Thursday, November 4, 2010

How I make it through
First let me tell you that it's been really crazy around here with my daughter's birthday and then a close family friend going into the hospital with brain cancer. To say the least it's been rough these past few months.
And to add to that, my daughter has been teething all 4 molars and all 4 canines at the same time! Now you wonder how I make it through all of these. I'd say, I have a few secrets, but really, they are all from the recommendations of mama's I know. :)
First, nursing... For us, this works wonders, she calms down and finds comfort in being close to me. I think it lets her know that I understand she is hurting and I'll do anything to help her. We have definitely added sessions on. We went from 3 a day to about 5 sometimes 6 a day, I don't mind though. :)
Second, I absolutely have to say AMBER! I know a ton of people who don't believe in it, but I'm telling you that it works. I have barely noticed a difference in my daughters behavior through the times of teething. The first two teeth were without it and they were horrible, nothing worked, tylenol, teething tablets, nursing, we tried it all, that includes the long car rides to help her sleep, nope. So we decided we had nothing to loose and bought some from Baltic Creations (link at bottom of page) and it seriously has worked wonders. The last set of teeth she got in was 6 of them and I didn't even know until they were all the way through the skin, these were the same way. Nothing compares to the Amber she has and the benefits of it don't hurt at all either. You can look at Liana's page (Baltic Creations) to read about all the different choice of colors and the benefits of the different stones she uses. :)
Lastly, give her anything and everything (safe of course) to chew on. I have tried to keep everything safe for her to put in her mouth through this time because it seems like the strangest things comfort her. The block from her set, the random ball she has and her thumb have been a few of them. :)
And lastly, I can say don't tell them no unless it will harm them. You have to remember (as do I sometimes) that these feelings are all new to them and they are learning slowly how to adjust to them. Don't get frustrated by the screams, that's them telling you they hurt. Comfort them, let them know your on their side, & love on them. You will look back on these time and cherish the memories of it whether you believe it now or not.

Also, BIG GIANT HUGS to all the families experiences the rough time of new teeth with their little ones, it will pass and your happy baby will be back!
I hope this helps you to remember you aren't alone.
From one Mama of a teething toddler
Link to Baltic Creations:
Getting Ready for the Holidays!
As a crunchy mama getting ready for Christmas, I have decided that all of the gifts I give this year are going to either be homemade, upcycled or second-hand, or purchased from WAHMS.
I challenge you to set the same goal for your family! And to get you started, here is a link to Just Hatched & Attached's (my store) store page!
Here's a discount code, just for reading our blog! Enter "BLOG" when you purchase from Just Hatched & Attached and get FREE SHIPPING until Nov. 25th!!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Making Play Doh

I'm going to be making some of this during the week and will hopefully be able to add some pictures of our adventure for you to see. I hope you enjoy this as it's a lot of fun to make and play with. It will harden and you can even save the beautiful items your children make if you'd like.

1 C Flour (not self rising)
1/2 C Salt
1 C Water
1 Tblspn Veggie Oil
1 1/2 Teaspoon Cream of Tarter

Add some drops of food coloring or Kool Aid (this will make it smell nice too).

Mix it all into a saucepan together until it begins to stick together & roll into a ball.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bento Lunches
My 6 yr old son Andrew is beginning 1st grade this year- next week actually! He has a peanut and a tree nut allergy, so he will not be able to eat the lunches they serve at school. I decided to make it fun for him, and to get him to eat healthier foods than they sell in the school, I am going to buy him a Bento style lunch carrier, and make his lunch fun! I am really going to love experimenting with his lunches and seeing how he reacts.
My main goal for my family is making sure that we eat healthy. Knowing that I am making his lunch means that I know exactly what he is eating, and I know that its good for him.
Please check back for my experience with this challange!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Steel Cut Oats
If you love oatmeal as much as I do, and you haven't tried steel cut oats yet, you must!!
Steetl cut oats are oats that have been cut into a few pieces rather than being rolled. So they are not flat like your typical oat flakes. The consistency of the oatmeal is a little creamier than regular oatmeal as well, and a little chewy. They take longer to cook as well, up to 30 minutes, but its sooo worth it! I was actually able to find a quick cook version and it only takes 5-7 minutes to cook!
After they cook, I pour them into the bowl and add some butter and brown sugar! Yum!! Even my daughter loves to share them with me!
Steel cut oats are very healthy. You are getting a serving of 100% whole grains! They are also an excellent source of fiber and protein, so its a great way to begin your day!
There are so many versions of oats out there. Be sure that you pick a carton that says "Irish Oats", "steel cut" or even "coarse cut oats".
When feeding your children, you want to ensure they are getting 100% whole grains. Skip the flavored oatmeals in the stores. Grab a carton of steel cut oats and you can tailor it to their liking by adding in butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and even sprinkles. My son loves sprinkles in his oatmeal!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Raising mindful children with effective gentle discipline
I am a mom of 4 children, and I am bound and determined to get at least one of them to listen to myself and my husband! I have decided to use "gentle discipline" on our youngest. As I have gotten older, I feel that I am able to tolerate more, and its easier for me to "keep my cool" even with a busy household.
If you aren't sure what gentle discipline is, it is basically speaking softly and kindly to your child, while telling him/her "no" and then using positive reinforcement and redirection. By using force (spankings), you are sending them mixed messages. If you are trying to discipline your child for hitting a sibling, why would you spank your child and tell them that its not OK for them to hit their brother or sister? What that little brain is hearing is "Its not ok for you to express yourself through force but its ok for me to hit you". The gentle discipline approach would have you tell your child no, explain why it is not nice to hit, and then if they are of age to speak, you have your child appologize for their actions.
You also cannot discipline a baby, because they are not able to understand their actions. You would just remove them from the situation and place them in a safer spot. You can begin using gentle discipline with toddlers, so as they grow, they become more aware.
Schedules and Routines: If you are anything like me, I love to be on time and keep things scheduled and flowing. I cannot depend on people to wait on me and my family. If we are due to arrive somewhere, I always try to allow at least an hour where I can tell the kids "Ok, we have to leave in an hour, so let's get dressed." Once the kids are dressed, we ask them 1 at a time to brush their teeth. Once teeth are done, then 1 by 1 they go and use the bathroom before getting in the car. By this time we are probably around 20 mins til we have to get in the car, so I have them get their shoes on. By the time they finish monkeying around, it is nearly time to get in the car! Bottom line is, if you can maintain a schedule and be consistant, you make it easier on yourself. Always be sure to call out "5 minutes until we are leaving" so that when its time to walk out the door, they are already forewarned.
Be Blunt: If you want your child to mind you, you have to lay it all out there for them in plain english. If you want them to clean their plate from the table, you need to tell them "Please get your dish and put it into the sink." There is no confusion there. You are telling them specifically what you want them to do. If they do not respond to your command, then prep them with a warning stating that they have 1 more chance, or they lose a privelage (something as simple as no snack after dinner).
Since my daughter is only 1, I have her doing simple tasks, such as bringing me a toy that she has tossed onto the floor so that we can put it away together. Ever since she was able to crawl, she would pick up little pieces of fuzz or whatever she could find on the ground, and put it straight into her mouth. I would say "Ackie! Give that to mama please" and then I would take it out of her mouth. Now when she finds a piece of something on the ground, she picks it up and walks it over to me! Constant repeating has shown her that she shouldn't pick up something from the ground and put it in her mouth. Now, of course she still does put things in her mouth, but she's getting better!
It's never too early to have them clean up their toys!! Once your child is walking, have them help you clean up their toys. When I am cleaning up Emmaleigh's toys, I will point to something and say "Can you hand that to mama please" and she will look all over, all around at everything besides the object that I am wanting. lol But I just point and repeat "Can you get mama that doll over there please?" and she will eventually understand and get it. Then I say "yay! Thank you!" and we clap our hands.

Oh, Once a Month Cooking, how I love thee!
How many of you reading this want to feed your family wholesome meals? (Okay, yes, I see you nodding to yourself.) How many of you feel like there is NEVER enough time to get everything done, including cooking supper and cleaning up afterwards? (Again with the nodding...very good, very good.) Well, I have a solution.

I had heard of Once A Month Cooking (OAMC) and knew that it sounded like a good idea, but I had never taken the leap required to try it out. WOW! Had I been missing out!? What's better than having homemade Alfredo Chicken Penne with garlic bread and only having to run the microwave and put places and utensils in the dishwasher? At my house, NOTHING!

So I know you're thinking, is it really possible? How do I actually do this? I'm here to help you out, step by step!

Step 1. Pick a day that you will cook. Plan to have someone keep the children for the day, unless they are great at occupying themselves.
Step 2. Make a list of items your family loves or would like to try (I would encourage only trying 1 or 2 new recipes--just to keep things easy).
Step 2. Break down that list into a list of what ingredients you need for each dish.
Step 3. Check the cupboards, freezers, etc. for these items.
Step 4. Make a list of which items you are still in need. Don't forget disposable metal pans (if you want to use them), aluminum foil, plastic wrap, baggies, etc!
Step 5. Make a trip to the grocery.
*Note: If you shop like I do--stocking up on Sale items, but not ever buying at regular price--you will want to plan ahead each month/week and be buying those items you will need for your OAMC.
Step 6. Next day--Begin cooking!!!

As far as the cooking goes, it will be much easier if you plan to make all like dishes at once. For example, I made breakfast first. I cooked all of my sausage patties first. Then I browned all my sausage for burritos next. While I was doing this, I had eggs cooking in the microwave for burritos and biscuits in the oven for sausage biscuits. Make all chicken dishes at the same time, make all beef dishes at the same time. If you're going to need 1 lb. of ground beef for 5 dishes, cook all 5 lbs at once and divide later.

Planning ahead and multitasking are your best bet when it comes to OAMC!! Another idea would be to ask a friend or family member to help and split the meals! I can tell you from experience, an extra set of hands would have gone a LONG way!

The most important thing is to not be overwhelmed by the thought of it. Jump in! That's the only way you'll ever try it! I can tell you, I won't be going back to the hassle of trying to figure out what to cook every night. I love going to the freezer in the morning and thawing out a homemade supper!

Good luck with your cooking adventure!!