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    July 23, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Move The Clothespin Over When The Chore Is Done

    Photo from Indulgy

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    July 22, 2014
    Child Discipline Blunders

    Raising a child is extremely difficult; the ups are amazing, but the downs can make you question everything you believe in sometimes. One of the hardest parts of parenting is discipline. You love your kids, hate yelling at them, but want them to grow into adults who can tell the difference between right and wrong. It’s especially hard for me: I hate confrontation, being aggressive (or even assertive), and I wish everyone could just get along. I’m a hippy-dippy feel-good idealist; and I’m extremely happy with who I am. The only problem is that it makes life difficult not everyone is on the same page as me. Honestly, I have no idea how to discipline kids. The idea of it makes me sick, but so does the idea of having spoiled, entitled, rude brats. For what NOT to do when disciplining a child, check out this post by Matt Jacobson at For The Family. It’s written from a Christian perspective, but I think parents of other faiths, or even secular parents can benefit from the advice:

    -Do not discipline in anger: it is extremely destructive in the long run

    -Do not discipline because of pride: punishing your kids to get a stranger’s approval is harmful

    -Do not discipline with continued condemnation after repentance: once they do the time, move on.

    -Do not discipline without listening: gather all information before handing out consequences.

    Photo Credit: Circa Sassy  (Isn’t it great?? Hahahaha!) 

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    July 21, 2014
    Raising Grateful Kids

    In my life, I’ve found that being grateful is a huge key to being happy. If you constantly focus on what is wrong with your life, wishing you had more money, more things, a different body, a different job– you’ll always be unhappy, and will never be satisfied no matter how much you improve yourself. Instead, I try to focus on what makes me fortunate: I have a roof over my head, a supportive family that loves me, food every day, my dream job, time to relax and create things, I’m relatively healthy– there are so many things I feel incredibly grateful for every day. In fact, just being alive is astounding. Do you know how nearly impossible that is? We’re the only planet (that we know of) with intelligent life– check out the Drake equation for all conditions that need to be met for a planet to support life– it’s almost impossible. Then, when you think about everything in the past that must have happened in order for you to be here: all your ancestors, all the decisions they made, all the chance encounters for thousands and thousands of years that has lead to you existing and being where you are now. It’s enough to make anyone grateful. There are plenty of ways to connect with your kids and make them understand feelings of gratitude as well. Teaching kids to be thankful for what they have will help them become happier, kinder people (and prevent them from becoming spoiled brats!) Check out this post by Debra Dane at Home Life Simplified for activities:

    • Create a gratitude journal – older children can write on their own / photograph things they are grateful for and younger ones can be part of a family journal
    • Reflect together on the best parts of their day – doing this regularly can help them pause and find the good in their days
    • Volunteer formally in your community if kids are old enough (preschoolers and primary kids can often get involved in  nature conservation or animal shelter assistance in many places)
    • Volunteer informally amongst your local community

    Photo Credit: Brianna Lehman 

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    July 17, 2014
    Unique Alphabet Teaching Idea

    Learning the alphabet is a pretty basic, albeit sometimes boring, process. First, you learn the ABC song. Then, you write and copy the letters over and over and over again, while sounding them out. You can’t do much besides repeat and memorize. However, there are ways to make this process more fun! Check out this idea by Jamie Reimer at Hands On As We Grow: A water letter lineup!

    Basically, she wrote a few random letters on a chalkboard.

    Then, she called out one of the letters.

    Her child would point to the correct letter on the board.

    If he got it right, he got to “erase” the letter with a squirt bottle of water.

    Apparently, he had a blast! What a great idea.

    Photo Credit: Phil Scoville 

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    July 16, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Sweet Newborn Photo Idea

    Photo from For The Love Of Megan

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    July 15, 2014
    Let’s Get Cooking! Letting Children Help In The Kitchen

    Learning to feed yourself is probably the most important life skill that you learn- and not everyone learns it. In fact, I’m still working on it big time. When my sister was born, my Grandma came to live with us to help out– so I basically grew up with my own personal chef. I love my Grandma more than anything, and her cooking is awesome…but I learned almost nothing about cooking. I can make a mean bowl of cereal, and I basically go to McDonald’s for every meal now. Anyway! To make sure your kids DON’T turn out like me, make sure to let them help in the kitchen. There are tasks that any age child can help with– as long as they have plenty of supervision. Check out this post by Tara Ziegmont at Feels Like Home Blog for tips:

    Give them tools that are similar to yours. Use small but real items for kids — a mini whisk, knives without a sharp edge, small mixing bowls with handles. Don’t give them toy utensils when you’re in the real kitchen.
    Ask them to help to clean up. Give them a spray bottle of water and dish detergent and a towel. Let them put trash in the garbage can.

    Show them how to tear or break food into pieces. This works well with things like spinach, lettuce, and mushrooms.
    Show them how to rinse fruits and vegetables

    Photo Credit: Rachel Tayse 

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    July 14, 2014
    Baby Crafts Galore

    I love, love, love trying out new crafts. I taught myself to crochet by watching Youtube videos, I scrapbook, I have an art journal, I write stories, sometimes I paint… The idea of creating something with my own hands is very satisfying. I also love babies! That’s why I was super excited to find this compilation by Kristina Manscill at Mothers Niche- it’s the ultimate list of baby crafts and tutorials- one for each week of pregnancy. Alternatively, these also make great gifts for showers- almost all of them are extremely practical and desperately needed. The best part is, most of them don’t require many skills, except for basic sewing. Check it out! Here are some of my favorites:

    Burp Cloths

    If you only do one “baby project” I would totally advise burp cloths! We go through these like CRAZY at our house!

    Breast Feeding Scarf or Nursing Cover

    I currently have nursing covers, but my heart is starting to sway towards the nursing SCARF! How cute that you can wear it and no one would even know it’s for nursing?!

    DIY Diaper Rash Cream

    Coconut oil is awesome for rashes!

     crochet beard or if you have a girl, DIY bows and flower clips

    If only I knew how to crochet! This thing is ridiculously cute!

    To be honest, I’d make that beard hat even if I did have a girl! It’s too stinking cute! The DIY flower clips are also adorable.

    Photo Credit: Shrie Bradford Spangler 

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    July 11, 2014
    Friday Fun Video: Super Cool Locker Decorations!
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    Middle and high schoolers will love this! My locker just had a bunch of smushed up papers in it, but this is gorgeous!

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    July 10, 2014
    Common Potty Training Mistakes

    All parents can’t wait until their babies are potty trained, but the training process itself can be a nightmare. Kids usually are pretty reluctant to learn- after all, pooping whenever you want and having someone else wipe it up for you is a pretty sweet deal. The idea is not that hard: you sit them on the toilet and teach them that’s the time to go. In reality though, it can be so, so difficult. To avoid a large chunk of tantrums and mess, check out this post by Anne at Zephyr Hill blog for common potty training mistakes:

    -Don’t be unrealistic- make no assumptions, try not to establish timelines.

    -Don’t pin all your hopes on friend’s and family’s advice- every child is different.

    -Don’t buy too much stuff- until you know what works for you

    -Don’t lose patience and don’t take it personally!

    Photo Credit: makelessnoise 

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    July 9, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Summer Sleepover Idea- Camping!

    Photo From Pinterest

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