Google+ Authentic Parenting: August 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

Vulvar Itching (Pruritis) and Breastfeeding: Atrophic Vaginitis

Welcome to the August 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Breastfeeding 
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about breastfeeding. We hope you enjoy this month's posts and consider joining us next month when we share about breastfeeding.


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The topic of this post is not what I initially decided to write about, but it is indeed a post I have been
wanting to write for quite some time and I think it needs more attention than my personal story.

When my son was about 6 months old, I started suffering from what I thought was a yeast infection. I did everything holistic I could think about (no sugar, coconut oil topically, calendula rinses, garlic, you name it), to no avail. So I went to see my gynaecologist and got some cream prescribed. Again, to no avail. I visited the gynaecologist three times in the past year, plus a family doctor. 
The last two visits showed no sign of yeast infection and no matter the treatment, no relief. (For the record, I got two different topical treatments and took two boxes of probiotics specifically designed for the vaginal flora).

After a year and no results or relief, I started researching a bit deeper and bumped onto a file destined at medical students that gave the things they should check for when a woman presented with pruritis vulvae (vulvar itching), this clearly said that if the woman is breastfeeding, pregnant or menopausal, the most likely diagnose is atrophic vaginitis.

Atrophic Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vulvar tissue due to a thinning of tissues and a decreased lubrication, caused by low levels of oestrogen.

Now all three doctors I went to see knew that I was breastfeeding and still didn't make the link. I can only imagine this is because of the fact that very little women breastfeed for longer than 3 months and that they just don't have that on their list when their not dealing with menopausal women.

I discussed the topic a little in my holistic health groups online and got emails from several women thanking me because they finally knew what was wrong and had been in the same dire street as I was for so long.

So what can you do about it?

Western Medicine's treatment of atrophic vaginitis consists of hormonal creams, in first instance, applied topically and lubrication for sex. I didn't really want to go that road, especially since for me, this was going to be temporary, at least until my hormones kicked in again, so I felt like I had to bit the bullet.

I did find a couple things lessen the discomfort:
  • any type of chafing or contact will make the condition worse, so not using toilet paper (or at least not bleached) gives a lot of relief. I used a calendula infusion spray bottle instead, as it's also soothing. Loose clothes will help you further, certainly no panty liners.
  • As little washing as possible, water only dries out tissues further so frequent washing will makes things excessively worse. Choose showers over baths, as sitting in the water gives it time to dehydrate the vulvar skin
  • For soothing, I used cooled coconut oil or calendula infusion
  • The goal is to bring as little distortion as possible to the vaginal area, so chlorinated water, chemically dyed clothing, underwear washed with harsh chemicals... all a big no no
I bet there are ways to get your hormones flowing naturally again, but so far I haven't found any (except maybe red clover infusion, but I'm still unsure about that) and I recently got my period back so I'm hoping that's the last of it.





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Visit Living Peacefully with Children and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in next month's Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!   Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants: (This list will be live and updated by afternoon August 30 with all the carnival links.)
    APBC - Authentic Parenting
  • Breastfeeding During the First Trimester - Bianca from The Pierogie Mama shares her experience of continuing to breastfeed her 17 month old daughter through the first trimester of her second pregnancy.
  • Night Weaning a Four Year Old - Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she successfully and gently night weaned her 4 year old daughter this year and how that lead to full weaning on her daughter's terms just this month.
  • Honoring Low Supply Moms with Breastfeeding Support - As a low supply mom, Mandy has worked hard to make as much milk as possible and to give her children the closest thing to CLW. At Living peacefully with Children, she shares her frustrations concerning the use of low supply moms in the attacks against sharing breastfeeding information and support.
  • Vulvar Itching (Pruritis) and Breastfeeding: Atrophic Vaginitis -At Authentic Parenting, Laura writes about a little known condition tied to breastfeeding that can truly mess up your day.


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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

6 AMazing Resources for Mindful Learning - Last Chance!

Welcome to the Mindful Learning eBundle Sale, today is the last day of the sale, thus your last chance to get these six amazing eResources!


Want to know what this bundle will cost you in your currency?
Here are the prices for the 6 fabulous resources for home learning in various currencies:
US$12.50 / CAD$13.13 / €9.34 / £8.03 / AU$13.84
Total value:
US$50.90 / CAD$53.49 / €38.04 / £32.69 / AU$56.34

Buying this bundle supports this blog.


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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What is Unschooling?

Welcome to the Mindful Learning eBundle Sale, your chance to bring home 6 hand picked home learning resources. By far the most complete collection of learning resources out there today, and it can be yours for only $12,50. This for a retail value of over $50, that's 75% off!!! Be quick, this sale ends tomorrow.

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Yesterday we tackled Montessori, today, we'll discuss what it means to unschool.

Often when inquiring what unschooling is, you'll get a list of what it isn't and getting a concise definition can be hard. But we'll give it a go anyway.
Unschooling is self-directed, interest driven learning, which is facilitated by parents or caregivers in a rich and nurturing environment.
source: Oana Hogrefe Photography

The unschooling philosophy starts from the concept that learning is innate to humans and that, given the right circumstances (food, shelter, safety - both physical and mental, rich and creative environment) a child (or even adult) will learn anything they need when they need it.
Unschooling goes by many names: self-directed learning, interest based learning, life learning, holistic learning... but basically they are one and the same, just variations on a theme. They all put the learner central, instead of putting the material central. They're highly individual methods of learning... they become more of a philosophy of life than the way learning is seen in the traditional sense.

Learning, in the sense that unschoolers see it, is so intertwined with life that it cannot be seperated from life. Just like any child that has the physical and mental capacities will learn to walk and talk, so shall he learn to read, and write and even do math.

Unschooling is not a hands off method as is often misconceived. Parents or caregivers have a very active role in helping the growing child obtain the knowledge he or she seeks. They are also highly involved in creating that 'rich environment' I've hinted at a couple of times throughout this post.
Unschooling doesn't happen in an air tight cocoon, it happens in the world (worldschooling is a fine term to point to this), in real life, through real encounters and interactions.
Unschooling parents will actively involve children in conversations, actions and well, life in whole.
Unschoolers see children as part of the 'real world', not as people in formation who need to be kept from it.

Unschooling is respectful of the child, his abilities and pace and interests and passions.

Want more? Read my post 'Unschooling: an Introduction'


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Do you like where this is headed?
Sara McGrath's 'Unschooling: A Lifestyle of Learning' is a Practical Handbook on Learning Without School: People who feel drawn to the philosophical principles of unschooling often ask ‘How do you unschool?’
McGrath eloquently answers questions people who are new at unschooling often struggle with and offers to be a guide on the path towards an unschooled life.

From the book: Unschooling life feels joyful. A self-motivated, passion and purpose-driven life feels intrinsically right.

Sara McGrath is a long-time homeschooling mother of three and author of several books on self-motivated homeschooling, unschooling, how-to, fiction, and a memoir, as well as hundreds of online articles.

120 pages, value $4,99

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Buying this bundle supports this site, as I earn an affiliate commission for each sale. Thank you!!




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Monday, August 26, 2013

What is Montessori? - 6 Mindful Learning Ressources

Welcome to the  Mindful Learning eBundle Sale , your chance to get 6 amazing learning ressources at 75% discount. A total retail value of over $50 for only $12,50. Be quick, this deal only lasts for 4 days.

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Montessori is probably one of the schooling styles that leans closest to unschooling as is possible in a
Image: Oana Hogrefe Photography
schooled environment. But what is Montessori really?

The Montessori learning style was developed by Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator. When teaching children in a mental institution, she found out that with an individualised, and free approach, children learned more than with a traditional approach.
Some of the basic premises of Montessori education are that children are respected as individuals. The approach esteems the child's unique ability for learning from his environment and sees the first six years of life as the most important.

A couple of essentials of a Montessori classroom are:
  • mixed age classrooms
  • child chooses his activity
  • uninterrupted blocks of work time of approximately 3 hours
  • a constructivist model of learning, where children learn directly from materials, not from instruction (experience/play based learning)
  • freedom of movement
  • specialised learning materials developed by Montessori and her team
  • a Montessori trained teacher
Even though the Montessori approach is essentially a schooling philosophy, it is perfectly adaptable to homeschooling and can bring useful insights for unschoolers.


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Does this sound like something that would work for you? Montessori At Home is the most complete Montessori resource on the market today! Enjoyed by over 4000 families worldwide, this eBook and its numerous printables are an invaluable Montessori Learning tool.

The first chapters contain exactly the information parents need to know to get started quickly and with a firm understanding of Montessori. They include information on Maria Montessori and her observations of children, the neuroscience of early childhood, implementing Montessori principles in parenting, and using learning materials at home. Clear descriptions for over 300 activities and hands-on materials follow in the areas of Practical Life, Sensorial, Art & Music, Digital Life, Science, Language, and Mathematics. Complete sequences for teaching your to child to read and master Montessori math are included. Recommendations are also given for over 225 of the best tablet apps for preschoolers, along with guidelines for safely introducing digital learning to children. 76 pages of free printables are included, as well as the eBook, Mom Bloggers Talk Montessori, to give you a window into what other Montessori Moms are doing at home. There is no other resource for parents like Montessori At Home!

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Where can you get this awesome resource? You can buy the Montessori at Home eBook for 10.95 online. Only until the 28th of August, Montessori at Home is part of the Mindful Learning eBundle sale. A collection of learning resources I put together with the girls from the Mindful Nurturing team (Jennifer Saleem from Hybrid Rasta Mama and Lauren Wayne from Hobo Mama). That's only $12.50 for this book plus 5 other home learning resources!

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Get your Mindful Learning eBundle today and gain access to these 6 awesome ressources:



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Buying this bundle supports this site, as an affiliate commission is earned for every book sold through this blog. Thanks for your support!



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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Almost Back to (Un)School



Mindful Learning eBundle Sale

The past couple of weeks, my daughter has been showing a real interest in a more scholarly approach to learning. She's been doing learning and counting excercise worksheets... frantically! As parents, we think a ton about how our children learn, and what our role is in facilitating and guiding their education. That's why I'm happy to introduce this new eBundle on Mindful Learning!

The Mindful Learning eBundle holds 6 carefully selected learning resources, with a focus on early reading. This is a practical bundle with over 1,200 pages of learning fun and numerous printables.
If you're stuck in a homeschool rut, if your child keeps asking for fun learning activities and you've no inspiration left, or you just want to refresh your learning approach? This is THE BUNDLE you need for countless hours of learning fun!
Grab your chance to get these six fabulous e-resources at 75% off! That's only $12.50 USD for over $50 worth of learning materials!


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So what's in this bundle?

Montessori At Home! by John Bowman of Montessori at Home, 520 pages and numerous printables, value $10.95

Montessori at home
The Third Edition of the Montessori At Home! eBook is the most complete resource available for parents who want to do Montessori activities at home with their 3-6 year old children. This full size, 512-page, $10.95 PDF eBook looks great on all computers, and is optimized for viewing on the iPad. Hundreds of full color photos and links to blogs and videos expand on the information in the eBook, providing a unique resource for parents. Instead of spending months of time during your child's most formative years researching what to do, you can start doing activities in 1-2 days and have a complete plan at your fingertips for moving on. Over 4000 parents all over the world are using Montessori At Home!
The first chapters contain exactly the information parents need to know to get started quickly and with a firm understanding of Montessori. They include information on Maria Montessori and her observations of children, the neuroscience of early childhood, implementing Montessori principles in parenting, and using learning materials at home. Clear descriptions for over 300 activities and hands-on materials follow in the areas of Practical Life, Sensorial, Art and Music, Digital Life, Science, Language, and Mathematics. Complete sequences for teaching your to child to read and master Montessori math are included. Recommendations are also given for over 225 of the best tablet apps for preschoolers, along with guidelines for safely introducing digital learning to children. 76 pages of free printables are included, as well as the eBook.

You can Read! by Carisa of 1+1+1=1, over 300 pages, value $10

You Can Read Button 200x200 You Can Read is a simple sight word program developed with younger readers in mind. Children learn to read at different ages and some show the reading readiness signs at much younger ages than others. These children are ready to learn words and reading skills, they just aren't ready for complex worksheets and activities often available to children who are a bit older when they are learning. Carisa created this program for children who are showing reading readiness signs at a younger age, approximately ages 3-5. Older children can use these printables and activities also; they were just created with a younger reader in mind!
The printables are based on the Dolch Pre Primer and Primer Sight Word lists, as well as a few I added in, for a total of 72 words. To see the entire word list, and list of activities included in each set, see the You Can Read Information Page

a lifestyle of learningEveryday Sensory Alphabet Activities, by Melitsa Avila of Raising Playful Tots, 99 pages, value $9

Everyday Sensory Alphabet Activities is your go to solution for wriggly jiggly children who want to craft and play with alphabet activities that focus on the process along with audio from educators about alphabet learning to set things going in the right direction.
Follow raising playful tots on Twitter - Facebook - Pinterest

Book Love: Help Your Child Grow From Reluctant to Enthusiastic Reader, by Melissa Taylor of Imagination Soup, 130 pages, value $9.97

book loveWhat if you could get your reluctant reader to love books?
Kids don't like to read for four reasons: too tricky - too blurry - too boring - too sitty.
Discover why your child doesn't like to read … and what to do about it!
Then turn it into Book Love!
In Book Love, you'll find lots of unique, fun, and exciting ideas for your child based on why he or she doesn't like reading. What else will you find in Book Love? - book lists by interests (with links) - alphabet and phonics activities and crafts - sight word games - favorite reading products - rhyming word play games - printables - and more! Do you want your child to love reading?
Then you need this book.

a lifestyle of learning Unschooling: A Lifestyle of Learning, by Sara McGrath, 120 pages, value $4.99

A Practical Handbook on Learning Without School: People who feel drawn to the philosophical principles of unschooling often ask 'How do you unschool?' While acknowledging that each family approaches the unschooling lifestyle from a unique standpoint, I offer the details of my family’s experiences, along with specific advice for meeting legal requirements without sacrificing your ideals.
More info here.

What Will We Learn Today? Easy Homeschooling Activities, by Lauren Wayne of Hobo Mama, 154 pages, value $5.99

a lifestyle of learning Are you a homeschooling parent, or do you want to be? Maybe you wonder how learning can fit into everyday life. Or maybe you’re sure it can, but some days you and your child simply run out of ideas of what to do that’s not the same old-same old.
That’s where this book comes in. It’s an ideabook of more than 550 fun and creative ideas that teach and reinforce learning under eight key curricular subjects. Whether you’re homeschooling, unschooling, or regular schooling, your preschool and school-age kids will enjoy these quick and fun activities that engage their minds and creativity.
The ideas are time- and child-tested activities that our kids enjoy. For them, there’s no division between “learning” and “life” — it’s all of one piece. These idea-joggers use very little in the way of special materials or money but give a lot in terms of natural learning and family connection.


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This sale lasts for only 4 days, so you'll have to be quick! The sale starts Sunday, August 25, and ends Wednesday, August 28! Buying this bundle is a great way to support this site, since I earn an affiliate commission for each sale through the links on this site. Thank you!


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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival - Call for submissions

APBC - Authentic ParentingWelcome to the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children and Laura at Authentic Parenting. We hope that you will join us on the last Friday of each month as we share posts about simple living in our lives. Submission deadline: Saturday, August 24.

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Breastfeeding

As August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, every year at this time, we use the carnival to spread awareness and knowledge about breastfeeding. So share your stories, your hardship, your happiness. Tell us all about the benefits of breastfeeding, help us spread the knowledge.

How to join in?

To submit an article to the blog carnival, please e-mail your submission to mandy{at}livingpeacefullywithchildren{dot}com and mamapoekie{at}yahoo{dot}com, and fill out the webform by August 24. Please write a new, unpublished piece for the carnival. We will e-mail you with instructions before the carnival date. We ask that you publish your post on August 30. Please do:
  • Use your creativity
  • Write an original, previously unpublished post on the given topic
  • Be respectful
  • Spell check your post
Do Not Use excessive profanity or promote violence against others As the co-hosts of the carnival are advocates of peaceful living and gentle parenting, we ask that you not post about non-gentle practices or violence toward others. While we will not be editing your articles, we do reserve the right to not add your post to the carnival if it is not on topic, is poorly written, or goes against the guidelines which have been set forth.

Why Participate?

Blog carnivals are a great way to generate blog traffic and build a supportive community. Your blog will receive links from many other blogs and you and your readers will have the opportunity to discover other blogs with similar goals in mind. Please join us as we embrace Authentic Parenting! We hope you will consider joining us every month as we discuss ways to live and parent authentically.  


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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Simple Celebrations

Welcome to the July edition of the Simply Living Blog Carnival - Celebrations 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. This month, we write about keeping things simple with our kids. Please check out the links to posts by our other participants at the end of this post.

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As an expat, it is often hard to do elaborate celebrations. Mostly, our 'stuff'' is hidden, nowwhere to be found. We're always getting to know a new kitchen and family is never around.
Throughout the years, I've dreaded celebrations. They were never 'the same' as they were before we became expats.

I didn't have big birthday banners, elaborate christmas ornaments, utensils to make five different desserts...

When holidays or birthdays came closer, I'd get sad, frustrated. I felt like I was lacking as a parent, as a homemaker... I just felt like I couldn't get if, or in the right mood.

But I've come to realize that you don't need stuff, or elaborateness for celebrating. You need togetherness and spirit, and you just have those, for free, anywhere.



There's just as much magic in a simple cake you've scrambled together, maybe even more, as there is in one you've elaborately planned and decorated.
There's just as much enjoyment in a christmas tree that you've pieced together from a dead branch, candy and earrings.
The pressure we have on perfection and that eager need of stuff, it's only superficial, brought to us by commercials. It's not that which makes the magic.

Have you moved to a simpler way of celebrating? Tell me about it!

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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. Read about how others are incorporating simple living and parenthood. We hope you will join us next month when we discuss Money Matters!  
  • Parties - sustainablemum explains how and why she keeps her birthday celebrations for her eldest a simple affair at his behest.
  • Simple Birthday Celebrations - Birthdays are kept simple at Living Peacefully with Children. Mandy shares how her family celebrates birthdays without the stress and expense.
  • Countdown to a Simple Christmas - Start now to prepare your house and home for the holidays. Steps to take each month to enjoy a much simpler approach to Christmas.
  • Simply Celebrate - Jorje has tried celebrating kid birthdays BIG and small... which one do you think was more simple? less stressful?
  • That's a Wrap - At Parentwin, Darlena describes her experiences with wrapping gifts and how she has changed her ideals when it comes to gift giving.
  • Simple Celebrations - Laura at Authentic parenting shares how her family keeps celebrations simple.
 


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Monday, August 19, 2013

5 Steps To Reduce Our Ecological Footprint

written by David

One of the major challenges of the world today is trying to reduce our impact on the environment. So how can we help? Here are a few things you can try at home; in the end it will also save you some money:



  1. Forget about energy saving light bulbs, switch to LED. Where in the past most of us used an energy saving bulb of 20 W, you can today replace it by a 5 W LED Bulb or spot. I can assure you, you will get enough light. We installed already some LED lights in our house and even find that the 5 W is giving too much light.
  2. Examine your old appliances and make a cost calculation. Let me give you an example: We have a fridge that consumes on average 1200 kwh per year. This is huge. Now if we buy a new energy efficient fridge, the average consumption will be around 450 kwh per year. The price for electricity here is about 20 USDcent per kwh. This means that when changing fridges, we would not only do well for the environment but also save 150 USD per year on our electricity bill.
  3. Buy a solar charger for all your battery operated stuff (cellphone, laptop, toys,…). A recent study of the Belgian government showed that if everyone in Belgium would do so, they could shut down a complete coal fired electricity plant!!!!
  4. 54% of the energy cost in a family in Belgium goes to heating. Needless to say that it is also a major point for improving our footprint. So try to insulate your house as good as possible and try to use natural elements such as hennep, wood fibers, hay,… Also use double or triple glazing on your windows.
  5. Try to minimize your water usage. You can do this by putting a filled water bottle or brick in your water recipient of the toilet. Every time you flush you could save around 1L of water. If you are a family you can save more than 1000L a year by this simple tip.

I hope this info will help you on your way to a smaller ecological impact.

David.

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Want more of this?
Check out 10 Simple Things You Can Do That Are Kind on the Environment
10 Eco Tips for the Bathroom
3 Tips for Becoming a Green Parent
25 Tips on Waste Reduction



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Image source By Janine from Mililani, Hawaii, United States (footprints  Uploaded by Fæ) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Don't Seek What Isn't There - On Sibling Jealousy

Welcome to the August 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Sibling Revelry
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about siblings - their own, their hopes for their kids, and more. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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As soon as my second child was born, people started asking: Isn't your
daughter jealous?
Fact was, she wasn't. At all. She was quite supportive and excited.
We did spend a lot of tiume preparing her for a little sibling and she was involved in the whole process of pregnancy and birth.

But still people wondered. And they would seek out any hint of 'jealous' behaviour. Each crooked look, cuddle that was a little bit too hard, conversation about death and people would say: "look, she's jealous, be careful".

She never was and never has been jealous and I actually think she's not even jealous by nature. I think in seeking out any hint of jealousy with new siblings, people are only aggravating the situation. You're making the other child into a boogeyman, alienating him from the parent. This cannot be a good thing.

Did others try to talk you into jealousy issues with your siblings? How did you respond?



Image source: By LEONARDO DASILVA (Flickr: IMG_0053) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon August 13 with all the carnival links.)
  • The Damage of Comparing Siblings — Comparing siblings can lead to hurt feelings and poor relationships. What Jana Falls has learned and why she hopes for more for her son.
  • Connecting Through Sibling Rivalry — With four children who are spaced so that each child grows up in a pair, Destany at They are All of Me shares her method for minimizing the competition so her children can focus on bonding, rather than besting each other.
  • Sibling Revelry — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares the two-week transition that happens every summer as her kids transform from bickering to learning how to play.
  • Baby Brother born from an OceanAbby Jaramillo describes how her toddler connects in a possibly mystical way with her new baby brother and his birth at home, and Abby draws parallels with her own sister's new baby.
  • Hard, But Worth It — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl discusses how difficult having two children can be, but how it's definitely worth it.
  • Raising Attached Siblings — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy and her husband are making conscious choices about how they raise their children to foster sibling connection and attachment.
  • It's Complicated — Henrietta at Angel Wings and Herb Tea reflects on how life's twists and turns have taken her from a childhood with no siblings to a constantly changing family life with five children, including one in spirit.
  • Supportsustainablemum reflects on how the differences between her relationship with her siblings and her husband's have affected their family and at a time of need.
  • Peas in a Pod — Kellie at Our Mindful Life enjoys the special relationship her oldest two children share.
  • Lessening the competitive enviornment in the homeLisa at The Squishable Baby discusses how downplaying competition in the home has led to cooperation, not competition.
  • The complex and wonderful world of siblings — Lauren at Hobo Mamareflects on her choices to have not too many children, spaced far apart — and how that's maybe limited how close their sibling relationship can be.
  • 5 Ways to Help Young Siblings Have a Loving Relationship — Charise I Thought I Knew Mama shares the strategies that help her three year old and 14 month old have a somewhat beautiful relationship and aid in keeping peace in their home.
  • 4 Steps to Encourage Sibling Revelry, even in Hot Moments of Rivalry — Sheila Pai of A Living Family share 4 Steps she uses to shift hot moments of sibling rivalry towards connected moments of sibling revelry and human compassion.
  • Twins Are Fun — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot witnesses the development of her twins' sibling bond.
  • Growing Up Together- Sibling Revelry in Our House — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work realizes that there is great utility in raising siblings that are close in age, and is grateful to have been blessed with healthy siblings that both love and challenge one another every day.
  • Top 5 Ways to Reduce Sibling Rivalry — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares ideas that helped her two children be best friends along with Montessori resources for peace education and conflict resolution.
  • Sibling Uncertainty — Alisha at Cinnamon and Sassafras wonders how her children's relationship will change now that the baby is mobile.
  • Living with the Longing — Rachael at The Variegated Life sees that she can live with her longing for another — without changing her plans.
  • For My One and Only DaughterPlaying for Peace mommy reflects on her choice to not have more children in order to focus on other dreams.
  • Siblings: A Crash Course in Relationship Training — How have your siblings prepared you for later relationships? One of Dionna at Code Name: Mama's top priorities as mama of siblings is to help them learn how to navigate relationships.
  • The Joys of Siblings: An Inside Joke — Ana at Panda & Ananaso shares the a glimpse into the joys of having siblings through sharing a perplexing yet hilarious inside joke betwixt her and her own.
  • Sibling Support, even in the potty! — Even though Laura at Pug in the Kitchen's children didn't start out best friends, they are joined at the hip these days, including cheering each other on with potty successes!
  • Don't Seek What Isn't There - On Sibling Jealousy — Laura from Authentic Parenting analyzes the seeming desire people harbor for seeking out hints of sibling jealousy.


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Monday, August 12, 2013

Mom Blogs VS. Dad Blogs

Him vs. Her. Mom vs. Dad. It is something we are used to seeing in so many aspects of life; in the kitchen, in the career stakes and even when it comes down to who is the best parent.
Well, one interesting twist on this age old battle of the sexes is now being waged online. The battle between Mom blogs and Dad blogs is one of the most interesting internet phenomenons of recent years but who is best?


The Variety

One huge advantage that Mom blogs have is that there are more of them around. This means that if you want to read an article written on a certain subject or in a certain style you have more chance of finding one written by a mother. Of course, the guys are catching up, as more and more of us decide that we have something to say on this subject. This relative lack of Dad blogs on the internet means that new ones tend to get more credit than another new Mom one being added to a crowded market would get. New male bloggers may find that it is perhaps easier to get a foothold in the Dad blogging world than Mom bloggers find it. However, new, high quality blogs are always going to get a great reception no matter who writes them.

The Angles

While we don’t want to generalise, perhaps the best way of summing this up is to say that Dads often write like someone who is experiencing a new and completely unexpected way of life, while women usually write about parenthood as though it is a normal part of life. Looking after the kids and telling the world about it is new to a lot of fathers and there can’t be many of us around who were brought up mainly by our fathers and who are carrying on with this tradition. However, the ladies, on the other hand instinctively tap into a long history of motherhood which goes back thousands of years. This means that Moms often write blog posts which are more genuinely insightful about the art of parenting, while the Dads tend to write in a wide-eyed wondrous kind of way about the newness of it all. Both of these approaches can be exciting to read and that is part of the reason why the internet is such a fantastic resource for anyone wanting to read about bringing up kids.

The Humour

The best thing about many Mom and Dad blogs is the amount of humour which the bloggers manage to inject into them. Bringing up children is something which is likely to inspire you to laugh or to bring you out in tears at one time or another, so it is just as well that the best parenting bloggers all know when it is best to laugh at their misfortunes. It is hard to find a difference between Mom and Dad bloggers in this respect, so it seems best to just enjoy the funny things which they post regardless of the gender of the poster.

About the author
This article was written by Mike Grant over at www.theoutdoorsdad.com

***
Image source: By Cortega9 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


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Friday, August 9, 2013

Best Foods To Help Change Your Mood

Written by Marcela De Vivo

We hear a lot about how our diet can affect our overall health, but it can be difficult to really tell which foods are best for us, considering how much information we have access to online today; however, there is no doubt that our diet directly impacts our quality of life, in terms of physique and overall health. But what we often don’t hear is how our diet can directly affect our mood. What many of us would already understand is the indirect impact our diet has on our mood, which goes something like this:

  • We eat a bunch of junk food...
  • we feel heavy, or unhealthy...
  • thus our mood deteriorates because we feel weighed down and sluggish.
This makes sense to most people and, while it certainly does occur, what about the possibility of certain foods actually having a direct impact on our mood? Medically speaking, that is a reality, and it can be either a pose positive or negative impact. Sugar, coffee, diet drinks and soy can all have a negative impact on a person’s mood because of how their chemical properties interact with the human body. On the other hand, foods that give you high amounts of folate, vitamin D and C, omega-3s, magnesium and iron can all have positive effects on an individual’s serotonin levels and your overall feeling and outlook. The trick is to know what foods to target, so to make it simple. Here are a few foods that can positively impact your mood, both in the short and long-term:

1. Blueberries — Not only are they extremely rich in antioxidants, but blueberries contain a lot of fiber and vitamin C, the latter of which can improve your mood and the former of which can improve your digestive health. The antioxidants, in turn, will act as a cleaning agent for your body by reducing free radicals and toxic proteins.
2. Salmon — The biggest selling point salmon has is its high concentration of omega-3s. Although a wide variety of fish have high amounts of omega-3, salmon is one of the best tasting options and has other health benefits as well.

3. Spinach — Any kind of dark leafy green is going to be beneficial for your liver and will include a boatload of fiber and cancer-fighting antioxidants; it even contains a little bit of protein. Eating fresh spinach is considered to be one of the most nutrient-rich foods available, can improve cardiovascular health, combat ovarian and prostate cancers and can improve brain function.
4. Cottage Cheese — If you need a little extra protein, cottage cheese is a perfect solution since you can prepare it quickly. It’s also quite delicious when it’s paired with tomatoes or your favorite fruit. It also contains tryptophan, which will actually help to relax your body and calm you down. Eating for Health and Happiness When you eat cleaner and healthier, you’ll improve your mood on multiple levels. Not only will you be happier about how you look and feel, but you’ll actually be happier because of your diet. Your body was made to function on certain nutrients, and unfortunately, a high percentage of the food available to us has (for whatever reason) been produced without those nutrients, in favor of foods with high fat, salt and sugar content. However, with a little smart shopping and careful planning, you can eat better and avoid the mood swings that come along with a poor diet.      


About the author
Marcela De Vivo is a writer for a Miami spa Bellezza, whose work covers several health and wellness topics. To keep feeling fit and healthy, she practices yoga and meditation each day, along with a well-balanced diet with nutrient-rich foods. Follow her on Pinterest and Twitter today for more health tips.


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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bomb Your Artwork

Written by Iyas

I've been guilty of it. Collecting every piece of "art" that my kids bring
home, and storing it in a vault that could easily house enough grain to feed a province in China. I just don't have the heart to throw it away. I've needed to depend on my wife, who has figured out that our love for our children is NOT in direct proportion to how many of their masterpieces we store, and who is therefore merciless with all but the best art, or ones that have some kind of meaningful milestone or emotion attached.
Which is why I found this activity so therapeutic. We get our kids to create art, then drench it with water-balloons so there's little trace of it ever having existed. And they love doing it, and bear me no ill for not holding on to it!
And that, in summary, is this month's guest activity from Freaky Rivet. Here's a video of how we did it.

As if you need them, here are the instructions for this one.
Kit list:
  • About a dozen water balloons;
  • Some pavement / sidewalk chalk in different colours;
  • A mop (for the kids) to clean up the mess!
  • A good book for you to read while they're out and at it :)
Instructions:
  1. Fill up some water balloons with your kids. Decide how long you want to leave your kids with this activity while you get some time to read in peace. If you plan to read Dostoevsky, get them to only half-fill the balloons as they are much more difficult to explode when half full:)
  2. Get the kids to draw something they really don't like on a safe concrete space - your own driveway would be perfect if you have one. Get them to really go to town here - as large as they can, detail, multiple colours, and so on. Then have them take a picture of it as a keepsake of what it looked like before they blatted it!
  3. Then have them stand back and throw the water balloons at it to explode. You can have them target strategic parts of the offending drawing for points, or just go for complete water drenching!
  4. Camera out and pictures again for a true before and after for them to show their friends.
That's it! Simple, and ridiculously fun!

***

Freaky Rivet was founded by Iyas, the author of this article and father of four, and Kevin, an ex-teacher of over a thousand children and who also runs activity days for schools. Iyas used to lead a business and technology consulting organisation of nearly 500 people, which he left for the bigger challenge of herding his four children with his wife around Latin America for 6 months. During this life-changing trip to recover from the corporate world, he discovered both the subtly addictive nature of gadgets and technology for children, and their ability to enjoy exploration, discovery and activity when peeled away from the technology. It was this eureka moment that led him with Kevin, an old friend from their time together at Oxford University, to come up with the Freaky Rivet concept - inviting children into a life of activity, of exploration and of discovery by using technology rather than fighting it. In his spare time (kidding, right?) he runs a charity for children living in disadvantaged and war-torn environments.


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Friday, August 2, 2013

August Simply Living Carnival: Call For Submissions

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. We hope that you will join us on the third Tuesday of each month as we share posts about simple living in our lives. Submission deadline will be the second Tuesday of each month.

Celebrations 

There are many events in our lives worthy of celebrating, but often times those celebrations get out of control to the point that we no longer enjoy them. Do you plan lovely simple parties? do you have family traditions that are extra special to you? How do you keep the sanity in celebrations?

To submit an article to the blog carnival, please e-mail your submission to mandy{at}livingpeacefullywithchildren{dot}com anddelilahfineandfair{at}gmail{dot}com, and fill out the webform by August 13. Please write a new, unpublished piece for the carnival. We will e-mail you with instructions before the carnival date. We ask that you publish your post on August 20.

We want you to use creativity and to express yourself as you see fit. To that end, you are welcome to post at your discretion with a few guidelines in mind. Please be respectful in your posts. Avoid excessive profanity and poor grammar or spelling. As the co-hosts of the carnival are all advocates of peaceful living and gentle parenting, we ask that you not post about non-gentle practices or violence toward others. While we will not be editing your articles, we do reserve the right to not add your post to the carnival if it is not on topic, is poorly written, or goes against the guidelines which have been set forth.



Blog carnivals are a great way to generate blog traffic and build a supportive community. Your blog will receive links from many other blogs and you and your readers will have the opportunity to discover other blogs with similar goals in mind. Please join us as we embrace Simply Living through Simple Living! We hope you will consider joining us every month as we discuss ways we simplify our lives.


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