Google+ Authentic Parenting: December 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

Quote Of The Day

"All mammals seek a safe place to give birth. This 'nesting' instinct may be due to an increase in levels of prolactin, which is sometimes referred to as the nesting hormone. At this stage, as you may have observed with your cat, interference with the nest — or more importantly with the feeling of safety — will stall the beginning of labour." 
~ Sarah Buckley, MD


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Peaceful Parenting Toolbox: #2: Deal With It

Whenever your child does something that doesn't sit well with you, or frustrates you, or makes you angry, the first reaction would be to sigh, to get angry, to yell, to scold, to do many an emotional thing...

The common denominator in all these actions is that they do nothing to change the situation. All they do is
a) escalate your negative feelings about what's happened
b) make your child feel bad

Instead of responding with frustration and anger, instead of letting these emotions take over and create clashes out of small incidents, get off your but and deal with it.
Your child has spilt something? Clean it up, maybe ask your child to help.
Something's broken? Repair or remove
Your child yells? Let him yell it out and congratulate him for dealing with his emotions.
Your child is upset? Don't get frustrated, help him deal, give him a hug, guide him the way he needs you to guide him at that moment in time.

Cleaning up a broken vase isn't a big effort, cleaning up broken spirits is.


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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Quote Of The Day

‎"There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them." 
~Denis Waitley via Dr. Tenpenny on Vaccines


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Adventures in the Blogosphere

There's days that I wonder why on earth I am putting myself through all this trouble of getting articles out there every day, most of which I write myself. There are days - like when stats are low (although I swore to myself I wouldn't watch them anymore) or when you get nasty comments  - that you wonder what's the point.
And then you get this one beautiful comment that makes it all worth while. Or - as happened recently - you get this big organization that contacts you and says that they have some products to give away to people who are doing something great, and that they chose you.
That's how I got this magnificent smartphone from Nokia.

Can you imagine me with a smartphone? My last phone I got for 15 euro's in Africa... even the Africans found my phone very sad.
So I have been getting to know the things since early morning and keep wondering that maybe it's too pretty and I should just hang it on the wall and look at it. Even the box it came in was gorgeous. And the wrapping of the phone was a children's pop up book... Doesn't get any cooler than that.

So yes... there is happiness in this part of the blogosphere :-)



PS on more happy bloggy news, I have a guest post up at Raising My Boychick about underwear


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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Successful parents are often the ones willing to be wrong, willing to apologize and willing to move on. They know that one of the signs of a great leader, and parent, is the ability to regularly step aside and become a great listener and follower. 
- Kelly Matzen via Positive Parenting on Facebook


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Medicinal Marihuana And Parenting

After publishing "Parenting in Pain", I got this email message from a reader. Given the topic, she
preferred to remain anonymous.

I have severe chronic pain from migraines. Uncontrollable. Pain so bad I vomit. Almost all the time. The doctors prescribe me pain killers and such (which I really really don't like taking) that I will use only if I have to. I've trialled almost everything known to man to prevent them without success.
However. There is one thing that helps me. Helps me stay peaceful. Relaxed. Even during the pain. It doesn't mask the pain or numb me out and make me loopy like pills. It just helps me deal with it better and in a calm manner. Marijuana. Not a lot. Just a puff or two. Keeps me from losing my cool with my kids when I am at my limits with pain. Makes the pain "just pain" and not a life consuming, agonizing state of being that I cannot escape. I don't know the laws in most places, but where I am, I have obtained a medical permit to possess and use (grow if I choose). I don't drive on it. I don't make major decisions while under the influence. but I do Breastfeed. I know who grows what I smoke (The little I do smoke). I know there are no chemicals or other drugs added. I don't smoke in the presence of my children. I believe it is less harmful than taking a vicodan. It's a homeopathic herb with pain relieving properties. It works. It's therapeutic.  
My OB knows. My Children's Pediatrician knows. My Lactation Consultant knew. They all feel the same way ( Although they could not say that until they were informed it was legal for me to use. ) They all think it's a safe and therapeutic homeopathic medicine. 
Aforero on Flickr
If you would, repost this without my name, anonymously. I would really like to know what the Mommy community thinks. This is a subject I have NEVER seen on any Mom Blog before. Thank you.
Since it is indeed a topic that doesn't get any attention, I decided to repost this, as requested, to get your opinion about it. I know many of you are avid readers and I was wondering if maybe someone had links to articles about the topic.
Personally I am very open-minded about Marihuana - I am Belgian after all - and I can't see the harm in rationally using it medicinally. Nor would I see a problem in using it recreationally when not pregnant/breastfeeding and when used wisely, same as alcohol, which - like smoking - is a much more dangerous drug to me, but which is fully legal.



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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists." 
~Eckhart Tolle


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It's Never OK And If It Is, It Is Despite You

It seems as if people always find something to pick on other people's children. Either they are too shy, or they don't play alone enough, or they aren't social. Or they are too loud - too quiet, they speak too much or say too little.
Shouldn't she be wearing a sweater? Shouldn't she be dressed?  Will you really allow her to eat/drink that?
People are constantly gossiping about other people's children - even in front of those children - and they don't even spare the parents their piece of mind.

It's like suddenly all children are common ground.

Yet on the other hand. Those times when your child is being nice *rolls eyes*, when they are behaving in a manner that pleases the general public, then it has nothing whatsoever to do with the way you as a parent raise them. Oh no, in fact, if you dare say your child behaves that way because you let your child be a child, then you'll get an avalanche of objections. Of course not. That has nothing whatsoever to do with it! It's in their character. Maybe it's even because of where you live, but your parental skills certainly can't be responsible for any of that.

Painting by Artemisia Gentileschi

How do people get the idea that they can simply ask these questions, put these statements out there and blatantly judge everything we do, say and think... Everything our children do say and think. Especially because they're not necessarily doing a better job, or did a better job.



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Monday, December 27, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. 
~ Judy Garland via I'm a Full-Time Mummy


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Just Relax-The practice of Yoga Nidra, Part II

Written by Indra Singh

This post is part one of a two part article, read last week's post about yoga nidra and the family.




THE PRACTICE


  • Lying in shavasana, cover the body to keep warm. Let the legs be straight and the feet naturally relax to the sides – this helps to opens the hips. Rest the arms straight by your sides with the palms facing upwards. This will relax the shoulders and open the heart. Take a deep breath in and raise the head off the mat drawing the chin into the chest, lengthening the back of the neck. Place the head back on the mat and feel the spine straight and long.
  • During this practice do your best to stay awake, staying conscious and aware throughout.
  • Begin to feel a sense of relaxation throughout the whole body from the tips of the toes all the way up to the top of the head. Every time you exhale, let go just a little bit more. Surrender yourself to the earth, trust that the earth will take all your body-weight, and every time you feel yourself relaxing know that it is a chance to give yourself permission to relax a bit more.
  • Let go… feel yourself sinking further and further and further.
  • 1 minute’s silence
  • At this point we will make a “resolve” – a short positive statement that is personalto who you are. Discover this statement naturally without any effort or too much thought, and repeat it three times to yourself with total awareness. (This may be as simple as “I am happy”.)
  • pause
  • Now let the resolve disappear like a puff of smoke, knowing that it will come true as it is part of a deep yoga nidra practice.


AWARENESS


  • We will now become aware of each part of our body, and as each part is repeated silently, suggest that it relaxes.
  • Start by taking your awareness to your toes. Relax your two big toes and then slowly work along until you reach your little toes…relax.
  • pause
  • Relax the tops of the feet, the soles of the feet and the heels… relax the whole foot.
  • pause
  • Let your awareness move up into the ankles, relax each tiny bone in the ankle joints… relax the ankles.
  • pause
  • Relax the whole of the lower leg, the knees and the large muscles in the thigh… relax the whole leg.
  • pause
  • Start to take your attention upwards relaxing the buttocks and the whole of the pelvis. Feel any tension you have releasing down into the earth, let it go.
  • Relax the lower back, middle back and the upper back…. let go, let go, let go.
  • Release all tension, and troubles and any anxieties…. relax
  • pause for 30 seconds
  • Relax your abdomen, your rib cage and the upper chest, letting go of any tension in the shoulders, upper arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, tops of the hands, palms of the hands, relax each thumb and finger individually.
  • take 1-minute pause
  • Let us now relax the neck and the throat. Soften the facial muscles all the way up too the top of the head.
  • Take pleasure in this feeling, knowing that you don’t have to do anything or be anywhere. All you have to do is listen, relax and let go.
  • take 1-minute pause


  • As you become aware of the relaxation in every part of the body, begin to feel that every part of the body is melting, from the toes all the way up to the crown of the head.
  • As you feel this warm sensation of melting, on an out-breath release all tensions and worries to mother earth, and as you inhale fill your body full of positive light. 
  • Breathe the light deep down into the core of your being. (This light can be any colour you choose.)
  • Exhaling: releasing the negative.
  • Inhaling: filling the whole of your being with positivity.
  • As the breath grows deeper relax a little bit more. Inhaling, expanding the light, let it grow brighter and allow this light to expand beyond your physical body on the mat, and take it into the space around you until you are totally submerged in a beautiful glowing light.
  • Surrender into the light.
  • You are peace, love and light.
  • Be who you are.


  • Let go of all resistance.
  • take 1-minute pause
  • Slowly begin to bring yourself back and become aware of the resolve that you made at the beginning of the practice.
  • Repeat it three times with three long slow deep breaths.
  • When you have finished say to yourself three times: “I am relaxed and free from tension.”
  • Become aware of your five senses. Keep your eyes closed and first of all become aware of your sense of hearing, listening to sounds in the room and outside the room.
  • take 30 seconds’ pause
  • Be aware of the taste in your mouth, and as you deepen the breath become aware of your sense of smell.
  • Gently move the fingers and the toes, circling the hands and the feet to work the wrists and the ankle joints, becoming aware of your sense of touch.
  • When you are ready, inhale and stretch your arms above your head, flexing your feet and still keeping your eyes closed.
  • Bring the palms of the hands together and the soles of the feet together and rub them as fast as you can to bring the energy back. Place the warm palms over the closed eyes and take three long slow deep breaths, then open the eyes under the palms and let the energy from the hands flow into the eyes. Open the fingers and slowly take the hands down the face to let in the light.
  • When you are ready, place your hands behind your knees and rock along the spine backwards and forwards. Come to easy pose, legs crossed and hands in prayer pose in front of the heart centre.


Sat Nam…. . truth is my identity.

Indra is a Yoga teacher, mother and writer and has published various articles on the importance of yoga for children and the family.
Her mission is to educate people from the heart; especially children, about the wonders of yoga practice and how it can benefit and balance us on all levels and that learning the basic yoga tools to support everyday living is of vital importance in today’s society.
Find Indra on these websites: indrasinghyoga.comchapatis and potatoeswww.elephantjournal.comhttp://www.the-nri.com/
Indra on Twitter & Facebook 


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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday Surf


  • In "How To Support Breastfeeding Without Demonizing Formula", Nine Davids offers a multitude of possibilities for approaching Lactivism with a positive mindset.
  • To continue the breastfeeding theme, Joni Rae writes about how confident she got about 'flashing her boobs', and with every susequent child, nursing in public got easier. "Seriously, my breasts are in more pictures floating around the vast depths of the internet than most porn stars. These gals of mine get around. You can see them on twitter, my blog, and facebook, in movie theaters, grocery stores, bank and post office lines. They’ve been “out” in truck stops, parks, zoos, museums, and every darn restaurant I’ve stepped foot in over the last four years."
  • A not by Birth Sense on Facebook urges us to be more respectful to cesarian mothers.
  • Kelly investigates what it is about attachment parenting that makes family life more peaceful, on Attachment Parenting International..
  • Kate Kripke writes a moving article on postpartum depression.“Postpartum mood disorders are absolutely treatable.  And suffering moms who reach out, accept support, and follow treatment recommendations by trained professionals do see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
  • Kristen from Adventures in Mommyhood writes about her concerns on how her own self image will influence that of her daughter.
  • Holiday-inspired natural cleaning options on The Nourished Life.
  • "Breech Babies Are Another Variation of Normal" on Birth Without Fear is a very good read, something to bookmark for when you need it.
For more Sunday Surfing, visit Wife, Mom And MoreMama and Baby LoveGems of DelightEnjoy BirthBreastfeeding Moms Unite, Domesticated Women, This Adventure Life, Maman A Droit, Hobo Mama and Baby Dust Diaries.
If you've joined the surfing fun over at your blog, leave a comment below, and I will add a link to it in the next edition of Sunday Surf. Feel free to add the Sunday Surf button to your blog, you can find it on the right side of this page or under the Sunday Surf tab.


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Friday, December 24, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Be gentle first with yourself if you wish to be gentle with others. 
~ Lama Yeshe


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Merry Christmas!


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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Quote Of The Day

"Great spirits have always experienced violent opposition from mediocre minds."
- Albert Einstein


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How To Deal With Infertility During The Holidays

Written by Carina Freeman

christmasstockimages.com
Tis the season, it's time for family gatherings, neighborhood parties, and work place get-togethers. Going to the shopping mall to grab a gift just to realize the malls are filled with little kids waiting for a picture with Santa Clause. Seeing your siblings and cousins with their children can remind you of what you don't have. This time of the year can also remind us that our family building has not gone the way we imagined. So what do you do when family members' fire questions your way that you're not ready to answer. Like, "Why haven't you had kids?" or"Why don't you have another?"

Coping with infertility is extremely difficult, and you'll be lucky if you have any friends and family that really understand. For the most part, I don't think anyone means to hurt our feelings, but they simply don't know what it's like. They may want to support us, but not know how.

Remember, it's ok to feel sad. Maybe you need to leave early, or come late to the function, then do that. If you need to hide in the bathroom and cry, or to avoid holding a baby, don't feel like it makes you into a bad person. All it means is that you're human, with real feelings -- feelings that just about every couple who has gone through infertility understands. On the other hand if you want to hold every baby at the holiday function, I'm sure the parents wouldn't mind. Someone told me they keep a glass of wine in their hand during a function, It tends to stop people from asking "why don't you have kids" as well as they don't need to come up with an excuse like "I have a cold" to keep the babies away.

Some of us feel sad or even depressed that we are childless. Express those feelings. Remember it's ok, you are a woman with real feelings. Faking feelings will, in the end, merit feelings of low self-worth, a sense of phoniness, and outright isolation at times. If we can't own what's bothering us, it will not simply go away on its own.

A few things you can do, get a massage — yes, you deserve it! You're in the sisterhood of us who have gone through infertility. Try aroma therapy. Go to a bookstore and purchase a beautiful journal. Write, color, draw, cry into it. Consider it a mental spa between two covers. Open up to someone, start with one person. Tell them what it is like for you to be infertile during a season when you might feel obligated to be happy.

Larry D. Moore, used under a Creative Commons ShareAlike License
EAT- Chocolate (in moderation of course). Eat lean protein; it is helpful for many patients affected by infertility, especially patients with PCOS. Try new sources of protein like some of the new preparations of seasoned nuts (a palm-ful only per day or per your health provider's recommendation), hummus or even give tofu a try.

Be prepared with answers. The why you don't have kids (or why you haven't had another) are bound to come up. Put YOU first. Your mind and body health are of the utmost importance. Have a very happy and safe holiday season.

About Carina



I am a certified wellness fertility coach.
I am there for every aspect of a woman/couples infertility journey. If advice is needed, I give advice so they can become clear and centered in every aspect of their life...not just their fertility. I give suggestions about their next treatment so the couple can feel confident about what is ahead. I give positive encouragement when they are feeling down, or if they just someone to talk to who understands. My primary job is making sure they are ready for a baby mind and body...specializing on the mind and helping them "create" the life they deserve. www.holdyourhandfertilitycoach.com


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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Quote Of The Day

‎"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these." 
~George Washington Carver via Denver Doula


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Sunscreen Anyone?

While we’ll be freezing our butts off in Belgium, our South-African and Australian friends - among others - are having cocktails in the sun, so while this post might be less relevant to all of you living in the northern hemisphere, I thought it would still be interesting to post it now for all of you Southern hemisphere likeronies (Hi there!).

I often get this question, and it has been something that’s on my mind - and which I read into quite extensively - since we are white folk living in a tropical region: what to do about sunscreen?

Sun bathing by Pedro Simoes

‘t Is true, we have all been led to believe that exposure to sunlight is dangerous and we should smear layer upon layer of sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. But isn’t sunscreen chemical and thus dangerous in itself?
Here’s what I have found out about sun protection so far.

Generally, I don’t think sun exposure is much of a problem, at least if you live in a region where your skin has adapted to - evolutionary speaking. And as long as you expose yourself in a natural manner (by which I mean that hamburger style baking might be a bit much). The real problem arises when we expose ourself to sunlight which isn’t what we are used to, which is the case - specifically - for many of the white South-Africans and Australians, and for people like me, who live in a region other than their own (and of course if you’re holidaying over at the seychelles, for which I’ll be very envious indeed).

First of all, there are two types of sunscreen: chemical and mineral. The chemical ones you can find just about anywhere and in every price range, the mineral ones are generally only available within the range of organic skin care products.

Chemical sunscreens
Chemical sunscreens are widely used. Most often, if someone recommends you to put on sunscreen, that is what they’re talking about.
Yet chemical sunscreens aren’t without danger. They penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream. They even filter through into breast milk and are thus not only hazardous to you, but also to your baby. (Even sunscreens in make-up and skin cream filters into breast milk, so check those out too, if you use them.) Chemical sunscreens might actually be increasing the incidence of cancer - the very thing they are supposed to be protecting you from - because they generate free radicals. They can carry eostrogenic substances, which interfere with the normal sexual development. The chemicals are foreign to our bodies and get stored into our fat reserves after penetration through the skin. (1)
Chemical sunscreens have shown to enhance penetration of benzene through the skin, and might do the same with other environmental contaminants.

Mineral sunscreen
Mineral sunscreen is made from titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, or a combination of both and would be a healthy alternative, but research on these relatively new products is limited.
Mineral sunscreen - simply put - is made by braking up minerals into very small particles and then mixing those in a pasty substance so they would bounce the sunlight back where it came from. These small particles indeed do a great job in refracting the light, but they can also bounce it back and forth on the skin, which causes radiation and - again - might increase your risk of getting skin cancer.
Application ease might also be a problem with mineral creams, they have more of a pasty texture then the conventional sun care. in order to get better application results, some companies started using nano particles in their creams, which can be absorbed into the skin and are potentially harmful.(2)

General concerns
Many sun creams do not block UVA radiation. UVA does not cause sunburn but can increase the occurrence of melanoma skin cancer. Moreover, all these skin care products blocking all UVB might be the reason behind the serious vitamin D deficiency in the Western World (a UV filter might be present in your daily skin care products without you even knowing, so be sure to check this).
In a recent test, out of 500 sunscreen products, only 8 were found 'good'.
The ingredients you must be really watchful of is vitamin A (retinal palmitate), which breaks down in contact with sunlight and speeds up the development of skin tumours and lesions, and oxybenzone, which is responsible for hormonal changes.

So are there no options at all?
Sure there are options.
Stay out of the sunlight on the hottest hours (the hours where the sun is at its highest point), between 11AM and 3PM
Covered skies don’t offer protection from sunburn - half shade doesn’t either - they only refract the light, but don’t stop it from reaching your skin.


  1. Build up a tan. A tan is your skin’s natural protection against sun burn, by thickening the upper layers of the epidermis. Gradually build your tan without burning. In order to do this correctly and without accidents, you must of course know your skin’s limits. Start small, just a little walk outside in the evening or morning, until you have reached a healthy tan that can support a prolonged time of exposure.
  2. Cover up. Keep a scarf with you or wear sleeves. Parts that aren’t exposed are less likely to burn.
  3. Coconut:
 coconut is nature’s natural aid against sunburn. Adding it’s oil to your skin helps your skin defend itself against harmful sun rays and eating it’s meat/drinking it’s juice will strengthen your defenses naturally.
  4. Start a sun-diet. Preparing yourself for the sun starts in your plate. Prepare yourself a menu rich in anti-oxidants, vitamin E, vitamin B and selenium. (3)
  5. Use a safe sunscreen. If you do decide to wear sunscreen, look it up before you buy/use, a few sunscreens are safe, so go through the SkinDeep database to make sure you buy the right ones.


All in all, being careful doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself up. A healthy dose of sunrays isn’t only good for your mood, it also produces much needed vitamin D. Slowly, brands are starting to put all organic sunscreens on the shelves, which offer as much protection from sunburn as their mineral or chemical counterparts, but have the benefit of being natural and recognizable to our system.




(1) The Chemical Sunscreen Health Disaster, on skinbiology.com
(2) Chemical and Mineral Sunscreens: What To Choose?
(3) Hidden Dangers In Sunscreens, on Suite101

Additional links:
2010 Sunscreen Guide
Sunscreen Dangers


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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Quote Of The Day

"Women who are giving birth, trust yourselves. Trust your inner power. Trust your ability to give life. This is something absolutely sacred that is inside all women in the world. A doctor, nurse, and all midwives in the world are people who are not in the position to teach a woman how to give birth, but to make it easi...er for her to do what she already knows how to do." 
~Ricardo Jones, Orgasmic Birth via Unfolding Lotus Birth Support on Facebook


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Freebies For The Holidays!

Under the motto: why pay for presents if you can get them for free, without any work, from the comfort of your chair, here are some freebies I've gathered from around the web:

Nina Matthews Photography on Flickr

  1. Chris White from The Essential Parenting Blog just released The Essential Parenting Home Course. He is offering the introduction and the Week 1 course material to everyone who is interested. Click the link to download the content.
  2. Jim Johnston is giving away copies of Harold W. Percival's book "Man, Woman and Child" on his Facebook fanpage 'Early Childhood Education to Retain Knowledge of Inner Light'. You can get your copy shipped to you for free simply by commenting on the wall.
  3. Leslie at PureJoy Parenting  on Facebook will be giving away a free parent coaching session if they reach 500 likeronies.
  4. The Ceap And Choosy is giving away a bumGenius! elemental organic diaper.
  5. The family behind 'Abigail's Legacy of Hope' is trying to raise the funds to adopt an Eastern European Child. In order to fulfill this, they are doing all sorts of fundraising actions and giveaways.
  6. My newest (and first) advertiser 'Hold Your Hand Fertility Coaching' is giving away a fertility coaching session to her 400th fan on her Facebook Fanpage and a 50 percent discount to the one who reffered them to her.




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Monday, December 20, 2010

Quote Of The Day

You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.
~Franklin P. Jones


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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Surf


  • Over the past week, I've gotten really excited about RSAnimations. These are wonderfully drawn presentations of educational concepts. They're fun to watch and very interesting. I've shared some on my Facebookpage over the past week, but there are many more, so check out the site and watch those that inspire you.
  • Since christmas is now rapidly approaching and you may not have all your presents yet: here are some homemade gift ideas
  • To keep with the holiday spirit: these cookie recipes on Connected Mom have me licking my fingers just by thinking of them
  • If you are looking for a thorough article on cosleeping, that reflects all current research, look no further. Something to keep lying around for the critics, and to show parents to be. 
  • Finally US officials start rethinking artificial food coloring. "Colorings have been suspected of triggering behavioral problems since the 70’s, but recent research has given the theory more weight."
  • Birth Without Fear stresses that normalizing birth starts in childhood, which I can only agree with.
  • KellyMom gives us a big body of links and research on why we should delay the introduction.
For more Sunday Surfing, visit Wife, Mom And MoreMama and Baby LoveGems of DelightEnjoy BirthBreastfeeding Moms Unite, Domesticated Women, This Adventure Life, Maman A Droit, Hobo Mama and Baby Dust Diaries.
If you've joined the surfing fun over at your blog, leave a comment below, and I will add a link to it in the next edition of Sunday Surf. Feel free to add the Sunday Surf button to your blog, you can find it on the right side of this page or under the Sunday Surf tab.


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Friday, December 17, 2010

Quote Of The Day

“It is not how much we do in our lives that is important it is how much love we put into what we do.” 
- Mother Teresa


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Peaceful Parenting Toolbox: #1: Parent With Enthusiasm

This post is part of a series to help you set up a parental toolbox to gently make your way through the roughest moments.

Ending an activity can pose serious problems for your child. Sometimes, they are simply not on your curfew and seem so immersed in what they are doing that you *know* that ending the activity will result in conflict.

And here is where the biggest problem arises. In *knowing* your child’s reaction to your request of moving to other activities will be negative, you approach your child with dread. The child senses your mixed emotions, your hesitations, and *feels* that what is to come is less fun then what they are doing now. So logically, they will react negatively to your request.

This negative spiral is easily broken if you change your mind about the way you perceive what’s coming next.

Instead of asking your child to ‘stop playing’, see the next activity as continued play, maybe in another location or at a different game. For children, life is play, so if you were to approach the crossover to other activities with the same activities, they will gladly follow.
kreg.steppe on Flickr

Here are some examples of enthusiastic crossovers:
Instead of saying: “Can you please stop playing, you need to take a shower.” Say: “Let’s continue the game in the shower, you can bring your toy cars and we can wash them too.”
Instead of: ”It’s time to go, can you put away your game.”, say: “Go pick out a doll and we’ll play ‘camping trip’ in the car. Be sure to make dolly’s backpack!”

If your change your mindset about what *needs* to be done into what you *want* to do, you can easily convey your enthusiasm to your child, and they will be much happier to go along than when you are dreading the event and your reaction to it.
Be silly, Life is fun!




If you would like to add your own tool, send me an email with your post and a little bio to mamapoekie at yahoo dot com


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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quote Of The Day

To be in your children's memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today. 


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Why Not?

We live in a culture of false scarcity, where everything comes within limits, where everything is restricted, where nothing comes for free.
We perpetuate these restrictions to our children, so that they too can grow up in this world where things need to be coveted to be obtained, where you have to behave to get what you want.
You can only have so much fun before it becomes inappropriate. You can only eat so any cookies before you’re a pig. You can only spend so much time drawing before you become single minded. You can only watch this much TV before you’ll end up a vegetable.

Break this cycle of scarcity and start living a life of abundance. Instead of saying ‘NO’ next time around, think ‘why not?’, maybe even say ‘yes’.
Try to live as if everything comes for free, nothing is limited... especially not your imagination.
If you continue this way of thinking, maybe your child will be at the brink of braking the ‘money is more than life’ way of thinking. Maybe you too will liberate yourself from it.

It all starts with reconsidering ‘no’.


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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Quote Of The Day

“Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling.” 
-Margaret Lee Runback via Free Flowing Life


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Teaching Your Child To Share?

Many a parent sighs because his/her child doesn’t share. We hammer it into them at a young age: “You have to share!”; “Give that to your sister, she can play too.”; “Don’t take that from your friend, you have to play together.” These are just a few examples of what you can hear when you are at a play date.

One day I was playing with my daughter, when she suddenly ripped something out of my hands and said: “You have to share”, and just walked away with whatever it was I was holding.
It seemed pretty strange to me that my daughter considered that sharing was giving away hat you were holding.

When I started noticing how other parents around my child handled the ‘sharing’ idea, indeed, that was it.

Image: ozjimbob on Flickr
Parents would tell their child they have to share and then pull whatever their child is holding from their hands.

This really does not teach your child to share. All it does is tell them indeed they have to give away what they are holding to someone else, even if they don’t want to.

Let me in on a little secret: children don’t have to share.

If you are having trouble when your child is playing with other kids, try a different approach.

If your child doesn’t want to share a toy
Give another toy to the other child
Ask your child if he wants to give the toy to the other child
Ask your child to choose a toy for the other child
Ask your child to choose another toy for himself
Pick a game both kids can play together with a multitude of pieces so debates are limited
Propose a walk or outside game without toys

If your child refuses to play together
Don’t worry, if your child does not want to play with another child, that is an absolutely valid choice and doesn’t mean he’s antisocial. Maybe he’s just absorbed in his play, maybe he just doesn’t want to be social in that instant. There is no use in forcing your child to play together. Even playing next to another child can be an important exchange for the children.
If the diverted play of the children in your house become too difficult for you to supervise, propose another activity where they can all join in, or ask the children to play in the same room - even if they’re doing different activities. Though generally, if you can go and get a quick look every once in a while, they’re just fine when they are so consumed in their game.
Don’t let their refusal to play together throw you off having other play dates. Your child’s behavior on one occasion doesn’t predict future behavior. Don’t think your child doesn’t benefit from being around other children.

And most of all, don’t despair. Your child will share one day, if at least that’s behavior you and the other members of your family are modeling. Modeling is the biggest part of the child’s acquisition of moral skills.



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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quote Of The Day

“Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.” 
-Albert Einstein


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10 Ideas To Show Off Kids’ Artwork

If you have a serial creative bub like I do, you’ll quickly find yourself swamped with the finest pieces of art and no more wall space to hang them. So what to do with all this finery? I asked my likeronies and composed this list of cool things to do with your kiddo’s artwork.



Image: Guano on Flickr
  1. Frame it: With a carefully chosen frame, your child’s art might give the finest contemporary art pieces a bit of competition
  2. Wall Collage: Designate a wall to make a huge collage of all your children’s artwork, you can add and retract as you go along and it will become an ever changing art piece in itself
  3. Gift It: Again, with a pretty frame, the pieces your kid has done may please grandma or uncle for christmas or birthday presents
  4. Wrap It: If your child regularly splashes over big pieces of paper, keep them to wrap gifts, they make lovely personalized wrapping papers.
  5. Arty Boxes: Stick the artwork on all sides and the lid of shoeboxes and voilà! You’ve got yourself a marvelous box to put where all can see and hide all your treasures
  6. Season’s Greetings: With a bit of imagination, a pot of glue and some scissors, you can cut out shapes from their art, stick it on heavy paper you have folded into cards or on premade blank cards and with little effort you made amazing seasonal greetings or menu cards (Or of course birthday cards, birth announcements...).
  7. Reuse: Using art to make art? Why not. Keep the odd paintings and colorings to reuse for collages and cut-outs
  8. Art Cupboard: Mix and match some sheets of art and stick them to the back of the interior of a cupboard or closet, so you’ll have a very funky and original inside
  9. Historic Binder: Keep some of your child’s best work in a binder or organizer, which you keep on the coffee table to show off to friends and relatives every time they come along, it will also give you a beautiful overview of your child’s progress in the plastics and something to sell for big bucks when your child becomes a famous painter
  10. Multi-Frame: Some stores now offer frames that hold multiple drawings of the same size, to switch and revamp the deco every time you feel like it. If you can’t find such a frame, you can easily make one yourself (at least if you have some woodworking skills and the tools to do so).




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Monday, December 13, 2010

Quote Of The Day

“The end of an argument or discussion should be, not victory, but enlightenment.” 
- Josheph Joubert via Free Flowing Life


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Life On The Fast Track: Are We Over-Organising Our Kids?

How often have you heard a friend sigh: "I wish I had more time" or "I am so busy, I don't even have time to breathe.". (It wouldn't have been me sighing, because I am probably the most zenified person you know)
Luckily our children aren't bothered by the stresses of adult life yet... or are they?

Are we overplanning our children's lives already at a young age? Do we stick them on the fast track at age two?

How many parents worry if their child is learning enough? If they're playing with the right educational tools. If they're ensuring the best possible environment to have their child reach their potential. If they're reading the right books to teach empathy, politeness, science, openness to the world... If they are doing enough excilerating activities with the kid... Maybe they should start some group activities? Did we put them in the right schools?

Stressing children that much at such a young age cannot in any way be benificial, not to their health, not to their mental wellbeing, and not even to their 'learning skills', to the benefit of which most of this stress is directed.

I cringe every time I see a children's book that claims to be just the thing to teach your child this or that moral. I feel sick to my stomach at the obligatory 'this child develops your child's gross motor skills and teaches him colors' on every toy.

Children learn from everything. You don't need special tools for that purpose. children's books should be fun, marvellous, not moralistic. Your child will not learn moral judgement by reading a book, he will by observing you.

In putting so much stress on what your child is learning/experiencing/doing, all he'll learn is... drumroll... stress.

Stress in early childhood is responsible for innumerable illnesses and insecurities later in life.

Spare your child the fast track and let him be a child, free and untroubled.




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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Surf


For more Sunday Surfing, visit Wife, Mom And MoreMama and Baby LoveGems of DelightEnjoy BirthBreastfeeding Moms Unite, Domesticated Women, This Adventure Life, Maman A Droit, Hobo Mama and Baby Dust Diaries.
If you've joined the surfing fun over at your blog, leave a comment below, and I will add a link to it in the next edition of Sunday Surf. Feel free to add the Sunday Surf button to your blog, you can find it on the right side of this page or under the Sunday Surf tab.


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Friday, December 10, 2010

Quote Of The Day

“The master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which; he simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.” 
– Buddha


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What Is Peaceful Parenting?

Peaceful Parenting is often misunderstood, because it does not look like any form of discipline most of us grew up with. But what then is peaceful parenting?
To discipline means to teach and what peaceful parenting strives to do is to delocalize this teaching experience from the realm of the parent to that of the child. Thus discipline becomes about learning instead of about teaching, with parents acting as an interpreter and a guide. Peaceful parenting is not about imposing discipline, but about internalizing it, by helping your child deal, understand grasp and handle situations and emotions.

bfick on Flickr

Peaceful parenting can only work when parents obtain a profound understanding of their child and also of themselves. Most of the effort in achieving functional parenting will be directed to the avoidance of having to result to disciplinary measures, which implies knowing one’s triggers, both yours and those of your child. In fact, punitive measures are most often generated not so much by the child’s behavior, but by the parent’s response to that behavior or by the parent’s perception of societal responses to that behavior. These mechanisms make punitive parenting completely arbitrary and thus ineffective.
It becomes clear that parenting peacefully is not a one way street. Parenting, in a peaceful manner, is most about communication than anything else. Internal communication of the parent about his triggers, reactions and expectations and communication (verbal or not) with the child about these same issues.

In conclusion, peaceful parenting is about avoiding triggers and when they are activated, about helping each other overcome them, in order to - eventually - learn to deal with ones triggers internally.


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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Quote Of The Day

" Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world." 
~Wayne Dyer via Intentional Parenting


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“Do as I Do” List

written by Diane Janis

Image: lowjumpingfrog on Flickr
My suggestion is to make a “do as I do” list. Think about the values you believe are important for your children to learn. Start compiling a list and put it on the refrigerator. Then, start with the first thing on your list and observe yourself for a couple of days… Are your behaviors modeling this value that you think is important for your children to learn? If so, put a check next to it and move on to the next thing on your list. If not, do some problem solving and try to determine probable causes and solutions. Check the list daily and continue to add to it as time passes. It’s a process, but a rewarding one for everyone in the long run. Children allow us to see ourselves in a way that no others can. You’ll find that both you and your children will continue to grow as individuals who have self-respect and respect for others.

Here are just a few examples to think about:

Value: Do you want your children to value the importance of being respectful of others by learning to use “indoor” voices when it is appropriate to do so?
Behavior: However, do you find yourself yelling out requests and/or the names of family members in your own home?
Solution: It takes patience to stop what you are doing and walk over to someone to speak to him or her instead of yelling from where you are. It also gives you an opportunity to give a hug, kiss, high-five, or pat on the back… benefits of communicating face-to-face. (Add patience to the list!)

Value: Do you want your children to value the importance of being respectful to others by learning to be punctual?
Behavior: However, do you too often find yourself running late?
Solution: Be realistic about how long it takes you to do things and plan to leave enough time to calmly get to meetings, appointments, friend’s homes, etc. on time. Becoming more punctual involves both the self-discipline of not getting sidetracked with unnecessary endeavors when you are expected somewhere at a certain time and the willingness to overlook unfinished chores to get where you need to be. (Add self-discipline and adaptable to the list!)

Value: Do you want your children to be confident and have self-respect?
Behavior: However, do you find yourself speaking negatively about yourself in front of them? … Whatever criteria you use to criticize yourself, children will most likely use those criteria to criticize themselves as well.
Solution: Put conscious effort into focusing on your positive attributes and avoid complaining about your failures. (Add positive attitude to the list!)

Diane Janis is the author of the “Earth’s Secret” children's series. Her books and learning activities teach science, astronomy, and environmental awareness through fantasy literature while encouraging problem, creativity, and a positive attitude. Diane Janis holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Education. She was an elementary classroom teacher for fifteen years, an elementary theater arts director, a “Peer Leadership” presenter, and forever and foremost remains... a parent. She is currently visiting schools for author assemblies and personalized classroom visits while writing the next novel of the “Earth’s Secret” series and excitedly awaiting the birth of her first grandchild.


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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quote Of The Day

‎"However we treat the child, the child will treat the world." 
— Pam Leo


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Never Done Learning

I read a lot about parenting and related issues. I mean A Lot!
Every once in a while, I get at a point where it seems as if there's nothing new out there, that I've read it all, almost to the point of making me feel rather secure about what I do, maybe a bit smug...
And then all of a sudden I get into a conversation or stumble upon an article that completely turns everything around. That makes me go all 'Eureka' and opens my eyes to something I hadn't seen before.

SO what I just wanted to say is this: you're never done learning, there's always something new to discover, some angle you hadn't taken yet, some knowledge that can be shared through others. It does pay off to keep reading, to keep connected, even when things aregoing swell, even when you're not specifically looking for information.



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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Quote Of The Day

“If your parents didn't have any children, there's a good chance that you won't have any.” 
~ Clarence Day


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Monday, December 6, 2010

Quote Of The Day

I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn. 
~Albert Einstein


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The Roles We Play

I recently got to thinking about the many different roles we as parents can adapt.
There's the friend, the dictator, the teacher, the guide, the absent, the psychologist...

I sometimes find it easy to think of myself in this fashion: what role am I playing now? Is this what I want to be for my child? Is this how I want her to see me?

If we start considering the different roles we get to play in our child's life, it gets easier to shun those we don't want and priviledge those we like. Most of these behavioral patterns are subconscious. Getting mindful about them allows us to change.

Ask yourself what roles your parents played, how you as a child viewed them. Do they concurr with what you are doing as a parent? How did you feel about your parent's roles? Would you have liked them to be different?
It is in your power to change how your child sees you.


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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Surf


For more Sunday Surfing, visit Wife, Mom And MoreMama and Baby LoveGems of DelightEnjoy BirthBreastfeeding Moms Unite, Domesticated Women, This Adventure Life, Maman A Droit, Hobo Mama and Baby Dust Diaries.
If you've joined the surfing fun over at your blog, leave a comment below, and I will add a link to it in the next edition of Sunday Surf. Feel free to add the Sunday Surf button to your blog, you can find it on the right side of this page or under the Sunday Surf tab.


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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Monolingual Parents, Multilingual Children? (rerun)

If you're a multilingual family, it's not a big step to raise multilingual children. It's just a matter of who speaks what to whom and staying consistent (which can be quite demanding when you're a minority speaker). If you and your partner are monolingual however, it might seem a lot more difficult. It might seem almost impossible for your child to grow up speaking different languages from a young age.
There are some easy ways to infuse other languages into your child's life.


  • Buy songs and rhyme CD's in a different language
  • Let your child watch TV in another language (most DVD have several language options, why not try them out
  • If affordable, go on holiday abroad, and don't just stay inside the resort
  • If you have native speakers over, ask them to speak their language to your child (they will understand more easily then you do)
  • Find a foreign au pair and have her speak her language to your child
  • Learn a new language together and use it (EG you learn Spanish together and use it to order paella at your local Spanish restaurant)
These are just a few examples, but I bet you can come up with many more. Your child may not become fluent in these languages, but they will pick up one or two things. I think hat's most important is to have a language infusion form a young age. To come into contact with a lot of different sounds and grammatical structures, because subconsciously, it does stick, and when they get older, if required, they will pick up new languages with greater ease. 



Image: LivingOS on Flickr


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Friday, December 3, 2010

Gently Disciplining Ourselves - Part III

This post is part of a series which focuses on setting up a toolbox to cope with our personal emotional overflows and parental short circuits. Read about the other tools to protect yourself from parental burnout.

There are several things that can help us as we strive to grow into the parents we desire to be. In fact, many of the same tools you use to gently guide your children into becoming the people they are meant to be work for you, as well.

Pray.  Meditate.  
Image: AlicePopcorn on Flickr
My greatest help in becoming the parent I want to be is drawn from my love for Jesus Christ.  Whatever your beliefs or non-beliefs, taking a moment to stop and breathe in love and peace can calm us down and inspire us to treat our children as we would want to be treated.  It is hard to give what is not inside us, and developing peace in our hearts is crucial to sharing it with our family.

It's all in your head.  
Your perception often is reality.  If you focus on the "shoulds"--my baby should be sleeping through the night, I should be getting more time by myself, etc., you can miss the gifts in the present.  If you start looking at night nursing or other things as a special time, you can often transform them and find that they no longer cause you as much stress.  I know, this only works up to a point, but it is astounding how much our attitude affects things.  Once I stopped looking at the clock in the middle of the night and calculating how much time I had left to sleep and instead focused on the scent of my baby's head, the soft sound of his breathing and the blissful stillness (probably the quietest time in that 24 hours) I felt so much more refreshed.

Breastfeed.  
The hormones help.  Each time your baby suckles, oxytocin and other powerful hormones are released that help you to feel loving and peaceful.  

Relax.  
When I was preparing for the birth of our third child, I learned to recognize when I was tensing up and to deliberately relax.  Sure, it was helpful during birth, but I've found it even more useful a couple of years *after* the birth!  Become aware of your body and stress levels and teach yourself to let go of that tension.  

Follow a script.  
Create and memorize a short list of steps to handle your triggers that you can follow in the moment.  For me it goes like this: STOP.  DEEP BREATH.  Let go of any unhelpful thoughts. How can I help this situation *right now*? Later on, I can assess what I can do to prevent things in the future, but if I try to focus on what will make it better in this moment, it throws out punitive, angry responses and gets me thinking about positive strategies to solve the problem and maintain/restore connection.  Then practice, practice, practice!  It takes awhile for it to become automatic.  The results are worth it, though.

Love. 
Find little ways every day to fill their love cups.  Shower them with love, especially on the days when you don't feel as if either of you deserve it.  Learn what makes your child feel loved--it might be different from you.  If you are upset, use that as a signal to pour out love on your child.  The Five Love Languages of Children has a lot of great ideas to help them feel cherished.

More about Dulce:
My name is Dulce (my parents were optimists ;)) and I've been nursing at least one child (currently three) for nearly seven years, hence Dulce de leche. I have been blessed with an amazing husband and four wonderful kidlets, ages 6, 4, 2 and 4 months.  We are gradually learning to unschool.  I also have taught Spanish for over a decade, love to travel and delight in chocolate and coffee.  Each day brings something new to learn and enjoy, and a fresh lesson in trusting my children, myself and the Love that surrounds and fills us.  Sometimes it feels like we're livin' a vida loca, but overall, life is incredibly sweet.  My blog addy is: www.dulcefamily.blogspot.com


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