Google+ Authentic Parenting: January 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday

Image: migroveruk


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Side Stepping Power Struggles By Being Playful

Children sometimes act in ways that seem unreasonable to us like a two year old that doesn't want to pick up a toy they have thrown or a five year old that cannot stop playing to help set the table. Often, they are not actually being selfish or unreasonable, just feeling, thinking or deciding something different than what we are.

These differences can sometimes lead to power struggles, unless that is we can pause and take a moment to understand the situation, not just from our point of view, but from the child's point of view too.

Just the other day, a doll went flying through the air. I saw it being thrown and land on the ground. I sat there contemplating for a moment…I wanted my daughter to pick up the toy and stop throwing. I had two choices: I could rashly insist that she pick up her toy OR I could pause, connect through play and try to better understand the situation.

Let's pretend I took the first route. Insisting:

Mom: Pick up the doll you threw down.
2 year old: NO.
Mom: I said to pick up the doll.
2 year old: No!
Mom: I said to do it NOW!
2 year old: NO…nope…No!

I could go on to threaten a consequence, insist, battle, engage in the struggle my defensive side against hers!  I could also just give up and do it myself since that would be the fastest solution…  Exactly what would I be teaching my child with that attitude? That I’m always right? That she shouldn't have any will or her own thoughts?  That it’s alright for grown up to push kids around? I've gone down that road before and really I felt so exasperated and my child so deflated –  is it worth it? Did we learn anything? NO... It would just have been a power struggle and everyone is left feeling badly. 

What about connecting with PLAY and trying to understand the situation better? 

Mom: Oh look at that doll on the floor…how did it get there?
2 year old: I don’t know!
Mom  (smiling): You don’t? It must have been a bear that came into the house, got upset and threw the doll. Did you see the bear around here – I think he is mad, maybe he needs a hug!
2 year old (half smiling) Uhm…I not seen a bear. I need a hug - there not a bear here.  The dress [on doll is] not closing.
Mom: That made you frustrated?
2 year old: Uhmm…uhm…
We hug.
Mom: Feel better?
2 year old, now smiling: yes
Mom: So what can we do about the doll?
2 year old: I get [the] doll, you help [with] the button?
Mom: Yes!

As hard as it may be in the moment, I find that if I can take a breath, forgo blame or the need to be right, skip the power struggle and instead aim to understand my child’s motivation and needs I find that we can not only accomplish whatever the task is at hand, we do so while embracing opportunities to learn, connect, and be together. Choosing to do so while being  playful also makes it a moment that I know my children can fully relate too and can remember with a smile.

Have you tried to side step a power struggle by using play and connection before - what worked  for you?

Ariadne has three children and is a certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator.   She is a regular contributor to Authentic Parenting and the creator of Positive Parenting Connection, a resource for peaceful, positive and playful parenting. Connect with Ariadne at the Positive Parenting Connection and on Facebook


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How To Have a Relaxed and Comfortable Birth

Image: Rabble
I use the term relaxed birth as I don't want to emphasis the cultural belief of pain in childbirth.
Being calm, relaxed and centered during labor and birth is the best way to welcome your child into the world. Yet our culture is geared to make women believe that childbirth can only mean pain and agony. We carry these beliefs into our birthing experience, if they have not been adequately dealt with, and they cause pain: we are what we think... True, there are other aspects to the pain in labor conundrum, but this post is not to discuss the scope of discomfort during labor, on the contrary, in this post, I want to make a list of all the many things you can do to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible during childbirth.

Before I commence this list, I want to say that comfort is a very personal thing and that this list is not intended as a bucket list: you know best what works for you, so pick and choose what's best for you, and know that you can decide on the spot.


  • Preparation is very important for achieving a relaxed birth. Pinpoint your fears ahead of time and eradicate them. You can achieve this through meditation, art or hypnosis. Birthing From Within has some exercises on pinpointing and eradicating fears, but I found that the book focused too much on pain. 
  • Drinking Red Raspberry Leaf infusion throughout your pregnancy will ensure your uterus contracts optimally
  • Drinking Nettle infusion throughout your pregnancy will get you the vitamins and minerals you need to endure labor
  • Repeating Birth Afirmations, daily during pregnancy, is also a great way of attracting positive energy for birth.
  • Making sure you have a good nutrition during pregnancy will also make labor and birthing easier: ensure a diet high in nutrients and low in processed foods and sugar. 
  • Engaging in mild physical activity - such as swimming, dancing, yoga or walking - throughout your pregnancy will prepare and strengthen your muscles for birth
  • Squatting daily will prepare your pelvic region for childbirth


  • Lavender is a go-to flower to achieve relaxation, for massage or vapor
  • Clary Sage is an essential oil recommended specifically for labor, as it helps labor along and is also useful in expelling the afterbirth.
  • Myrrh
  • Neroli, Jasmine, Geranium rose, orange
  • Ylang ylang is a general mood enhancer and is also known to lower blood pressure.
There is also much to be said for bringing a vapor spar when birthing in the hospital, as the scents will take over the hospital smells and make the environment feel more secure and relaxing. 

Read more: Aromatherapy for labor, suite 101


Making sure you are well hydrated during labor will ensure the optimal functioning of the muscles. Drink throughout your labor, small sips, and preferably warm or lukewarm beverages. Infusions such as nettle, chamomile and Red raspberry leaf are ideal as they give you the added bonus of supplying you with the nutrients you will need.
Lots of sites will recommend sucking ice chips during labor, but I strongly advize against this. When you consume very cold drinks, your body needs to use energy to heat the liquid, during your labor, you don't have extra energy to spend, so room temperature or warm drinks work better.


Chamomile tea relaxes and relieves tension
Red Raspberry leaf will ensure a speedy delivery of the placenta and optimal contracting of the uterus
Nettle gives you much needed vitamins and minerals


Massage is a very personal thing, some women hate it while in labor, even if they much enjoyed it during pregnancy. I am one of those!! Just test what kind of touching feels good- if any. Massaging the lower back can give some relief if you have back labor, massaging the feet with extra care for the pressure points can bring relaxation, also temples and forehead or scalp if you are feeling a bit stressed.


What a great way to get that baby moving through the birth canal!
  • Swaying
  • Dancing
  • Moving the pelvis
  • Rotating the pelvis on a birth ball
  • walking


  • take a shower
  • lie in the bath
  • rinse the body parts that are causing discomfort with warm water


Having a focal point can de-clutter your mind and help you transition into a meditational state. 
  • You can consider having an 'altar' with some items that can give you strength and focus
  • Hang a printed mantra
  • Repeat said mantra
  • Hang a mandala on the wall near your birthing space
  • Light a candle
  • Play some nature inspired music - sounds of waves, pan flute... This can be a way to focus as well as a way to let go and familiarize an environment
  • Repeating affrmations


Not only does breathing relieve tension, it also brings much needed oxygen to your muscles and takes away the CO2. It is very beneficial to start doing breathing exercises on a regular basis during pregnancy, to make them an easy go to activity throughout labor. 


Making sounds can be a good way to relief tension and stress, but make sure your vocalizing is not doing the opposite: shrill screaming will heighten tension instead of alleviate it. It is again a good idea to practice vocalizing beforehand, so you don't feel inhibited and have learned the skill already. You can do this by vocal meditation or just singing aloud during the day or whenever you feel overwhelmed. 
  • Groaning
  • Moaning
  • Singing
  • Coordinating sound to breath: breathing out in a loud 'aaaaah' or 'ohm'


You just have to look up hypnosis birthing videos on Youtube to see that hypnosis is a great way to achieve relaxation during childbirth. I personally used the Birth Relaxation Kit during my last pregnancy and found that aside from being helpful for birthing, it was also very useful in finding balance during my pregnancy. 


  • Talking to your baby
  • Feeling your baby's movements between contractions
  • Imagining holding your baby in a mere instant

Birth Space

Make sure your birth space gives you peace of mind, enables you to relax and centre.
I already mentioned using essential oils to familiarize a room if you're not birthing at home. Also bringing in something like a quilt or a picture or whatever draws you attention to something familiar.
Make sure that your birth space is well heated, so you won't catch cold after or during labor. Taking socks if you're birthing in the hospital is an easy way to make sure you don't get cold.

Letting go

Being able to completely allow labor to overtake you does mean you are birthing in an environment that feels safe to you. It's up to you to fill in what that means. 
It also means feeling supported.
Any negative vibe will get you out of laborland and into defensive mode, so choose carefully who you allow at your birth. Know that you can change care providers any time during your pregnancy. 

This post has been added to the Tuesday Baby Link Up


Monday, January 28, 2013

1000 testimonies in 1 month Towards a Respected Childbirth

The Challenge : 1.000 testimonies in 1 month : 
why? for a respected childbirth !
Were your wishes, questions and requests regarding your pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding (or your partner's) respected by your caregivers?

Were you informed about every medical treatment?


You are not alone!

Wether you're a mom or a dad, tell us what disappointed you, saddened, hurt or shocked you or made you angry.

Help us realize the challenge to collect 1000 testimonies in one month, between January 28 2013 and February 28 2013.

=> These will be diffused to raise awareness from the public and governments about this everyday violence and violation

Testimonies will be accompanied by a manifesto demanding respect for future parents and their babies.

Respected births: Get to writing! Because respected births exist, your testimony is important to us! Our dream is in the future to have a changed practice and mentality towards the respect for each woman giving birth.

Help us realize this challenge and send your testimony to

Send us your story:
- if you're a mom or dad who is moved by our action
- no matter how short or long your text
- Mark clearly in what country the birth took place
- DO NOT name names of caregivers
- You choose wether or not you remain anonymous. If you wish to remain anonymous, sign with "anonymous" so this is clear to our team members
- Send your story BEFORE February 28 2013 to the following address:

What now?
- Your testimony will be published to this blog (…) and to our Facebook page
- Your story - as an explicit example - will also accompany a manifesto sent to health autorities, medical teams, organizations and health insurances. The manifesto will make a list of everyday violent actions toward pregnant and birthing mothers, which we want to see eradicated, SWIFTLY, urging medical professionals to respect the recommendations made by the WHO.

Please join us on facebook : On our page : On our event : In our group :

And let's share this page too :

Challenge organized by parents and future parents: "Julie, Hélène, Vanessa, Gwenn, Delphine, Laura, Amélie, Sophinie, Laurence, Paola, Anne, Marie, Lucia, Deena, Elise, Chris, Lauriane, Violaine, Sandrine, Erika, Virginie, Sophie, Cécile, Morgane, Aka, Amandine, Mathile, Adeline, Laura, Emma, Morwenna, Nadège, Mayra, Valérie, Audrey, Adèle, Estelle, Angélique, Cécile, Fanny, Maud, Amandine, Lyn, Magali, Katarina & Céline"

"Défi : 1000 témoignages en 1 mois, pour une naissance respectée !" -

"Uitdaging 1000 getuigenissen in 1 maand voor een gerespecteerde bevalling !" -



Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Surf

As usual, you can still continue reading on Hobo Mama, or ad your own link below if you are Surfing. The linky will go live every Sunday and you can add your link at any time during the week.
If you have a great post that would look good in Sunday Surf, feel free to email a link to mamapoekie at yahoo dot com.

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. 



Saturday, January 26, 2013

Relax with your Preschooler: 6 Re-Energizing and Engaging Activities (rerun)

Playing hide and seek, painting together, baking, running in the yard, dancing the day away are all fun ways to spend time with our preschoolers, but they can also be exhausting activities. Add into the mix a newborn baby or a sick and clingy toddler plus lack of sleep, finding activities that are engaging yet relaxing become a must to help restore and replenish a parent’s store of energy.

Here are 6 low key, re-energizing yet engaging activities for preschoolers and parents that promote relaxation and happiness:

1. Audio Books: Having a collection of stories that your preschooler enjoys listening to is a fantastic way to engage their imagination in a quiet manner. Without the stimulation of images on a screen, many children naturally quiet down to listen and focus on the story line and become absorbed in the images in their mind’s eye. Audio books can be purchased pre-recorded or to add a special touch you can create your own by reading and recording stories your child already knows and loves. The added touch of having your voice as the story teller may keep your child engaged enough for you to take a quiet nap or at least rest for a short while.

2. I Spy Jar: Creating a home-made I-Spy jar can be done very quickly and easily and it can provide a curious preschooler quiet stimulation for quite some time. Preschoolers love to search and discover items in the jar over and over again and It’s a great activity they can do while sitting next to a resting parent. For instruction on how to create your own I-Spy jar click here or here. (both sites have a host of great craft and play projects)

3. Massage: Touch and closeness is a wonderful way to bring relaxation to both parents and preschoolers a-like. In early infancy, baby massage classes are so popular, yet continuing a ritual of massaging your child’s back, face, arms, hands and feet is extremely beneficial. Making gentle circles with the palms of your hand on your preschoolers back while you both lounge on the couch or bean bag, running fingers through hair or gently tapping cheeks, chin and forehead are all very relaxing. It can help your preschooler calm down and with some luck even fall asleep. Let your preschooler explore her masseuse talents while rubbing your feet or back too.

4. Sensory Bag: Discovering textures and shapes in a quiet setting can be very rewarding to preschoolers. Filling up cloth bag or pillow case with several soft items like cotton balls, wool socks, snippets of felt and fabric, pipe cleaners and a few empty toilet paper rolls can keep a preschooler very occupied while you rest or read a book. If at first your preschooler is not interested, play together for a few minutes, feel the textures on different body parts, pull fabric through the paper rolls etc…often a child will become very immersed in the different textures and this is a naturally calming exercise.

5. Music: Listening to music affects our moods and finding the type of music that most relaxes you and your child can be a nice activity to do together. Many children enjoy the soft sounds of classical music or instrumental versions of popular music. Once you have found the sounds that are most relaxing to your child, consider creating a CD or playlist that you can easily access for your child to listen to. Many children also play well alone with building blocks and figurines when they have music playing the background.

6. Story Telling: Preschoolers imaginations are ripe with images, ideas and possibilities. Inviting your preschooler to join you in telling a story while laying down in bed or the sofa can be a great way to spend thirty to sixty minutes resting but engaged with your child. Listening to your child’s enthusiasm and narrative while quietly relaxing can help replenish some energy – it is also a great activity to follow up with some drawing time for your preschooler to illustrate her story while you continue to rest.

What activity do you like to do with your preschooler that is relaxing? Add them to the comments, I would love to hear your ideas!

Peace & Be Well,

Image: David Castillo Dominici /


Friday, January 25, 2013

Art Journalling Group: Lesson IV - Watercolor

Every week, Authentic Parenting hosts an art journalling group. You are welcome to join in at any time. We do a new assignment each week, and participants can send in a picture their creation via email (mamapoekie at yahoo dot com) by Wednesday the next week.

New assignment: 

For this week's assignment, we're going to use watercolor. Most of us have a watercolor box from the kids lying around, so get them out and get messy. Assignment due Wednesday 30/1

Some ideas:

alisa burke
printmakerjen on etsy

If you want to find out more about technique:
Free watercolor tutorials
watercolor texture technique
As always, you can find more inspiration in my art journalling board on Pinterest

Last week's results:

And here are the results of last week's assignment, which was 'mandala'.

Christel and her kids did some gorgeous mandala's using pencil, crayon and pasta

My daughter also joined, and below is mine

Want to join in?

You can join in our weekly art journalling group whenever you feel like it! Just start journalling and send your picture of the last assignment by Wednesday of the next week. 
The goal of this group isn't to show off our work, it's to get a consistent creative outlet in our lives. There are no age limits in our art group, so you can get messy with the kids!

previous lessons:


Remaining True to Yourself While Parenting

APBC - Authentic Parenting Welcome to the January 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Authenticity. 
This month our writers have explored "authenticity", what does it mean in our homes, how do we establish it, what pushes us away from being authentic? Read on to the bottom of the post to find the other participants posts. 
APBC is hosted by Living Peacefully With Children and Authentic ParentingFind out how to participate in next edition of APBC.


Many parents experience some sort of loss of the self while parenting. It is true that having a child is a life changing event, suddenly, you're responsible for another human being's wellbeing 24/7. Your life will be legitimately turned upside down and many things will change.

Some women fight this loss of self by refusing to breastfeed, or to stay at home with their child, or to care for them at all.

But should we lose ourselves in order to be (good) parents?

If we look at more traditional cultures, like here in Africa, having a child does not mean the loss of self. Quite on the contrary. Having a child in Africa - as far as I can attest - means an enrichment of life and also a continuation of life, in various senses.
In the obvious sense that when you die, something of you remains on this planet, but also in the sense that when you grow dependent, you will have someone to care for you. But most ardently: life goes on pretty much the way it was before after you've had a child (not counting the postpartum period, because in most of Africa, this is really respected).

What's the big difference here?
Image source
 Obviously, in Africa, parents parent within the greater community, and not next to it as we do in the West. There are closer family ties and childcare is a community thing. In rural Africa, it's also normal to have your child with you at all times, which means while you're working too... These are things we have lost in Europe and we have replaced it with something else altogether:
Child-centeredness of parenting - For since we cannot spend every waking hour with our child, we must at least make the most of the moments we have. We must sit with them and play with them and read them stories.

I might get a few rotten tomatoes for saying this, but child-centered parenting is at the source ofd many parenting frustrations in the West, such as tantrums and bad sleeping habits. In this way of parenting, life indeed stops when it is time to become a parent.
We try to cater to our child's every need, want and desire. (well, attached parents often do - we won't go into how paradoxical mainstream parenting tries to ignore needs, but does cater to wants).
But children thrive when they get to live with an active parent, who tends to him/herself too and who doesn't dissolve him or herself because of them. Who follows passions and keeps busy. Who feels ands speaks their emotions (in a non-violent manner).

So how does one go about parenting a child and remaining true to oneself?

  • ensure a safe environment for your child to roam free
  • Trust your child and stop hovering and fretting
  • Make room for your child in your life, not the other way around
  • follow your passions
  • be active
  • take care of yourself
  • try building a community of care
  • stop your fatalistic thinking: yes you can do anything with kids, it just requires sound judgement and a bit more planning
Have you struggled with the feeling of losing yourself? How did you turn it around?

This post has been added to the Tuesday Baby Linkup

Thank you for visiting the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully With Children. Check out the exciting posts our other participants have for you.

  • Remaining True To Yourself While Parenting - Authentic Parenting tests Western Child centered parenting to African parenting and discovers some ways to maintain your authenticity. 
  • Honoring My Forgiving Heart - Destany at They Are All of Me writes about how honoring her forgiving nature allows her to break down emotional barriers and allow her to more fully connect with her children.
  • Sincere and Credible - Mari from Honey on the Bum uses the definition of authenticity to relate what it means to her and her parenting style
  • Being Authentic - Mrs Green at Little Green Blog ponders how to achieve authenticity when there are cultural, community and family expectations to take into account...
  • Authenticity - Sustainablemom writes how her values have been shaped through life and are now the basis of how she parents her own children.
  • Authenticity through Consensual Living - Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children challenges parents to push past socially learned reactions in order to foster authentic interactions with their children.
  • Authenticity Through Emotions - Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her belief that being a truly authentic parent means allowing and supporting both her daughter’s emotions and her expression of them but also her (Jennifer's) own emotions.
  • Authentic Grief - Erica @ ChildOrganics talks about not shielding our children from the topic of death and dying. She shares how being open and honest on the topic can help our children grow to be healthy well adjusted adults.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

10 Easy Steps Towards a Healthy Diet

When you plunge into the whole food and nutrition question, it's very easy to get overwhelmed. There is so much information out there, and so much of it is contradictory to what we've heard all along. It seems like every year there's a new diet that mirrors lifelong health and advice is not uni-lineary.
Many new diets also lean heavily on - often expensive - supplements.
It's easy to get overwhelmed! I know I still do.

I have found that the easiest way to get dietary changes to work is to take baby steps. Change and tweak and change and tweak... You'll get there. Don't just throw everything out at once, because you won't be able to keep up.

This list will offer you some suggestions to healthy up your diet that are easy to make. If you do all or most of them, you'll already have a very good diet.

image: We come to Learn
  1. Grow some sprouts - growing sprouts is quite fun to do with kids and it gives you nutrient dense food. I think it's the easiest approach to starting to grow food at home and it's very simple, so even if you lack green fingers you can try this
  2. Change table salt to Organic Celtic Sea Salt - Celtic Sea Salt is more expensive, for sure, but there are no nasty additives and you don't need huge amounts
  3. Make your own bone broth - making bone broth is simple and inexpensive, but it gives you a great source of minerals and vitamins. Find a basic recipe here and a traditional chinese recipe here 
  4. Replace coffee - Occasional indulgence in a cup of hot coffee isn't a problem, but the way we drink it in the west - by the bucket and in order to keep awake - isn't very healthy. Yet there are lots of hot drinks that are healthy: Red Raspberry Infusion is a very nice drink for all, Green Tea, Rooibos tea (red bush), or Endive root coffee
  5. Replace refined sugar - Nowadays there are lots of alternatives to refined sugar readily available: stevia, honey, maple syrup, unrefined cane sugar, agave syrup.
  6. Add green smoothies to your diet - talk about a nutrient packed food! Not only is it easy to make smoothies at home, it's also very yummy.
  7. Cook in healthy oils - coconut oil and palm oil are good for heating, whereas olive oil is better kept for cold uses. Find a nice overview here
  8. Incorporate super foods - Super foods are quite 'in' lately and it seems as if every week there's a new nutrient bomb being discovered. But all fads aside, some foods are specifically nutrient dense and eating such nutrient dense foods on a regular basis can greatly improve your diet. Most often pure super foods (not pills) aren't that expensive.
  9. Make use of herbs and spices - most herbs and spices are in fact superfoods and have great medicinal properties
  10. Toss out margarine and shortening - use real butter instead!
What small steps have you made to have a better diet?


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Importance of Salt Intake during Pregnancy

written by Mary Murphy

In the past, the medical community suggested that pregnant women limit their intake of salt during pregnancy. This was for three reasons, the first being that it was thought that too much salt would contribute to bloating and the second was that it may increase water retention. The third reasoning was that salt is also known to increase blood pressure. These are three issues that regularly manifest during pregnancy and so it was thought that salt would only exacerbate them.

The good news for pregnant women today is that this previous position has been retracted. It is especially good news for those women who get cravings for salty food. The medical community's reversal of their position on the importance of salt intake during pregnancy is mostly due to new medical evidence that suggests that a certain amount of salt may in fact be necessary for the health of the new-born child and mother.

A recent study examined the intake of salt during pregnancy. The researchers found that children born to mothers whose salt intake during pregnancy was either too low or too high often had poorly developed kidneys. Poorly developed kidneys in childhood can lead to heart problems in later life as well as difficulties with their kidneys. 

The findings showed how the children of mothers who had too little salt had lower than average glomeruli levels during their development up to twelve weeks. Glomeruli are the main parts of the kidneys, their role is to filter blood and create urine waste. Low levels in the crucial developmental stages can result in kidney and heart problems in later life. 

While it is important not to take in too much salt during pregnancy as this can also cause problems with new-born's hearts. Another study found that children born to mothers who had too high a salt intake during pregnancy developed larger hearts than normal and also had thickened areas in the heart. These abnormalities can cause heart problems for the children.

The World Health Organisation suggests that adults try to consume 5 grams of salt per day, which is about two full tea spoons. It can be difficult to monitor the exact amount of salt taken per day as many common foods also contain salt. Many convenience foods can contain chemical salt derivatives such as monosodium glutamate and processed salt. These poor quality salts are more damaging than natural salt and can be linked to heart disease and other health problems.

One of the many benefits of natural salt is its promotion of healthy fluid levels in the body. Taking in too little salt is dangerous for the child but it is also dangerous for the mother. By taking too little salt, the body will retain all its water and sodium because salt is necessary for the body to function healthily. When salt is severely limited, it leads to an increase in swelling. Taking the right amount of salt will help to maintain normal fluid levels and reduce swelling. Natural salts can also contain beneficial trace minerals and elements which make promote good health when added to diets.

While medical opinion in the past advocated taking less salt than normal during pregnancy, present opinion suggests that moderate salt intake is both beneficial and necessary for the health of both the mother and the child. Like in the story of the Three Bears, where one bowl of porridge was too hot and another was too cold while one was just right, too much salt or too little salt can have adverse effects on health. What is needed is just the right amount. According to the World Health Organisation, that amount is five grams per day.

Find helpful products for our pregnancy on Amazon:

About the author: 
This article has been written by Mary Murphy, the communications manager for Irish based website - Ireland's largest online community website for mothers with over 100,000 members. The website publishes regular articles, tips and advice on pregnancy and articles about parenting. Feel free to visit the website and join our happy community

This post has been added to the Tuesday Baby Link Up


Monday, January 21, 2013

Foster Care: Giving Homes to Children Who Need One

When I was a small child, I had a friend at school whose life was different than that of the rest of us. When I grew up a little, I came to understand that the people she lived with where not her parents, her sister was not her biological sister and she saw her biological mother now and again, under supervision.  In fact, this girl was living in a foster home. The family she lived with had cared for three children, giving them a home when there was no home left for them.

Her mother was mentally challenged and had the mental capacities of a child. When she had a baby, she thought it was a doll and treated her as such. Luckily, people intervened and she was placed in foster care. For her, it remained her home until adulthood.

Image: B.Kerah
Foster care can provide a home for children who have nowhere to turn to. Children like my friend. It offers a nurturing environment and keeps children out of institutions, where - with all the will of the world - children do not receive the same treatment and nurturing they would in a family setting.

Guest blogger Ariadne shares her experiences:
I have always been interested in doing foster care as I feel it can be truly beneficial for children. This past summer my family and I were able to work together with a special organization that helps underprivileged children by placing them with families over the summer so they may have a positive summer vacation experience. Some children come from single parent homes and this gives parents a respite, other children come from group homes which gives the children a chance to have more individualized attention in a family setting.

Hosting a foster child can be a challenging experience. Some of these children have been bounced around from family to family. Some have had tragic home situations. Some have spend a great part of their lives living in institutions and severely lack connection. Yet it is a life changing situation for these children.

Find out how you can get involved:
For the uk: Capstone Foster Care UK

Do you have experience in the foster care system? Let me know in the comments below.
Please share your links to foster agencies.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Playing Board Games With Toddlers (rerun)

Image: Vizzzual
We started playing structured games with my daughter when she was around two years old. When you start playing games with a young child, it is important to pitch your expectations about gameplay.
For your toddler, it is not so much about the rules, or playing till the end (the end seems mighty arbitrary to them).

When you play a structured game with your child, bare in mind that they are only learning about structure. Even though at times it might seem frustrating, because they don’t play the way you would want them too, think of all the things they are learning from the effort (however chaotic it may be). Board games and structured games teach your child so many things: collaboration, counting, vocabulary, rules and structure, colors, just to name a few. The effort is surely worth while.
Don’t be offended or frustrated when they play by the rules one time and ‘cheat’ the next, they’re still seeking and sometimes the thrill of something is so much more fun than the wait. Don’t be discouraged by this, it is only normal behavior.

As long as you play the games with them and don’t fuss too much about rules or order, they’ll learn to love board games, and you may soon find yourself organizing family game nights.

A couple of game suggestions for toddlers:

  1. Haba - The orchard. Very fun game where you need to pick the fruit from four different trees before the raven comes to steal them. The great thing about this game is that you are working collaboratively against the raven, instead of against each other.
  2. Haba - Bella Flower. In this game, a small sheep walks along the prairie collecting flowers, which you then need to put along the right image. Very compact game for the littlest of children that will last some time, as you can gradually introduce new things for your little one (start with just the color associations, then add the counting...)
  3. Nature et Découverte - Baobab and Ladybug. This is a balancing game. If you don’t have a Nature et Découverte, look for a basic balancing game. There’s not a lot of rules to this sort of games, and when you start off, they probably just want to pile up until it falls, but that’s enough of a learning experience as is. Lots of brands propose this kind of game. We really like this one, because it ads a few things to the simplest of balancing games (color, dices) and it’s pretty and made from rubber wood.
  4. Memory. No specific brand here, as there are many different types, and you can pick them up just about everywhere. This sort of game can even be played a little before the age of two.
  5. Domino. Of course there are the conventional dominoes with dots, but there are also some with images, specifically designed for kids.
  6. Smart Games - Castle Logics. This is a game that our entire family loves, there are construction puzzles for every age, and we love doing them alone or together. A great workout for the brain.

If you have no clue what to get for your child, try to find a toy store with an enthusiastic sales person (generally the bigger stores employ students who are just there to make money). I have found two stores where I come by often, that not only carry ecological toys, but that are privately owned by passionate owners. When I am a bit lost, or just want a chat about toys, I ask them what would suit our needs. I often come out of the store with a game I hadn’t heard about before. Scouting for these stores is also a great way to ensure getting the right gifts, as the owner will get to know you and will be able to point givers in the right direction.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Art Journalling Group: Lesson V - Mandala

Every week, Authentic Parenting hosts an art journalling group. You are welcome to join in at any time. We do a new assignment each week, and participants can send in a picture their creation via email (mamapoekie at yahoo dot com) by Wednesday the next week.

New assignment: 

For this week's assignment, we'll be doin Mandala. Mandala's are your creative expression within the circle. In Hinduism and Buddhism, Mandalas have a spiritual signification. In fact, being confined to a circle sort of frames your mind. In the case of concentric designs, the repetitive pattern creates a meditational state for your mind. Assignment due Wednesday 23/1

Some ideas:


Art Is Fun

A post about mandala art with inspiration and how to by Stephanie Smith

As always, you can find more inspiration on my Pinterest Art Journaling Board

Last week's results:

And here are the results of last week's assignment, which was 'stamps'.

Pineapples and Artichokes did this week's assignment with her kids

I stamped with toilet paper rolls, bubble wrap and rubber stamps, on a painted background

Want to join in?

You can join in our weekly art journalling group whenever you feel like it! Just start journalling and send your picture of the last assignment by Wednesday of the next week. 
The goal of this group isn't to show off our work, it's to get a consistent creative outlet in our lives. There are no age limits in our art group, so you can get messy with the kids!

previous lessons:


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday

Image: Smabs Sputzer


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Healing Scrapes and Abrasions Naturally

Image source: Bombardier
I've had to deal with a lot of scrape wounds lately. First, my daughter and I got swept away and thrown onto some rocks when we were out at the beach and a couple weeks later I had a quad biking accident. The positive side was that I was forced to rest after the latter and got to learn a lot about treating scrapes and abrasions naturally.

Assesing the situation: What is an abrasion?

Abrasions are a surface wound of the skin. Abrasions are never deeper than the epidermis, and there is little bleeding. Minor abrasions, where no bleeding is present are called grazes or scrapes. Abrasions are also known as road rash, as they are often caused by falling/sliding over a hard surface like rock or road. More severe abrasions, where layers of skin are removed are called avulsion - here the tissue is torn to expose subcutaneous tissue or even muscle or tendons. Always consult a doctor when the latter occurs.

Step 1: first aid

As scrapewound often happen when you're out and about, so you will have to make do with what you have. Scrape wounds and abrasions aren't very serious, but they have to be taken care of meticulously to avoid infection and they're also very painful. Always have a first aid kit handy, especially if you have kids.
  1. First and foremost when you encounter scrapes in a first aid situation is to clean them. Cleaning can be done with plain water, or calendula infusion, or coconut oil, whatever you have available on the spot. Clean thoroughly.
  2. Disinfect. If you're using coconut oil or calendula, they're already disinfectant. Other natural disinfectants: oregano oil, tea tree essential oil (can be a bit stingy though), lavender essential oil, comfrey root, yarrow. Or maybe you've packed a special would balm which can be applied as a shield to avoid dirt getting stuck in the wound.
  3. If possible, cover the wound with bandages or sterile gauze. Make sure the wound is moist enough so the bandages won't stick. This is only necessary if the wound is deep or on a larger surface. Small scrapes can dry to the air.
If the scrapes are minor, you can just go about your day. If the abrasions cover a larger area of the body, are combined with bruises, or very hurtful, move the patient to somewhere you can further take care of him.

Step 2: Serious abrasions

If you are dealing with serious abrasions, abrasions that cover large areas of the body or severe pain, consider moving the patient to a better care situation (somewhere you have access to a full medical kit).
  1. If necessary, give your patient something for the pain. Passion flower infusion is a safe and gentle pain remedy that's also safe for children.  
  2. Clean the wound again and remove all debris. To easily remove small pieces of dirt, soak the wound, either in water or oil, softly wipe the surface with sterile gauze and remove all remaining particles with tweezers.
  3. Disinfect and cover with non adhesive gauze and bandages or tape. 
  4. Contrary to common belief, wounds heal quicker and with less scarring when kept moist, so repeat this procedure as often as necessary (2-3 times a day) until the wound is healed. The drying of the wound and creation of crusts interferes with the healing process!

Step 3: additional care
  • If there are bruises, consider applying arnica cream where the skin isn't broken. If the bruises are under the scrapes, you can take arnica pills to speed the healing of the bruise.
  • For boosting the healing of the skin, drink red clover infusion.

When to see a doctor

  • When skin is removed to expose subcutaneous tissue or muscle tissue
  • When there is profuse bleeding
  • When the patient is not responsive
  • When you don't feel apt to take care of the wounds
I'm always interested in learning new natural health methods: how do you treat first aid situations? What do you use for pain relief?


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Shifting To Simplicity

Welcome to the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Continue your reading read on at the bottom of this post by clicking the links to the other participants' posts.


 I think that happiness lies in an absence of attachment of things and a presence of being. Maybe that’s my short definition of simple living, right there.

I have found that the fewer things clutter your life, the higher the quality of life. You spend more time connecting, and less time fretting, frustrating and cleaning! So instead of acquiring things, building your family, your support system and a comfortable, functional home seems like heaven to me.

That said, we are now quite far from these things (specifically building a real life support system), and it has taken me quite a while to come to this realization. But now I'm aware of all this, I've started putting some things into action, and hopefully taking my family along with for the ride.

Here’s a few pointers on how to get there:

  • Shake off consumerism: buy only what you NEED, not what you WANT or what just looks good on the spot. Make your purchases well thought. Anything else will just wear you down.
  • Make do with what you have: you can easily get creative with things that are free, or already in your possession to make the things you need. Repurpose, fix, reuse!
  • Spend time with those who lift you up, avoid those who pull you down: In life, you become like the people who surround you, so choose wisely. There are many ways to build up a support group, even if you have to start from scratch. Interest based group gatherings can be the first step to get you started.
  • Get rid of everything that frustrates you or clutters your life: Do you keep tripping over toys? Maybe you should drastically reduce the amount of toys in your house. Can’t find that one sweater you are looking for? Maybe you should donate some of your clothes. Are you wearing all of them. Consider the ‘souvenirs’ you are holding onto. Do you really need things to hold onto memories?
  • Eat things as close to the earth as possible, by which I mean, unprocessed, if possible straight from the tree. 

Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Continue your reading by clicking the links of this month's posts on what simple living means to our participants. We hope you will join us next month, as we discuss new beginnings!

  • The Moments In Between - Amber from Heart Wanderings takes her yoga practice off the mat to focus on the ordinary moments which make mothering magical.
  • Simple living - what it looks like to me - Does simple living mean we have to be selfish? And what does selfish mean anyway? Mrs Green from Little Green Blog ponders in search of a more simple life...
  • A Simple Life is a Peaceful Life, For Me - Destany at They Are All of Me writes how simplicity is a very necessary part of her daily function and crucial for coping with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.
  • Getting Back to the Basics - Minimalism was the first step toward living simply for Momma Jorje. Now she's got big plans on getting back to the basics of living in order to live a simple, healthy, family-focused lifestyle.
  • Simplicity - What living simply means to sustainablemum and how it is woven into the fabric of daily life.
  • Simply Living - Sophelia of Sophelia's Adventures in Japan writes about her reluctance to tighten her budget after years of living in poverty, but also her anticipation of the pleasures of simplifying her daily life as she and her husband prepare to adopt a child in Japan. 
  • The Simple Life: A Work in Progress - Joella at Fine and Fair ponders her idealized vision of simple living and discusses the steps she's taking to get closer to it. 
  • Simple Living is Simply Living - At Living Peacefully with Children, Bart and Mandy hope to help their children focus on what is truly important by simply living.
  • Happiness, not Greatness - Lauren at Hobo Mama discovered that ambitions got in the way of simply being.
  • Shifting to Simplicity - At Authentic Parenting, Laura shares a couple of ways in which she tries to simplify her life.
photo credit: victor_nuno via photopin cc