Google+ Authentic Parenting: January 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

And the WInner Is...

The winner of the Wild Dill giveaway is Michelle. Michelle will be receiving a 35 USD gift certificate to the Wild Dill webshop. Congratulations Michelle!


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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Surf

I've teamed up with Lauren from Hobo Mama to make Sunday Surf even more interactive. From now on you can link up your Sunday Surf at the bottom of my weekly Surf, or over at Hobo Mama. The linky will go live every Sunday and you can add your link at any time during the week.


Parenting

If you're surfing, add your post to the linky at the bottom of this Sunday Surf. You can do that here or at Hobo Mama, your link will show up on both sites. Make sure to grab the new button either from the left sidebar or the Sunday Surf page, where you'll also find a little blurb about Sunday Surf you can copy for your post. 

 



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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Preventing and Dealing with Aggressive Behavior in Kids

written by Ellen Spencer

Image: Slollo on Flickr
Aggressive behavior such as hitting, biting, kicking and scratching are very normal in toddlers. These behaviors have reasons associated to them; have you ever tried to find out why your child is getting aggressive, or why is she/he showing that behavior. These reasons can be anything like self-defense, lack of routine, anger and frustration of being placed in a situation full of stress, inability of communicating properly, tiredness, hunger, no adult supervision, behavior of other kids and adults around them. This behavior needs to be controlled, however in the right way. A few tips given below will help you better.

Identify the cause of the behavior
At times your child is just tired or hungry and thus displays such behavior. When in a situation like this, your child can’t let you know what is happening to him and thus starts hitting you or biting, kicking and even scratching. Give your child what he needs first, which means necessities not invalid demands. Then sit down with your child and explain that he needs to either tell you what is happening to him or ask you if he wants something. The cause of your child’s behavior can be anything besides hunger and sleep, identifying the reason is very important before you try to deal with it.

Patience
Your child is growing up and learning from people around him. Hence if you portray aggressive behavior; your child will adopt it. Be patient when your child shows these forms of behavior in a low but a firm tone, ask him to stop misbehaving. Slowly and steadily he will get used to it. Sometimes, an angry reaction to a situation will paradoxically encourage a child to do it again, as he is looking to get a reaction - any reaction, so make sure to spend lots of time with your child when they are playing 'nice', too.

Divert your child
When your child is young, it is very easy to divert him from his aggressive behavior. To divert your child when he is misbehaving or acting stubborn; you can simply tell him a story, talk or play with him or start singing a song.

Communication
The best solution to any problem with your kid is communication. Every time your child displays aggressive behavior, talk to him and tell him how much it hurts the people he does it too, and how it affects his environment (i.e. "See, the little boy is crying now and doesn't want to play with you anymore). You don't need to exaggerate the situation, just point out the obvious effects of his behavior. Start communicating at home, the first time your child raises his hand, bites or even scratches, even if he is playing, stop him at once.
Remember your child is learning from situations and people around him. To change your child’s aggression, you will also have to control yours. And remember: this too will pass and is a normal part of toddler development.

About the author:
Ellen is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on latest technologies. These days she is busy in writing an article on Wireless Outdoor Speakers. Beside this she is fond of shoes. She recently bought a pair of Designer Shoes from a fare.


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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Post Partum Pad Galore: Moon Times (EU, 1/14)

About Moon Times


Moon Times is a UK based store selling menstrual products for all needs and desires. They are the only manufacturers of handmade organic menstrual pads in the UK. They carry both fair trade organic cotton and patterned cloth pads in organic cotton flannelette. All pads are free of bleach, chemicals and other irritants. The pads are all of the shell and insert type, inserts are available in organic cotton, hemp and toweling.
The shop also carries other menstrual products like the menstrual cup and menstrual sponges, and has a selection of baby products too.


Review

I received two postpartum belted pads. These pads are worn as is, with the belt slipped through the loops at either end, as a sort of G-string.

Before trying these, I was a bit weary, as they look rather thin and I wondered if they would work, without the underwear. They are indeed less straightforward then the other types of pads I reviewed.

Even though the thong system kind of scared me at first, it's actually quite simple and does the trick. The flannel is very soft and you hardly feel you're wearing anything with these pads.
The pads are come in an outer shell with a cotton towelling lining. The system works perfectly and the pads endured washing very well.

BUY IT:
A patterned belted postpartum pad set from Moontimes is 14GBP

COUPON:
Adding the MT10%OFF code to your order will give you 10% on any purchase from Moontimes.


Giveaway

Moon Times is giving away a post partum pad set (2 pads with belt, inserts and tub). Ideal for ‘after birth’ use as they are long, really absorbent and comfy! Perfect for new mums who need soft cloth against their delicate tissue after birth and women who are heavy at night time. Pads are patterned and have a thick towelling insert.
We recommend spraying pads with some water and a few drops of soothing essential oils added (lavender, chamomile, calendula or rose) and putting pads in the freezer before use- a cool pad against swollen delicate skin is very soothing.
Moon Times Pads are really easy to use! Thread the belt through the loops at each end & wear like a g-string. If you are using cloth pads in hospital you will need your partner/friend to take your pads home and wash. Make sure you have enough as you can bleed heavily after birth and use as many as 4-6 pads a day in the first few days. Be sure to have some spare pads as a back up.

WIN IT:

To win a postpartum pad set, enter by leaving a comment and using our new Rafflecopter system below.

Contest is open to European addresses only.

MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit Moon Times and tell us something you have learned! You must enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter entry system for your entry to count, after leaving a comment on the blog post.

Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries.

BONUS ENTRIES:
See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Just click "Click for instructions" for guidance and then "I did this" — any comments or extra information such as URLs can be entered into the "Extra Info" box. Give it a try or visit the Rafflecopter tutorial, and email or leave a comment if you have any questions!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Post Partum Pad Galore: Party in My Pants

About Party in My Pants
Party in my Pants is situated in Wisconsin and owned by sister duo Lucy and Lydia Daum. All pads are handmade. They come in 10 sizes. All pads are available in three fabric choices: cotton, flannelette and organic, and each have numerous designs. The pads cores are made from 100% cotton and have a leak resistant nylon shield and nickel free snaps. 
Their store also holds breast pads, wet bags and bath products. 

Review
For postpartum bleeding, the queen and Overnight pads are recommended. I received the Mama Mini Kit, which included 2 queens, 1 overnight and 2 honeysuckles (breast pads). I got to pick the designs and fabrics, and picked one in each fabric option, to give you the best impression of their range. The top pad is the flannelette one in Valentine, the middle pad is organic in Queen Anne and the pad on the bottom is a cotton pad in Kanari. The nursing pads are in organic with the pattern Harmony.
The pads have an extremely luxurious look and are the slimmest ones I received. They are absolutely beautiful, and there's a multitude of fabrics to choose from. They're very slim, but I did not experience any leakage. These postpartum pads are the most 'full coverage' ones I tried. They wash beautifully, without staining or shifting. I would certainly recommend these pads!

BUY IT:
The Mama Mini Kit goes for $42,99.


Giveaway
Party in My Pants is giving away a $50 gift certificate to the winner of this contest, valid on their entire selection, so you can choose whichever your heart desires.

WIN IT:
To win $50 of cloth luxury, enter by leaving a comment and using our new Rafflecopter system below.

Contest is open Worldwide, the offer does not cover shipping fees, so contestants outside US should calculate 9,99USD standard shipping.

MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit Party in My Pants and tell us what you would buy with your $50 credit! You must enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter entry system for your entry to count, after leaving a comment on the blog post.

Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries.

BONUS ENTRIES:
See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Just click "Click for instructions" for guidance and then "I did this" — any comments or extra information such as URLs can be entered into the "Extra Info" box. Give it a try or visit the Rafflecopter tutorial, and email or leave a comment if you have any questions!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Monday, January 23, 2012

And the Winner Is...

The winner of the Happy Cow giveaway, as drawn by Rafflecopter, is Andrea Keeton. Andrea has won a recycled leather hip bag of her choice. Happy Cow has already been informed.
Congratulations Andrea!

 


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Our School is Everywhere!



Some of Kieran's favorite books are the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. In #18, Buffalo Before Breakfast, the series' main characters - Jack and Annie - are transported via the Magic Tree House back to the 19th century Great Plains, where they encounter a Lakota community.

They befriend a boy named Black Hawk, and Jack gets the chance to ask him some questions about his tribe's life on the plains. One of the exchanges between Jack and Black Hawk made me smile:

"What about school?" said Jack. "Don't you have to go to school?"
"What is school?" Black Hawk said.
"It's a place where kids go to learn things," Jack explained.
Black Hawk laughed again.
"There is not only one place to learn," he said. "In camp we learn to make clothes, tools, and tepees. On the plains we learn to ride and hunt. We look at the sky and learn courage from the eagle."
Jack wrote:
Lakota school is everywhere. (1)

Kieran and I stopped to talk about how we have school everywhere too. We brainstormed a few ways that we learn every day (these are his responses):
  • We can learn what penguins eat and where they live when we visit the zoo.
  • At the park we can learn about different trees and how to slide.
  • At the Peace Pavilion I learn how to be a superhero and fight crime. (2)
  • When mama was pregnant, I learned that when the head was coming out and mama was saying "ow ow ow ow ow," that she stopped when I rubbed her head.

As Kieran and Papa relax near me right now playing dominoes, I notice how Kieran is learning sequencing, matching, number recognition, taking turns, and new vocabulary words.

Because Kieran is home helping me with a newborn, he is learning to care for a baby, to contribute to a healthy family by helping out more around the house, to respect the needs of others, and to adapt to the changes that life sometimes brings.

In the past few weeks, we've had several co-op classes:
  • Kieran has made homemade bread and butter (reading and math - learning how to read a recipe, follow directions, measure);
  • he has learned new games in an outdoor gross motor games class (motor and social skills - learning game rules, taking turns, using motor skills through running, jumping, kicking);
  • he has learned how to make almond milk (science and math - learning how matter changes, how to follow directions);
  • and he has learned how to make vinegar and baking soda volcanoes and rockets (physics and chemistry - learning how matter changes through chemical reactions, how those chemical reactions can affect other objects).


We don't just "homeschool."

Our school is everywhere.

_________________________

Dionna is a lawyer turned work at home mama of her amazing son, Kieran, and a beautiful new daughter, Ailia. You can normally find Dionna over at Code Name: Mama where she shares information, resources, and her thoughts on natural parenting and life with little ones.

1. Buffalo Before Breakfast at 62.
2. Ok, this response made me laugh, since the Peace Pavilion (a local non-profit children's center) is all about resolving problems peacefully.


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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Surf

I've teamed up with Lauren from Hobo Mama to make Sunday Surf even more interactive. From now on you can link up your Sunday Surf at the bottom of my weekly Surf, or over at Hobo Mama. The linky will go live every Sunday and you can add your link at any time during the week.


Gender

If you're surfing, add your post to the linky at the bottom of this Sunday Surf. You can do that here or at Hobo Mama, your link will show up on both sites. Make sure to grab the new button either from the left sidebar or the Sunday Surf page, where you'll also find a little blurb about Sunday Surf you can copy for your post. 

 



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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Parenting through a Crisis: 5 Steps to Navigate the Stress (Rerun)

This past week, returning from a lovely vacation our family van broke down on the highway in Italy. The inconvenience of a non functioning vehicle aside, the sheer fact that we were now stranded on the side of a busy road at 8PM with a baby and two small boys, 280 kilometers from home was well, scary.
The emotional intensity of a family crisis has a way of bringing families together or tearing them apart. In our case we rallied together and somehow ended up full of good memories despite the stress, anger and fear that we all went through. In reflecting our experience there are the five steps we took to get through:
Assess the Situation: Knowing what needs to be done to handle your crisis goes a long way. Granted crises are unexpected, even in the moment, taking the time to assess what needs to be done can only help. As my husband announced that the engine had stopped, I immediately looked at the highway signs. I wanted to know where we were, the highway marker, the nearest exit and town. My husband set up the emergency triangle and I made sure everyone stayed in their safety seats and buckled.
Get Help: Depending on the nature of the crisis, reach out for help. In our case, I called the highway patrol while my husband called the roadside assistance company.Maybe you need a lawyer or a counselor, whatever it may be don't be afraid to reach for help.
Avoid blame: Regardless of the crisis, looking for cause and fault often can lead to arguments and unnecessary stress. As the tow truck driver was asking questions, he wondered if our diesel tank had been filled with the wrong fuel. I could sense some defensiveness from my husband (he had just filled our tank ten minutes prior) and immediately assured my husband that nobody was blaming him and that the tow truck driver was just trying to eliminate possible causes for the breakdown. (For the record, it was not the wrong fuel!) Instead of figuring out why something has happened, focus on finding solutions.
Communicate: Clearly communicating with the whole family during the duration of a crisis can reduce a lot of stress. As we were broken down waiting for the tow truck, our boys started asking what had happened. I told the boys our car was broken and we were waiting for “Mr. Fixit” to arrive. My three year old smiled and said, “I’m not worried, you always find solutions mama.” His words were so fantastic and trusting! I did end up crying a bit and then told the boys I was a bit scared but that it was really ok to be scared even if a solution was around the corner. Each step of the way we told the children what to expect and to the best of our knowledge how long things would take. We even made things into games, calling our ride on the tow truck “a rocket ship to the moon" for example. The boys were eager to help and more than cooperative in all of the twenty hours it took for us to return home.
Connect: Maintaining harmony in a crisis can be difficult, but as a family leaning on each others strengths and remembering to stay connected can truly make a difference. Since our car wasn’t going to get fixed at 9 PM, the tow driver found us room at a local bed and breakfast. We kept our bedtime routine although it was already 11pm and then spent the night co-sleeping something akin to “musical chairs” with the children coming and going from whatever parent they wanted to be close to for reassurance. We took the time to eat breakfast together and even played with the resident parrot before heading back to the mechanic who had somehow managed to fix our car. As we drove back my husband and I often held hands in the car, we were going to get home safe, we knew we would, and we did.
In the moment, being broken down was very scary, however upon reflection I can see as a family we really have learned to rally together and support each other, and that is really priceless.
Have you had to handle a crisis lately? What got you through it?
Peace & Be Well,
MudpieMama

About the author
Ariadne - aka mudpiemama has three children and two dogs. She practices peaceful, playful, responsive parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. She believes parents and children should try to have fun everyday and love life.


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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thoughts on Tandem Feeding

Written by Susan

When I fell pregnant with my daughter, my son was a little over 19 months old and still primarily breastfed. I had no intention of having him stop breastfeeding before he was ready, despite the crawling-out-of-my-skin sensation that accompanied breastfeeding during pregnancy. I challenged a GP and midwife when they told me to wean without good reason, though my own midwife seemed supportive of it. To me, it was just natural, and since the pregnancy was straightforward, there was no reason to wean Kieran. He did drop off on his feeding towards the end of the pregnancy, when the milk was all but gone, but he never completely gave it up.

I'll be honest in saying I didn't research tandem feeding, but I had some friends who tandem fed their babies and toddlers, so I figured we'd just figure it out without a problem. For the most part, that was the case. I gave birth to Charlotte with a peaceful homebirth; Kieran was 2 years and 4 months old at that point. Charlotte latched on beautifully. My husband took Kieran to Mass and for a walk so that Charlotte and I could snuggle and have that initial bonding time together. It was wonderful.

Later in the day, Kieran came up to my room, where Charlotte and I were ensconced in the bed. Charlotte latched on, and Kieran wasn't exactly keen on that at first. In fact, he pushed her off the breast. But I relatched her and then let him have milk on the other side. It took a little getting used to, with supporting her in one arm and having Kieran on the other side, but after that initial tandem feed, both did well with it.

It became a bonding time for all of us, but especially for them. It showed Kieran that he was still my little boy, even if he shared me with a sister now. I really think it helped with any jealousy issues. That's not to say that all such issues were avoided, but it certainly helped. Even now, at the ages of 4 and 21 months, Kieran will sometimes ask for “two monkeys to have milk”, meaning that he wants them to tandem feed. I don't often grant that request now, simply because Charlotte then ends up bothering Kieran and it becomes awkward, but it's sweet that they have that bond and still want it.

If Charlotte is still breastfeeding when I fall pregnant again and have another, I won't hesitate to tandem feed again, if that's what she wants. In a way, this is one of the tragedies of many not breastfeeding full-term, in that many don't get to experience that bond between the toddler and the newborn like that. Of course I understand why some don't tandem feed, and I'm not at all looking down on those who choose not to tandem, but in my experience, it is a beautiful, and occasionally silly, time of bonding.

About the author:
Susan (Archaeology cat) blogs over at From Hearth to Eternity, where she chronicles her adventures in parenting her two monkeys and trying to live a life of faith.


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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Silver Lining

Written by Heather Von St.James

In August of 2005, I gave birth to my reason for living. Many people say this, but unbeknownst to me it would shortly hit a little closer to home. At the time, I was simply grateful for an uncomplicated pregnancy and mesmerized by the beautiful little person my husband and I had brought into this world. As fate would have it, our happiness was soon to be shattered by a devastating event. It would forever alter the course of our lives.

About a month and a half following the birth of Lily, I started feeling tired, lethargic, and breathless. At first, I thought I was experiencing the fatigue that frequently accompanies being a new mom and working to boot. Then I started to lose weight- anywhere from five to seven pounds weekly. By November, I knew that something was wrong and I went to see my doctor.

I underwent a battery of medical tests. On November 21, just three and a half months after Lilly was born, I had my diagnosis. Malignant Plural Mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure, had invaded the lining of my lung. Without treatment, I was given 15 months to live.

Even with treatment, the outlook was bad. My first thoughts were about my daughter growing up without her mother. My husband and I chose the most aggressive treatment option that was offered. On February 2, I underwent a dramatic surgery.

My left lung, surrounding tissues, lymph nodes, and the left side of my diaphragm, one rib, and the lining around my heart were removed. My chest cavity was washed with chemotherapeutic drugs to kill any cancer cells that were missed. After an 18-day hospitalization, I had two months to recover before the second plan of attack was put into motion. I then underwent chemotherapy, followed closely by radiation treatments.

There is an old saying that it takes a village to raise a child. A multitude of family and friends pulled together to help us care for Lily during this tragic time. Another adage says every cloud has a silver lining. For me, this is especially true.

Our lives have changed. Today, I am cancer-free and a stay at home mom. My husband and I fully embrace the idea that our faith and hope allowed us to do much more than merely survive. We have learned to live fully and be mindful of each moment that we have together.

About the author:
Heather Von St James is a mesothelioma survivor and a guest blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. Her story is one of hope and inspiration and she hopes to spread her message to anyone who may be going through similar situations to her own.
Check out Heather’s story on the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.


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Monday, January 16, 2012

Homestead Emporium Review and Giveaway

About Homestead Emporium

Homestead Emporium is a mom operated brand. They sell lots of reusable cloth options for your family, like cloth menstrual and postpartum pads, diapers, cloth cotton discs, wipes and so on. They really have a very large selection of cloth items.
All pads at Homestead are All in One and they all have snaps to secure them.

Review
I received two panty liners for review from Homestead Emporium, one panty wrap and a Tiny Liner. I was already using panty liners from a WAHM brand from Belgium, so I was familiar with the concept.
I much prefer cloth panty liners to disposable ones for a number of reasons:
  • less waste
  • softer to the skin = no irritations
  • you can get any design you want
  • no glue marks in your underwear!
Both liners are incredibly soft to the skin and hold very well in place. I seriously did not feel like I was wearing them, whereas I do when I use the other ones. 
They have snaps on the bottom which you can adjust to the width of your knickers. They give great daily protection and with the hand dyed top fabric, you don't even notice any staining. They also wash really well.

My personal favorite is the Tiny Liner, since it really sits beautifully in my underwear and doesn't deform them.

BUY IT:
the panty wrap goes for 6,35USD
the tiny liner is 7USD

Giveaway
Homestead Emporium is giving away a $10 gift certificate to the winner of this contest, valid on their entire selection, so you can choose whichever your heart desires.

WIN IT:
To win $10 of natural gear for your little ones, enter by leaving a comment and using our new Rafflecopter system below.

Contest is open to Worldwide (though shipping beyond continental US is rather high and may not entirely be covered by the gift certificate).

MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit Homestead Emporium and tell us what you would buy with your $10 credit! You must enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter entry system for your entry to count, after leaving a comment on the blog post.

Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries.

BONUS ENTRIES:
See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Just click "Click for instructions" for guidance and then "I did this" — any comments or extra information such as URLs can be entered into the "Extra Info" box. Give it a try or visit the Rafflecopter tutorial, and email or leave a comment if you have any questions!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Surf

I've teamed up with Lauren from Hobo Mama to make Sunday Surf even more interactive. From now on you can link up your Sunday Surf at the bottom of my weekly Surf, or over at Hobo Mama. The linky will go live every Sunday and you can add your link at any time during the week.


Health
Parenting

Breastfeeding
  • Great video on Facebooks moronic policies about breastfeeding pictures. 
Unschooling
  • Can your kids play too much video games? Must we limit our kids' screen time? Peter Gray answers this question. "Children are suffering today not from too much computer play or too much screen time. They are suffering from too much adult control over their lives and not enough freedom."

If you're surfing, add your post to the linky at the bottom of this Sunday Surf. You can do that here or at Hobo Mama, your link will show up on both sites. Make sure to grab the new button either from the left sidebar or the Sunday Surf page, where you'll also find a little blurb about Sunday Surf you can copy for your post. 

 



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Saturday, January 14, 2012

I Am a Cleaning Robot. Beep! Beep! (Rerun)

Clean up time can be a real hassle sometimes. I feel overwhelmed by the mess very quickly and that got me thinking, if I’m overwhelmed then a 2yr old and a 4yr old are probably even more so!

Our solution: make it into a game. In general, clean up time works best for us when I am very specific about what should be picked up and where it should go. I try to avoid general statements like “clean everything up” or ” pick up the toys” keeping that in mind I then like to add some fun to the mix.
Here are the top 5 favorite games we play that give us a clean playroom.

1. Elbows, Knees and Toes

In this game we pretend our hands are too tired to lift anything so we have to use other parts of our bodies. . We usually get started with my asking everyone to do one task together and then take turns asking each other to try something. The kids come up with the silliest and trickiest assignments sometimes!

-Everyone try to use your elbow to put lego’s in the lego box-

-Mommy try to use your toes to pick up that doll-

-Johnny can you try using your chin to carry that book to the shelf?-


2. Zoo Keeper

The Zoo Keeper game works really well with our stuffed animals. We happen to keep most of our stuffed animals on a mesh hammock (aka the ZOO) that hangs on the wall. The boys often take them all down and scatter them around the house. When we play Zoo Keeper I send them on assignment around the house looking for stray animals. Again I like to be specific:

-Zoo Keeper Johnny, the blue monkey is on the sofa can you bring him back to the zoo?-

-Zoo keeper Johnny, the pink piggy is hiding by the fireplace, can you bring him back to the zoo?

3. Dump it here

My boys love dumping – actually I’ve never met a child that didn’t find dumping stuff out of containers absolutely fabulous! This game is a play on this feeling. Together I encourage each child to help load toys onto a container lid or a smaller container and then dump it into the bigger container where the toys belong such as the lego box or the toy box. Big giggles are sure to follow by saying “DUMP IT HERE” each time.

4. Grand Nabber

My two year old invented this game – I believe he was inspired by the grand nabbers from the rocket ship from the Little Einsteins. He likes to wear my giant oven mitts, grab toys however he can and then take them to their place. It’s a bit of a clumsy game but my son is two and he is helping so I think it’s great.

5. Robot

Image: morguefile

I usually take the lead on this game and just start cleaning and saying silly things in a robot voice. "I am a cleaning robot. I can put this book on the shelf. Beep Beep."
The boys find this so funny – and they want to imitate which means we all clean up together.

In the end of course I am doing the majority of the clean up but in my eyes that’s still my job as mom for the next few years. I would like to believe I am creating a sense of cooperation and enjoyment for a task that is not usually regarded as fun. Sometimes the boys will surprise me and start playing these games on their own and tell me when they have cleaned up – and that is so cool…

Do you have any fun clean up games you like to play? What tasks do you find a hassle or do not look forward to?

Peace & Be Well,

MudpieMama


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Friday, January 13, 2012

Feelings Are Like A Compass

Feelings are like a compass, a tool for inner guidance. With practice we can learn to acknowledge them and learn from them, no matter how fleeting they may be. Processing our feelings, listening to them and reflecting, allows us to move through and beyond them, into restoring peace between mind and body. -from my journal

Recently, on a bike ride, something upset my five year old. It was bad enough that he said he would never ride his bike ever again, except, riding a bike is something he loves, so much so, he figured out how to pedal a bike, without training wheels, before his fourth birthday.

Frustrated, tears surpressed, he climbed off his bike, then he got really upset and started yelling: “I hate you. I hate this bike, Put it back in the car. I hate that you made me come on this stupid bike ride.”

I tried to project calmness and speak in a nice way: “I can see you are very upset.”
On the inside though, I felt some anger and frustration surfacing. My child was yelling, loudly. Yelling that he hates me and his bicycle! People were stopping and looking too. (As expats, speaking english as opposed to the local language -Italian-and being a large(ish) family we inadvertently attract a bit of attention.)

Before addressing the yells, I took a huge breath and started to acknowledge my own feelings. My inner monologue went a bit like this: I am sooo frustrated right now. My stomach feels hot and I want to throw something, far far away. This is so annoying. Breathe. Breathe again! Then I re-focused back as he continued:
“I’m going to break this bicycle and stuff all the pieces into a trash bag and put these stupid new boots in there with it. “ “I want to spit on you” he went on. “and spit on these boots.”

He started to froth his mouth so I stepped out of the way; the spit landed on the ground. My inner voice again: Are you kidding me! You have a top of the line bike, brand new boots and no clue how much this stuff costs and you just want to throw it away and spit on me– GAAH this makes me livid!

I didn't react, instead I stood there and asked myself why I was feeling what I was feeling. Listening to his yelling made me realize I was feeling guilty and tired because where we live, bike riding is an ordeal. Loading the car with everyone and all the bike stuff and driving down the mountain, just to get to a bike path with three kids and two dogs is exhausting – and now the ride was not even going well.

“PUT MY BIKE IN THE CAR” he yelled.

I tried to listen to my feelings again. I knew I had to focus, not yell back, it would not help, at all, although part of me really, and I mean really wanted to.
“Do you want to talk about what is upsetting you or do you need time?” I replied.

“I want to be alone with these stupid boots. Go away.” He said.

“Alright. I will sit right over there.” I pointed to a wall where I could sit but still be close by. “I will listen to you whenever you need me.” As I started walking I realized, the problem might be the new boots but I didn't say anything.

Within a minute I heard “I need you now.” As he said it, big tears were streaming down his soft face. “The boots hurt my feet. But I want to like them because they are like Papa’s.” he explained. “So I am so mad right now.” he continued.

We hugged, I kept listening, he asked for the bike to be put away so we packed it back into the car. I explained that his siblings were waiting to get into the path and although he wasn’t all smiles yet, we eventually started walking. As we walked, more hurtful words about the boots and the bicycle came up: it was emotional throw up* and there was a lot of it. So I listened, and held his hand when he wanted it. I reflected back some of the things he was saying and he started to relax.



He asked for a piggy back ride and that helped him move on from hurt back into happy. Mid laughter he told me he was sorry about trying to spit on me "that would have been so gross, sorry." and I smiled. "Yes, it would have been gross." My inner voice at the end there: Phew, that was not easy!

Peace & Be Well,


Do you use your feelings to guide you? Have you been able to navigate yourself out of a trap of reaction?

*Thank you to Cathy Cassani Adams for such a great way to describe this outpour of feelings.


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Thursday, January 12, 2012

And the Winner Is...

The Winner of the Annee Matthew Giveaway is Chloe Chrysanthus. Chloe has won 50SGD worth of shopping credit on the Annee Matthew eshop.
Congratulations Chloe!

 


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Budgeting For a Single Mom: Can It Be a Reality?

Written by Alia Haley

Being a single parent with a single income makes for a very difficult budgeting experience and can be quite trying. Keeping aside the thought of making it through the month, you also need to be prepared for unforeseen contingencies like college fees, health care or unexpected purchases. It is only a very rare individual who can handle and budget all these on a single income. However, with a few pointers anyone can learn how the money is being spent and to balance the budget.

1. Noting down expenses

RambergMediaImages on Flickr
You can do this on the computer or just note down in a book the various expenses of the day, no matter how trivial. Note down every single penny and it does not matter under what category the money falls. You can do this exercise for about a week and then you can start categorizing the expenses in a way that makes sense to you. Mix and match categories to reflect your actual thinking about expenses otherwise it will not work. Carry on with this exercise and when you have a month’s expense data, look over the expenditures for the entire month. At this point, you would have paid the mortgage, rent and credit card bills and these should be included in the expense list. For the fixed expenditures, there is nothing you can do as they stand fixed.

2. Categorizing percentage wise
This is when you try to find a good combination for your essential expenses which can be apportioned out for various needs. You can use the 30-15-15 combination. This means 30 per cent for your rent, utilities, mortgage and maintenance, 15 per cent for food and 15 per cent on fuel, insurance, maintenance and car payments. This leaves you with 40 per cent to take care of medical, debt repayment, clothing, entertainment and miscellaneous. The last can be used as some kind of savings if it is not utilized.

3. Detecting the expenses
After this, if you find that you are paying more than 30 per cent for housing expenses, then you drastically need to take steps to cover this. You can take in boarders, ask assistance from the housing programs or move in with family. If your expenses on food is more than 15 per cent, then you need to curb this by changing your family’s food habits which means cutting back on junk food.

4. Saving the money
You are completely average if your expenses measure to the percentage combination. Now you can start cutting down on expenses that you really do not need and rather save the money for a better cause. You can always find a computerized budgeting tool to assist in your daily record if you are computer savvy. This way, you can check all your expenses at one time instead of having to compare notes and rack your brains at where you stand at the moment.
There is always a point where one has to cut back expenses and this can be achieved by enlisting the help of your children, by making them understand that the family budget can only take this much. There may be some complaints in the beginning but once they understand the importance of cutting down expenses, it should be fairly comfortable for everyone.

About the author:
Alia Haley is an avid blogger who is herself very family oriented. She frequently comes out with unique and interesting topics like Health food, children relationship, teenage fads and tips for dealing effectively with young age. These days she is busy in writing an article on cancer prevention.


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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Book Review: Petey’s Listening Ears by L.R.Knost

Article first published as Book Review: Petey's Listening Ears by L.R.Knost on Blogcritics.

It has taken me a while to find the words to review Petey’s Listening Ears. I have it laying on our nightstand for a chile now and have read it multiple times. Yet still, I remain ambivalent about this little children’s book.

The story talks about this little boy who - like any self respecting little boy - makes amok, even though he is told that he’d better not do the things he’s planning. He plays with his toy box, and even though his mom tells him not to take out all of his toys, he does and ends up having to clean up all morning.
After a pretty unhappy morning of having been told not to and doing it anyway, his daddy asks him what’s going on. After listening to the little boy’s annoyances, Dad asks if Petey has been listening to what the other people were saying.
Petey admits he wasn’t and spends the afternoon doing as he’s told, and ends up having a great day after all.

The story is illustrated by Derek Knost, with marker drawings in bright colors. The drawings, even though they are rather simple, do work well with the story.

I generally don’t like moralizing books, as I think that children's books should be about wonder and marvel and story line, not about ‘trying to teach them something’. The reason I have spent so much time pondering on this book is wether or not it is actually coercive.
Most of the situations Petey is not happy about would not arise in my household, because we wouldn’t force our daughter to clean up, if she’s put make-up all over herself and doesn’t immediately want to wash up, we won’t force her into the bath...
So in a way, this book does not promote the most coercion free style of parenting.

However, I can find myself in the frustration that my child ignores my well meaning advice, even though I have her best interest in mind, and I think that’s mainly what the book is about.
The second part, where Petey does have a good time, sits rather well with me. For example, his sister asks him to put on his jacket, and as he does, they’re able to go to the park to play.

It is an interesting little book to show your child that actions have consequences, and that parents and caregivers do have the best intentions when they’re telling the child something he doesn't really agree to immediately...
It’s not the best book on my shelf, but for parents looking to deal with this kind of situation, it can give a gentle way of handling the issue.

Find out more about the book on Crossbooks.



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Monday, January 9, 2012

Call for Submissions - Authentic Parenting Carnival January 2012

Authentic Parenting has teamed up with Mudpiemama to host a monthly carnival. The carnival will take place every last Friday of the month, the submission deadline is the Friday before last of every month.

To enter, write a new post on the chosen topic and email your full text to mamapoekie {at} yahoo {dot} com and ariadne {at} brillweb {dot} net no later than 11PM GMT on January 20th 2012.

This months Topic is : Birthing and New Beginnings

January is the month where we start afresh, take the plunge again and leave the old. What are your new year's resolutions? Maybe you will be welcoming a new baby (or have done so recently). Share all your insights about birth and starting afresh in this very diverse carnival.

Submission date: January 20th.
Carnival date: January 27th.


Please fill out the form below to enter and then email your submission.

Peace & Be Well,



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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Surf

Very short surf this week since I just got home from an unexpected hospital visit with my new baby boy. I've teamed up with Lauren from Hobo Mama to make Sunday Surf even more interactive. From now on you can link up your Sunday Surf at the bottom of my weekly Surf, or over at Hobo Mama. The linky will go live every Sunday and you can add your link at any time during the week.


Health

Babies

If you're surfing, add your post to the linky at the bottom of this Sunday Surf. You can do that here or at Hobo Mama, your link will show up on both sites. Make sure to grab the new button either from the left sidebar or the Sunday Surf page, where you'll also find a little blurb about Sunday Surf you can copy for your post. 

 



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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Joy of Eating... Family Style (Rerun)


I strive to serve healthy yet yummy and appealing meals everyday. The goal being to not to create kitchen master pieces worthy of Top Chef (what an awesome show) but rather to capitalize on my children’ s adventurous nature and allow them a chance to explore tastes and textures.

To have fun and exciting family meals, and create an overall joy of eating, we focus on portion awareness, respecting individual tastes, opportunity, modeling healthy choices and relaxed table manners.

Portion Awareness

Sometimes its easy to forget that the tummy of a toddler/preschooler is tiny – a great way to remember is to look at their hands. A child’s stomach is roughly the same size as it’s hand curled into a fist. Aside from the small stomach, a child’s internal satiation cue (that’s the fancy name for the “the I’m full now” signal from the stomach to the brain – yay nutrition class paid off), are very reliable – especially for children who were fed on cue as infants (regardless of it was breastmilk or formula milk). So think small portions. I can be overheard at just about every meal saying “eat what you have and you can always ask for more.”

Yum or Yuck

Bread with butter, peach jelly and salami. I’ll admit this is not my ideal meal – but for my three year old it was today’s perfect lunch. Combined with a heaping glass of milk, cucumber sticks and watermelon for dessert – he ate from each food group and cleaned his plate. Are you still stuck on the jelly and salami combination? At three years this combination is deemed excellent and why not allow that taste exploration? My five year old and I ate lots of tomatoes today – nobody else went near them. My baby girl chomped on a pickle dipped in vanilla yogurt…What I’m getting at is that each one of us is an individual with different tastes and we respect that at every meal.

Opportunity

So how have these tastes developed you might wonder – afterall how do we come about the whole jelly and salami or pickles with vanilla? Creating opportunities for my children to explore food - when serving a new food I make sure there is a familiar food on the table as a possible alternative. This way they can try the new food but there is no need to worry if they will eat enough because that familiar food is right there in case the new stuff did not pass muster. I also invite my children to shop and cook with me so they can see and be curious about ingredients. If an interest comes about to mix flavors it’s allowed to happen – it might seem like a waste of food but remember we are working with small portions.

Modeling

I believe children learn a lot from observation, trial and error. So aside from letting them make their own choices, I am hopefully inspiring them in those choices as well with what I am choosing to eat or put on the table. From eating vegetables to trying new foods, my attitude at meals (with anything really) will make an impact on my children. My husband is an avid Sushi eater and around 18 months my boys were really interested. Now at 3yrs and 5yrs it is by far their most favorite dish – yes raw fish and sea weed – it’s wierd and wonderful all in one…

Relax and Enjoy

If you ever join us for a meal,( I promise the main course shall not be jellied salami) you will not find stiff place settings, dimmed lighting and an atmosphere of the fine dinning kind but rather relaxed happy children being —-Children! Yes there silliness, spilled juice on occasion, and some food may even land on the floor. “Don’t worry, murphy (our dog) is a vacuum cleaner” was one of our boys first full sentences. Beyond the slight mess, you will also see three children eating vegetables, grains, dairy, fish, whatever it may be with a true love and enjoyment of food and family style meals!

Peace& Be Well,



So, what is your family’s favorite meal?

Image: Oana Hogrefe Photography


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Friday, January 6, 2012

The Sweetest Treat: No Dessert After Dinner.

Typically we eat dinner as a family, its usually a really fun time. Accounts of the favorite moments in the day, the occasional spilled sauce or splashed spaghetti and guaranteed laughter.The best part of dinner though is the sweet treat afterwards - but lately it hasn't been a food treat at all!

For the past few weeks, as dinner is wrapping up, the children and handsome hubby have been helping un-set the table and then they have traded dessert time for playing together for ten to fifteen minutes while I clean up.

At first, stuck in the kitchen, I felt a bit like just hired domestic help. Then I realized that this set up was a very sweet treat for all of us.

For the children it means undivided attention from papa, laughing, roughousing, jumping and deepening connection at its finest.


For handsome hubby it means a chance to enjoy his children who adore him and who have missed him all day. Its replenishing that love and attention all of us really need.


For me, it means a chance to do dishes and wipe counters uninterrupted but really I'm not just cleaning up the kitchen; I'm clearing my mind, sorting my thoughts, re-centering and focusing on me for just a wee bit of time. Then hearing the laughter puts me back, grounded and ready for the children's bed time.

The days we trade dessert time for play time, which have been more and more lately also seem to lead to smoother sailing when bed time rolls around.

I'm pretty sure that all that purposeful connection and laughter is helping all of us better work together at the end of the day. Getting three little ones washed, into pajamas, teeth brushed, stories read, all tucked in and asleep in about 40 minutes and before 8pm is possibly the sweetest treat of all.

How do you like to connect with your children at the end of the day?

Peace & Be Well,


Like what you are reading? Check out my latest post at MudpieMama: Creating a positive parenting solution in 10 steps

Image Credit: Ambro


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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Special Announcement: Birth and Babymoon


It is with great happiness that I would like to share with all of you wonderful readers and supporters the birth of Laura's son, Yemi! Arriving on January 2nd at 5am, weighing 4700grams. Laura is reported to be doing well and Yemi is making steady progress.
Mama Laura is taking a two week baby moon from Authentic Parenting to bond and enjoy her beautiful family and new son.
Baby Yemi with Mama Laura

There are some great new posts already scheduled for the next two weeks, we will rerun some posts and I will also be updating our Facebook page hopefully once daily.

Aw birth is so beautiful...let us all celebrate!
Peace& Be well,



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Everything You Need to Know About Cloth Menstrual Pads

Women of the world, please listen to me. It's time to get real about our periods. It's past time for us to stop thinking they're gross, embarrassing, or shameful. One way to do that is to make our collective menstrual experiences, if you will, a little more pleasant. Now, this isn't going to be a commercial about joyfully skipping around a beach while wearing white pants, but that 'time of the month' doesn't have to be outright drudgery either. Using cloth pads can start you on the path to feeling a little better about your period.

Advantages
Cloth pads are comfortable to wear. They're made of soft fabrics like flannel and cotton and come in a wide variety of sizes and styles, including styles good for daily protection, light-flow use, and pads that can be worn for heavy or overnight use.

Reusable pads require a little extra care but not so much that you will be inconvenienced. Used liners and/or pads get soaked in cold water, which should be switched out twice a day. (You can let them soak for days if you'd like, but keep the water fresh to prevent the pads from taking on a mildewed smell.) After pads are finished soaking, run them through your washing machine with a 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar. Be kind to the environment and hang pads to dry (which can be a fun sight given the pretty fabrics and designs that they come in).

Several companies make cloth menstrual pads, including Lunapads, GladRags, New Moon Pads (who has a sister company called Sweet Cheeks Diapers for moms looking for cloth diapers), and a number of sellers on Etsy. You can also make your own.

Using cloth pads means you'll always have a pad available rather than you or your partner having to make an emergency run to the drugstore in the middle of the night.

Ecological impact
Rather than overburdening landfills with disposable pads, switch to cloth. Cloth pads get rewashed and used for years at a time, bringing their cost down to just pennies. You can always build your collection slowly and phase out your use of disposable pads to make the adjustment easier.

Though disputed by some as being a contaminant, you can pour the blood water from soaking your pads on your plants.

Store-bought pads contain polyethylene, whose production contributes to global warming. Save your body the exposure to harmful chemicals and choose cloth!

Types of uses
Cloth pads can be used for:

  • Menses
  • Postpartum care (also known as "momma pads")
  • Incontinence protection


Cloth pads are made to wick away moisture just like their store-bought counterparts and can really come in handy when your flow is heavy (or heavier than normal) and your need is higher than normal.

Again, it can take some time to get used to using cloth pads or you might be an instant convert. As my mother told me when I was a kid, I had to try something before I could honestly say I didn't like it. Use cloth pads because you want to live greener, you prefer pretty fabrics to a throwaway pad in a fluorescent pink package, or because you want to start saving money; whatever the reason, the planet will appreciate your help.

About the author
Danielle, who blogs on behalf of Sears and other prestigious brands, enjoys DIY projects and is learning how to sew so she can make her own cloth pads. Read her work at EatBreatheBlog.com


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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Quote of the Day

The whole point of woman-centered birth is the knowledge that a woman is the birth power source. She may need, and deserve, help, but in essence, she always had, currently has, and will have the power.
Heather McCue


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Wild Dill Review and Giveaway (01/25, WW)

About Wild Dill
Wild Dill is an online store holding organic baby and toddler clothing, children's bedding and natural toys. It's a real Ali Baba's treasure cave for parents looking for natural gear for their little ones. All products are made in the US or Europe. 


Review
Image: Wild Dill

I received an ImagiPlay veggie cutting set for review. My daughter was exceedingly delighted unwrapping it as her 'Sinterklaas' present and has since spent many moments playing with the set.
The set contains 5 different vegetables to cut up, a cutting board and a knife. All made of wood. They come in a beautiful miniature wooden vegetable crate.
The different parts of vegetables are stuck together with very strong velcro and the nice thing about this is that they do make a cutting sound when you separate the parts.
Something my daughter does with this, which I had not thought about myself (ah the conditioning) but is quite fun, is sticking different kinds of veggies together, creating a mushato or a courotte.
I'm sure the toy will give her much more fun in times to come, especially when we'll get to integrate that into her toy kitchen.

BUY IT:
The ImagiPlay Veggie Cutting set is worth 24USD.




Giveaway

Wild Dill is giving away a $35 gift certificate to the winner of this contest, valid on their entire selection, so you can choose whichever your heart desires.

WIN IT:
To win $35 of natural gear for your little ones, enter by leaving a comment and using our new Rafflecopter system below.

Contest is open to Worldwide (though shipping beyond continental US is rather high and may not entirely be covered by the gift certificate).

MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit Wild Dill and tell us what you would buy with your $35 credit! You must enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter entry system for your entry to count, after leaving a comment on the blog post.

Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries.

BONUS ENTRIES:
See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Just click "Click for instructions" for guidance and then "I did this" — any comments or extra information such as URLs can be entered into the "Extra Info" box. Give it a try or visit the Rafflecopter tutorial, and email or leave a comment if you have any questions!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Monday, January 2, 2012

Banishing the Winter Blues

Written by Annie Heath

This is the second post in my new holistic healing/natural health series, where we explore alternatives to mainstream healthcare and find new ways for you to care for yourself. If you would like to submit a post to this series, contact me (mamapoekie at yahoo dot com).

In this post, we explore some helpful pointers for making your way through the dreariness of winter without feeling dreary and down yourself.


Feeling overweight? Don’t go on an extensive detox – it is just the wrong time of year! Your body naturally wants to store, feels a bit more inclined to hibernate , and is often exhausted as we have partied hard and are then taking stock of our final year. Eating healthily – lots of warming foods – veg, pulses, some good quality meats and fish, - natural, seasonal foods – will soon get you feeling better. Just cut out the sugar, and lessen the dairy! Spring is the most natural time for a detox.

Optimize Your Omega-3
There are a number of studies that show that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils are associated with decreased depression.

Exercise Boosts Mood
Exercise is widely known as a natural mood booster. Simply getting out for a brisk walk or heading to the gym for 30-minute workout can do wonders for your mood, and your body will benefit too. Find something you enjoy, and don’t feel it has to be a strict routine.
Exercise will also help to boost your immune system, which means you're less likely to come down with a cold or flu -- another reason why many people don't look forward to the winter season.

If you do get a cold...

  • Researchers have shown zinc lozenges reduce the severity and duration of cold symptoms, particularly a sore throat. They believe the zinc is directly toxic to the virus and stimulates your body to produce antibodies to destroy the virus. They seem to work for about three out of four colds. Zinc is also essential in absorption of vitamin c.
  • Extra vitamin C is helpful.
  • Vitamin A in large doses may be helpful.
  • It enhances immunity and protects against colds and flu. It is needed for the formation of skin and mucous membranes, so having enough vit A protects against infections of bladder, kidneys, lungs and mucous membranes. However if you are pregnant you should not use it. It is also a well known wrinkle eliminator!
  • Found naturally in fish liver oils, green and yellow fruits and vegetables. Apricots, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, garlic, papaya, pumpkin, peaches, red peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, watercress, squash.
  • Garlic is an excellent natural antibiotic and potent immune system stimulant.
  • Echinacea is the most widely used herbal medication in Europe for colds and infections. It contains inulin which enhances the production of immunoglobulins. Astralgalas and goldenseal also enhance the immune system and are widely used in Europe and China for infections.
  • Essential fatty acids should also be taken regularly. This will help your immune system build the proper antibodies.
  • The Homeopathic remedy Aconite taken right at the beginning of a cold can often help nip it in the bud. Pulsatilla and Chamomilla are great for kids with green snotty colds, especially when they are teething. If it is chesty, dry and hurts to move/cough try Bryonia, if there is rattly mucus that won't come up, try Ant Tart.

Take a few preventative steps and before you know it, you will be happy , healthy , content, and the sun will be shining!!

About the author
Annie Heath runs www.holistic2go.com. Holistic2Go stocks quality, Practitioner level supplements, holistic remedies and Organic skin and bodycare. Annie is passionate about helping people be able to make informed health choices and be able to afford their chosen solutions.
Holistic2Go has a loyalty reward scheme giving you 10 points per pound. I.e spend £30, get £3 off your next order.
Annie is a qualified Homeopath, based in Brighton, UK.
Twitter: @holistic2go
G+ : Annie Heath (Healthmonger)
Facebook: Annie HolisticSister, Holistic2Go

photo credit: Lulu the Bold via photopin cc


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