Talk together, plan and agree about your goals, and then put your plan into action.

When changes need to be made, discuss them together, and then WARN the children that you are about to make a change.  Tell them why.  Get them on board with what you are trying to do. Have them make suggestions.  Their "buy-in" will help your whole family in the long run.

Then, when everyone is on the same page, start your new or revised method, making sure to be consistent.  Children can sense weakness in your resolve, and being children, they will try to use that to their advantage, so be strong.  Believe enough in what you are doing that you want to follow through.  Sometimes I have to pray for strength to do this....and it's interesting that it always works.  Every time.

Consistency and love.  Those are the keys to success.  The parenting method is up to you.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Making your House a Home

I loved this from!  Just a little bit to do each day so it doesn't get overwhelming!

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Loved this!  A veggie cooking cheat sheet free printable!  Click the caption to go there!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

How to Budget in Crisis Mode

This was such an excellent article, I had to share it. (Click on the caption to read it).  We all have times like these.  Here are some tips my family uses when we need to cut down expenses:

1. Stop eating out.
2.  Make our own bread
3. Shop on Craigslist, ebay, or at 2nd hand boutiques or stores
4. Do our own home/car repairs after watching it done on Youtube videos
5. Cut my family's hair myself after watching it done on Youtube videos
6.  Cook homemade meals from scratch. (no prepackaged/precooked foods).
7. Buy meat on sale and plan meals around what's on sale that week.
8. Eat oatmeal or toast instead of expensive cereal.
9. Use cloth diapers.
10. Visit relatives for vacations and eat picnic lunches rather than at restaurants on the way.
11. Track all spending on  (awesome free budgeting website).

What kinds of things do you do in crisis mode?  If you are serious about saving these books:  The Tightwad Gazette Series.  They are my favorites!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How to Motivate your Kids to be Healthy without Bribery


Do you know about Web MD?  It is a great place to look up symptoms when your child is sick, but it also has a parenting section with GREAT articles.  Here is one about motivating your kids to eat healthy.  We have used the techniques in this article and here are five more:

1.  Make sure to cook at home instead of eating out.
2. Have your child plan and cook the healthy meals he likes with you.
3. Exercise as a family activity regularly.
4.  Make family vacations active like biking, hiking, skiing or swimming.
5. Make healthy food fun, by getting on pinterest to look for fun food ideas like veggie christmas trees and pizza mummies.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Funny Kid Quote of the Day


My friend's daughter said to her yesterday, "Mom, if you don't do this for me, you're fired."

Monday, October 13, 2014

Crib Sleeping VS. Co-Sleeping


I have to admit, I've always been a proponent of crib sleeping as I think it helps the child to be happier when they can soothe themselves to sleep. But, I also have to admit, in the quest for rest, I have let my babies sleep with me until they were ready to cry it out.  So I guess I am half and half on the issue.  I did use a side sleep baby holder for safety, as I didn't want the baby to roll, but I've noticed they've come out with NEW products, to help with baby safety, like this "By your side" sleeper.

Still, I think the sooner the baby can sleep on their own the better, as the older they get, the harder it is to wean them from this practice.  It's worth a little crying now, to avoid a HUGE battle later.  And my babies were always happier when they could do it themselves.

However, I know there are babies out there with stubborn temperaments, so each family must decide what's best for them.

Read this article from Parents Magazine and tell us what side you are on and why.

Friday, October 10, 2014

10 ways to Find Joy in Motherhood


Does this seem impossible?  Does your life feel like one never-ending stream of giving consequences and feeding, chasing, and changing?  There are ways to find joy in the mundane parts of motherhood, and there are also ways to help you feel fulfilled.  Here are some of the ways mothers I know have done it over the years.

1.  Exercise:  One word.  Endorphins.  I started swimming laps recently and I am scaring people with my cheerfulness, especially right after I swim.  It really helps keep your mood up.

2.  Eat Healthy:  I can tell when I'm not eating healthy because I feel tired and blah.  Eating healthy will help you to get more joy, and feel more energy to do the things that will bring you that joy.

3. Don't be too busy:  This causes stress that will stop your enjoyment of motherhood.  Be a guardian of your precious time.  Stand up for your family and say no to things that will distract you all from the joy of spending time together.

4.  Plan outings:  Getting out of the house each day with the kids will get you into the sunshine and soaking up that vitamin D that is so good for you.  Take day trips and family vacations.   Do it with a friend so you can have some human contact other than your kids.   It really helps...and it makes life more fun.

5. Lower your expectations:  Do not expect to finish your whole list.  Do not think your house has to be spotless.  Do not feel like your kids have to be perfect.  Just be happy if you get a few things done and your children are happy.  There is a time when you will be able to finish that list, but right now, try to enjoy those little ones before they grow older and don't want to spend time with you.

6.  Listen to Music:  This is a huge mood lifter, and it can bring a feeling of peace into a busy home.  Or some upbeat music can help chores be more fun, especially if you are dancing with your little ones while you clean.

7.  Make a list of things you want to learn.  Just because you're no longer in school doesn't mean you can't keep learning.  Make a bucket list of things you want to learn, like playing the oboe, painting a room, writing an article, making stained glass art, gardening etc...  You will find little nooks and crannies during the day, like during naptimes, that you can start reading books or watching tutorials, and even practicing new skills.  This will make you feel like you are still doing things for yourself.

8.  Create something:  I love this video that talks about the joy of creating.

9.  Read Parenting books.  Your happiness grows when you feel more confident that you are doing the right thing with your children.

10.  Smile.  It works.  Smile at your children.  Laugh with them and chuckle at family mishaps.  See the glass half full.  Make a gratitude journal.  Help other people.  Invite a friend over.  When you proactively look for the blessings in your life and help others, you will begin to feel happier.

Here's another article about Happiness in Motherhood:  17 Habits of Very Happy Moms

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

5 Ways to Make your Husband Feel Loved

This was such a great article.  Click on the caption to read it.  I always think the best way to make children feel secure is to have a stable marriage.  And don't think a high conflict marriage can't be stable.  The thing that makes a stable marriage is that there is a ratio of 4 positive interactions for every negative interaction.  So your marriage may be just as stable as the neighbors who never fight.  It all depends on that ratio.  The above article contains ideas for positive interactions.

And here are some more:

1. Do something HE wants to do.  Even if it's a Roller Derby.
2. Be interested in his work.  Even help him with it, if that's a possibility.
3.  Try not to criticize.  Be a cheerleader.  Let him do it wrong and praise the good things.  Be happy that he's willing to help.  Never criticize his character.
4.  Have regular dates.  This is more important than you realize.  Keep it up, even if it's not convenient.  This keeps you connected.
5.  Go on vacations alone every once in awhile if possible, even if it's once every three years.  This can build important connections and bonding.
6. Find out your husband's love language and speak it often.  It may be just having dinner ready when he comes home.
7. Work together on projects.  Some extrovert husbands need company as they do projects.  Some don't like company, so use your judgement.
8. Support them at their work functions.  I am bad at this, I have to admit, but some husbands like to have their wives in attendance at their work parties and functions.  It makes them feel more confident.  So I've tried to become better over the years.

Monday, October 6, 2014

7 Phrases a Parent Should Never Say Again

I LOVED this article from  So thought provoking!  Click on the caption below to read it.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Ten tips for Helping with Homework


Last week at about 10 pm we were facing total meltdown in our home because one of our children had forgotten about an assignment that was due the next day.  She begged me to do the assignment for her because her stress level was so high.  How can we help our children develop skills for independent study and organization so this kind of thing doesn't happen?

1. First, realize that meltdowns and mistakes are going to happen.  This is sometimes how children need to learn.  They will make mistakes, but these are opportunities for us to teach them important lessons that they will remember.   Be patient.                                    

2. Never do an assignment for a child.  You can lend support without doing things for your child.  It is important to their school success to help them learn independence.

3.  Teach them how to find things in their book.  This has been the most successful tactic in our family.  Many times children are just overwhelmed by all the information they have to sift through.  If you teach them about how to skim through to the right chapter and section to find their answer, they are empowered to find the information themselves.  You may have to be patient as they practice this skill until they believe they can do it.

4.  Teach children to use a calendar or Agenda to record what is assigned each day.  Some children who have iphones take pictures of the assignments on the board.  Other children use agendas.  We've had great success with this, but we've had to teach the kids how to use it, and remind them often to keep it up.  They will make mistakes, but over time, they will get the hang of it.  Help them break big projects down into little steps and put the steps on their agenda.

5.  Make children type their own papers.  This is an important skill that only comes through practice, so they need to have many opportunities to type.  This means you will have to remind them to start the assignment early so they won't be under the gun if they are slow at typing.

6. Teach them to communicate with their teachers themselves and go in for help when they need it.  When you don't do this for them, it builds their confidence, and communication with the teacher raises the likelihood of their success.

7. Make sure there is a place where they can do homework and supplies available.  It's best to keep computers in the main living area so you can monitor their use.  However, be sensitive to whether your child does homework better in private or in the family area.

8. Lend moral support.  Sometimes children just need some cheerleading, or even just some company.  Be willing to take time out to do this.  Regularly have your child check their school progress online, and so they can see if they have missing assignments.

9. If you are teaching them a concept, first have them find it in the book and read it out loud to you.  They may begin to understand it when they do this.  If not, at least you will be teaching it the way the teacher does at school, so as to avoid confusion.  Be patient as you teach concepts.  You may have to try several different ways.  Never get angry as you teach.  Walk away and come back to it later if you find yourself losing patience.

10. Get them enough folders that they will have one for each class.  Teach them how to stay organized.  It is important that they stay organized in order to not lose assignments.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Parenting Humor

This is what happens when you turn your back for one second....