Google+ Authentic Parenting: November 2013

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Authentic Parenting Blog Hop: Toxic Relationships

The Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, co-hosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children and Laura at Authentic Parenting, is hosting a blog hop this month on Toxic Relationships.

Have you ever been in a relationship that was so bad it affected your whole life? As parents, we should be even more careful picking the people surrounding us, because the way we engage in a relationship guides our children in the way they see the world. How to you handle dealing with toxic relationships? How do you make your relationships better?

To participate, just add your old or new post to the linky below sometime before December 27, 2013. If you would like to share anonymously, let us know and we will find a safe place for you to share your post. This is a touchy subject but an important one.

Blog hops 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 bring authenticity into our lives and our parenting.

Want to help host this blog hop on your own blog? Grab the code and share everyone’s posts with your readers!

This is a Blog Hop!

 


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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Big House, Big lawn, Big Loan Story (rerun)

I was walking the dog in my in-laws suburban residential area when all of a sudden something became crystal clear to me, you know, when you've always known something, but all of a sudden it forms itself clearly in your head and all you can do is nod?
You have to know that Belgians like to live in really big houses, preferably with really big lawns. And they want these big houses as soon as possible. As soon as they land a fixed job... even before they have kids or get married. The big house is probably more desirable then a good marriage.

So I am walking through this neighborhood looking at all the nice big houses, with big neatly kept yards and notice that the neighborhood is completely empty. Until about 5.30 PM the only living souls in this neighborhood are mine, my dog and my daughter. And we're only passing though.
From 7AM to almost 7PM these huge homes and huge gardens are empty, because the people who own the homes and gardens have to work all day to pay for the mortgage on the homes and gardens, and those mortgages are equally astronomic as the size of the homes and gardens, so they will probably be working at it for long years to come. The two of them, because with the mortgage, there's no room for any one staying at home, since it will eat the total of one person's salary.
So the kids have to be put in daycare at school, which will eat away at the second salary.

And in the weekend, they'll need to shop to fill those big homes, which again, eats away at the second salary.
And they'll have to tend to the huge garden and big living space, to keep it nice and clean and neatly kept, which will eat away at their time (or their money if they decide that the time is more important).

And when the holiday season comes, they'll all be so tired of the paying and the working and the keeping of the house and the garden that they have to pay for a holiday far far away, to get away from the big house and the big garden. Which leaves the big house and the big garden empty again (maybe even with someone who gets paid to mow the lawn or water the plants).

So why are these people putting in all these working hours for something they can't and probably don't even want to enjoy?
Why does nobody notice how enslaved they are making themselves to these big lawns and big living spaces?


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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Baby’s First Christmas: Top Gifts from Friends and Family

Content provided by Kira

Buying for a baby’s first Christmas can be hard for friends and family, especially when your new addition is only a few weeks old. Of course, we want to buy a token gift – after all, it’s their first Christmas – but what on Earth do we buy? For the first few months of a baby’s life, they don’t want anything except for what they’re getting – love, interaction, milk and plenty of sleep – so it’s no wonder that new parents and their loved ones struggle to think of ideas.


Some people decide against spending oodles of money on a newborn who won’t remember anything about their first Christmas; others stick within a budget that they can afford. As a baby progresses into her toddler years, learning to crawl and shuffle and being interested in toys a little more, buying Christmas presents is a little easier. Here are some ideas that you can provide to your family and friends if they ask you for gift inspiration this Christmas.

Useful Items

Perhaps your baby has only been in the world for a few weeks and you still have things to buy, or maybe you have put off buying certain things because it’s money you could do without spending. Christmas is the time to offer these ideas to others so that they can give something that you’ll find useful.
If your baby is sleeping in his own bed, you might like them to have a baby mobile for their cot, or perhaps they’re showing an interest in finger food and you’d love a Bumbo that has a table attached to it – now’s your chance!

Sentimental Keepsakes

If there’s one thing that would be appreciated as a Christmas gift, not just this year but as they grow, it’s keepsakes. Of course, when children are young, their interest in sentimental items is minimal but when they’re a bit older, they’ll love to look back on the things you saved.
Perhaps a ‘Baby’s First Christmas’ bauble or a little money box with a Christmassy inscription on it – there are plenty of thoughtful items available on the high street, and online, nowadays.

Clothes and Toys

These are always the go-to choices for Christmas gifts. After all, there’s no such thing as too much, is there? Ask for clothes in the next size up and think about the weather that they’ll need the clothes for, or take a look at the age-suitable toys on the market and give them an idea of what you think baby would love.

You don’t have to spend much at all at Christmas, on baby or anyone else in the family; after all, it’s the thought that counts!

Image source: Eva Cristescu on Flickr



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Monday, November 25, 2013

Help! My Child Won't Brush Her Hair - 10 Creative Parenting Solutions

Our children's bodies are their own, and using force to have them comply to our will about their bodies is not the way to go f we want to raise a generation that values and takes care of their bodies. Using force on our children is never a good parenting strategy, as it only teaches our children that in their turn, when they are stronger than another, they can in turn use their force over them. It is our job as parents to come up with creative solutions when it comes to our children's hygiene and health. But I agree it can often be challenging.


When it comes to hair brushing, many kids are reluctant, because often, it does hurt and they really
don't see the benefit - on the spot. Here are some creative ways to put an end to the hair bushing battle:

  1. When they're in the room and you're brushing your hair, give them a brush. They may not do the best job, but maybe they'll take out some of the tangles. After you're done, offer to help. Since you've been brushing your own hair, they might be more prone to have their hair brushed.
  2. Have someone other than yourself do it. If you're constantly nagging your child to brush their hair, chances are, they're refusing because of the nagging. It's not necessarily defiance, it's just their reaction to your attitude. Getting a third party involved can make things much easier.
  3. Cut their hair short, obviously only if they agree! If your child can't maintain a full long bush of hair, and it keeps tangling and causing trouble, maybe a shorter cut can be a solution.
  4. Brush the hair in the tub or shower, after putting on conditioner. The wet hair combined with a detangling agent make combing much easier and less painful.
  5. Put oil in their hair before brushing. Again, the oil helps detangling and makes it less painful. You can make it a special spa moment for the two of you: heat up some oil, put it on your hair, wrap up your head in a warm towel and let is soak for at least half an hour (more if possible). You don't need a lot of oil, just a tablespoon is plenty.
  6. Braid their hair. Braids make sure that the hair doesn't tangle as much and can be kept in for quite a while.
  7. Make a magic brush. Get a simple wooden brush and decorate it together, you can paint it, stick sparkles to it, draw on it with sharpies, whatever you like. It can be your child's own princess or fairy or zombie brush, whatever they're into. If they love the brush, if it is special to them, they'll be more inclined to use it.
  8. Consider if it's really necessary to brush their hair right now. Is it worth fighting over? Can they go without hair brushing for another day? It's just hair anyway. Maybe another time of day, they're more prone to brushing their hair.
  9. Take them to the hairdresser. If your child likes the attention and care of a specialised person, maybe they'll happily have their hair brushed there. Obviously, this is not a viable solution for every time they need to brush their hair, but it can be a good strategy in between.
  10. Use a soft brush. It may take much longer to get all of the knots out and isn't for the fidgety child that can't sit still for long, but a soft brush pulls the hair less and might get a more compliant child. 


Hey, wait a minute, aren't you just avoiding conflict?
No matter what you do as a parent, conflict will be there. Coming up with creative solutions isn't avoidance, it's modelling problem solving skills other than the use of blunt force. Isn't that something you want your child to learn?

What's your tripping point as a parent? Leave it in the comments below and I'm sure we can come up with some creative solutions!


Image source: Blondie Yooper on Flickr


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Friday, November 22, 2013

Teeth Brushing: 10 Creative Parenting Solutions

Teeth brushing is one of those things kids often really dislike. Obviously, at a very young age, they don't really grasp the ramifications of not brushing and it's our duty as a parent to make sure they do… But it doesn't have to be a perpetual battle! Here are some strategies to smooth the tooth brushing process:



  1. Make sure they're in the bath room with you when you're brushing your teeth and give them a brush too. They will quickly reenact what you're doing. Doesn't matter if they do a blotchy job. You can offer to help them after you're done. You can start doing this at a very young age, from as soon as they can sit up and hold an object. They'll come to associate the bathroom visit with tooth brushing and might come to ask for it themselves.
  2. Get them a funky toothbrush. If they're interested in the toothbrush, they'll probably be more inclined using it. Some kids really love electric toothbrushes, so investing in one may be the end of the toothbrushing struggles. When it's time to get a new toothbrush, make them pick out their own. You can even give them money and have them pay for it themselves. Anything that makes them feel like it's their own prized possession will create a greater desire to use it.
  3. Think about toothpaste, again, they can pick it out themselves or you pick a really fabulous one they'll be inclined to use.
  4. Make your own toothpaste with your child. There are many many recipes online, and having made it themselves, they're prone to use it.
  5. Give them their tooth brush on multiple occasions: in the bath tub, in the shower… Just let them play with it and some brushing will occur.
  6. If the toothbrushing in itself remains an issue, there are lots of other things you can do to ensure dental hygiene: Give them green apples to eat, this also cleans the teeth
  7. Munching on hard cheeses are also a great way to get your teeth clean and healthy.
  8. Make sure their diet is optimal for good dental health, which means including lots of healthy fats, fermented cod liver oil, lots of vegetables and greens, as little as possible refined sugars and grains.
  9. Rub their teeth with coconut oil. Coconut oil also get the bad bacteria out of the mouth and this might be less invasive to them than brushing.
  10. Give them a piece of liquorice root to munch on. This also cleans the teeth, eliminates bacteria and tastes nice at the same time.
Here are my top picks in gentle guidance books, from my affiliate partner Amazon:

What do you struggle with as a parent? Drop me a line in the comment and I'm sure we can come up with creative solutions.



Image source: Make Less Noise on Flickr


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Thursday, November 21, 2013

London with Kids: Kensington Park, Kensington Palace and Diana Memorial Playground


Brought to you by our friends at apartment hotels

This post is part of the "London with Kids" travel series, based on our experiences as a family with two small kids visiting London.

Check out the other posts in the "London with Kids" Series:



***

The thing I loved most about London is that there are playgrounds everywhere and everywhere you go
is really kid friendly.
We went to visit Kensington Park and Kensington Palace and stumbled on the Princess Diana of Wales Memorial playground, at the edge of the park. The kids are always up for some release, so they played for a good while. There was a beautiful restaurant next to the palace, but it seemed a bit too posh to go there with the kids, and by then they were ready for some more energy release. We had lunch there after visiting the Palace and were pleasantly surprised to see the sandwiches and snacks were organic.
The playground is very large and there lots of corners and nooks.




Kensington park is huge and beautiful and rather busy. Yet given its size, you don't even notice!

The Palace is certainly worth a visit. When we were there, there was a fashion exhibition and you could view some of the furniture. The exhibitions are multimedia and our daughter had a blast sitting in the nooks, listening to the whispers of court.
Kensington Palace Gardens
Looking for a place to stay? Find a London apartment hotel on any budget, all over town.





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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Importance of Creativity

Welcome to Week One of the month-long Carnival of Creative Mothers to celebrate the launch of The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood
by Lucy H. Pearce

Today's topic is Nurturing a Culture of Creativity at Home. Be sure to read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Join the Carnival and be in with a chance to win a free e-copy of The Rainbow Way!

November 27th: Creative Heroines.
December 4th: Creative Inheritance.
December 11th: The Creative Process.


**********


I am a pretty creative person, and have lots of hobbies. I write, knit, sew, craft, decorate, draw, paint, dance, sing… I do a great many things with passion and fury.
But when I became a mother, I forgot most of that. Everything I wanted to undertake seemed an ordeal. Constantly interrupted and a baby who wouldn't sleep unless she were held and would stir at the smallest noise. In those early months with my daughter, all I ever got done was to sew one table cloth.

I took up some crochet never to finish, tried to sew a top never to be ready by the time my daughter had grown out of it, took up some knitting and never got a sweater done before she became too big for it. And so I sorta gave up.
In hindsight, it isn't too hard to make the link between my lack of creativity and the long and draining depression I hit during my second pregnancy.
I recovered from the depression at the same time as I took up art journalling. ANd since, I've eagerly jumped on my creativity train again.

Luckily, my daughter is now big enough to join in the crafts and creation, or at least to be interested and observe with a passion. And my son has quite a different temperament and likes just to play alongside me when I'm sewing or crafting.
Being able to get creative again has given me renewed energy.

For unschooling children, it is important to spend time around passionate, creative an talented people. So if not only for your own sake, be that person for their sake. Even if you feel like you majorly suck at things, keep at it, try and try again. If you're inspired and passionate, you'll get better.

More than ever, I've found it's important to maintain a flow of creativity in my household. For my mental wellbeing, but also for my daughter's sake, who's just as sensitive as I am. Being creative does wonders to both our moods and sensitivities. It gives us focus. It gives us purpose.
The creative process clears the mind and forces you to spend some time in the here and now. It's the easiest way to mindfulness as it requires all of your attention.

I am thankful that I have these gifts, these talents and passions, and I know now not to let them wither. I hope I pass along the taste for creativity to my children.



  **********


and grab your free extras (first 200 orders only!):

- exclusive access to a private Facebook group for creative mothers


- a vibrant greetings card and book-mark of one of the author's paintings.


Kindle and paperback editions from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble

or order it from your local bookshop!
Carnival host and author of The Rainbow Way, Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares an extract from the chapter Nurturing a Family Culture of Creativity.

  • Lilly Higgins is a passionate food writer. Now a mother of two boys, she's discovered a new calling: to instil in them a love of food and creativity in the kitchen.
  • DeAnna L'am shares how visioning the New Year with your child is an invitation to be inspired: use creativity and resolutions to create a fun road map for the year ahead.
  • Molly at Talk Birth on Releasing Our Butterflies - balancing motherhood with creativity.
  • Laura shares some of the creativity happening at Nestled Under Rainbows and a few thoughts about creativity.
  • Georgie at Visual Toast celebrates her own unique culture of creativity at home.
  • Esther at Nurtureworkshop spreads the love of the ordinary, the delights of everyday things that can be an adventure of the imagination.
  • For Dawn at The Barefoot Home creativity is always a free form expression to be shared by all in a supportive environment where anything can be an art material.
  • Naomi at Poetic Aperture is a mother, artist and photographer who tries to keep her daughter away from the expensive pens and paints.
  • Aimee at Creativeflutters writes about keeping your sanity and creativity intact with small kids in the house in her post: Mother + Creativity - They Must Coexist.
  • Amelia at My Grandest Adventure embarks on a 30 Days of Creativity challenge...you can too!
  • Becky at Raising Loveliness explores creating with her smaller family members.
  • Jennifer at Let Your Soul Shine reveals how children help us connect to our souls, through music and movement.
  • Mary at The Turquoise Paintbrush shares her experiences of creating with kids.
  • Brooke at violicious spent too much time worrying and trying to be creative instead of letting it flow.
  • Joanna at Musings of a Hostage Mother explains why creativity at home is important to her in her post "I nurture a creative culture."
  • On womansart blog this week - nurturing a creative culture at home.
  • Creative woman at Creator's Corner loves color and uses it to paint, draw and decorate to inspire herself and her family.
  • It took until Amy at Mama Dynamite was pregnant aged 35 to discover her dormant creative streak - she has found lovely ways of tuning into it every since.
  • Anna of ArtBuds is a trained educator and art therapist. She has been creating all her life and nurturing her daughter's creativity at home is a priority.
  • Deb at Debalicious shares how her family enjoy creativity at home.
  • Emily at The Nest explores how creativity runs through her family's life together.
  • Jennifer at OurMuddyBoots sees that encouraging creativity in children is as simple as appreciating them for who they are: it just means overriding everything we know!
  • Lisa from Mama.ie has discovered that a combination of writing and traditional crafts can provide a creative outlet during those busy early years of new motherhood.
  • Anna at Biromums shares what nurturing a culture of creativity means to her.
  • Zoie at TouchstoneZ argues that the less they are interfered with, the more creative children become as they grow up.
  • Darcel at The Mahogany Way celebrates creating with her kids.
  • Molly at MollyLollyLoo explores her family's shared creative times.
  • Liz at Reckless Knitting shares how she celebrates creativity with her family.
  • Sally (aka The Ginger Ninja) of The Ginger Chronicles is continually inspired by her own mum and grandmother.
  • Just being creative is enough, says Nicki at Just Like Play, as she ponders her journey of nurturing a creative family.
  • Allurynn shares her creative family's musings in her post "Creativity... at the Heart of it" on Moonlight Muse.
  • Laura at Authentic Parenting explores how being creative saves her sanity.
  • Mama is Inspired talks about how she puts an emphasis on the handmade in her home, especially in the holiday season.
  • Kirstin at Listen to the Squeak shares with you several easy ways for busy mamas and dads to encourage their children to be creative every day.
  • Chiswick Mum believes that a healthy dose of chaos is the secret to nurturing creativity at home.
  • Mila at Art Play Day always lived in her dreams, sleepwalking through life ... now she is finding out what creativity is all about.... her inner child!
  • Sadhbh at Where Wishes Come From describes how picture books can nurture creativity in young children.


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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Feeding a Family in the Middle of Nowhere

Welcome to the November edition of the Simply Living Blog Carnival - Enjoyment cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children and Laura at Authentic Parenting. This month, we write about what food and how we simplify things related to it in our lives. Please check out the links to posts by our other participants at the end of this post.


***

For the past seven years, my family has been living in rural Africa. We've lived in 4 different countries (Cameroon, Ivory Coast, DR Congo and now Liberia) and one place more rural than the next. In the Congo, it actually took us three days to get to a shop. As a result, we never actually got to the shop, we had to send lists to the head office in Kinshasa with all the mayhem and chaos that resulted from it (think ordering two boxes of milk and getting two full 24 packs!).
Now we're at one shopping trip a month, so it requires careful list making and planning ahead. So how do we do it?



  • We try to grow stuff - ever since the Congo, I'm a bit sick of planting things, since I managed a garden there that fed 7 expats and often it was our only source of food. I do have various fruits in the garden here and coriander, since that's the only thing that seems to grow. I also try to grow sprouts, to have some fresh nutrients the days that our stock of fresh food is low.
  • I go to the market when I can. I've always loved African markets, and even though you can't find a great variety of things, you can find some fresh produce.
  • We adopt local foods. When we arrive in a new country, we investigate what people eat and - if it fits within the paleo diet - we try it ourselves. If it's something our family likes, it will become a staple food. We prefer to eat local as much as possible, cutting down on the (expensive) city shopping.
  • We try to find local meats. Mostly it's about networking and slaughtering ourselves. (Frankly, I think if you want to eat meat, you have to be able to kill it yourself)
  • We freeze a lot of stuff when we get back from our monthly shopping trip. 
When I say rural, I mean rural. This is the view we had in the Congo
This is the view from our house here in Liberia

Shopping for food in rural Africa is a completely different experience than it is in the Western World. Nothing is ever certain or taken for granted. We have huge stocks to be able to survive in emergency situations and we use our resources and connections to find fresh and healthy food. All in all, I think we are doing very well.



*****

Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children and Laura at Authentic Parenting. We hope you will join us next month!
  • Seeking Balance - At Sagetribe, Kelly speaks about how their journey as a family has very much been marked by their journey into finding and learning about real food. From veggie burgers made and immediately frozen to homemade breads and cheeses, they've found the best way to find balance in their food story, is to keep simple ingredients on hand.
  • Keeping Holiday Food Simple - At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy shares how her family has developed a holiday tradition with food that allows her family to enjoy the day rather than slaving away.
  • Grain-Free Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup Recipe - A hearty and delicious crock pot soup recipe helps to simplify food planning and preparation for any family. Amy at Anktangle shares her tried-and-true recipe for loaded baked potato soup—made without any grains or flours. What's more: it freezes well for reheating later!
  • Feeing a Family in the Middle of Nowhere - At Authentic Parenting, Laura writes about the many ways she has found over seven years of living in the middle of nowhere to feed her family paleo.
  • The Mind is a Wonderful Thing to Taste - Zoie at TouchstoneZ sees cooking with her family as a mindfulness practice and as service to her family.
Share your posts on simplifying meals, great simple recipes, healthy eating, and more. Just link up any old or new posts between now and December 19, 2013.


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Monday, November 18, 2013

6 Game Apps That Are Fun for the Whole Family

We've had an Ipad for a couple of years now, and I wanted to share some of our favourites, as I sometimes find t hard to get good games if you're just browsing the shops. I'll write a post later about educational games too.
All of these games are free!

My daughter's new favorite game is Dumb Ways to Die. Based on a sensitizing campaign from the
Australian Metro, the goal here is simply not to die. While some of the graphics are a little bloody, they're all very colorful and cartoonesk. While being fun and entertaining, this game does teach kids about the dangers of certain actions.

Race Penguin is one of the earliest games we put on our Ipad. Move a little penguin over the slopes and hills of different settings and try not to be eaten by a bear. Catching fish will make you jump higher. This game requires a distinct sense of timing and good hand-eye coordination, so I was surprised that at age 3, my daughter was able to do it.

In Temple Run, you have to evade obstacles and stay ahead of killer monkeys. Try collecting the rings for in game bonuses. How far can you run? This is something we love to play 'against' each other as a family, taking turns playing. A variation is Pyramid Run, if your child is more into killer mummies.

Jump from platform to platform and get as high as you possibly can :p in DoodleJump, there's different game options with specific difficulties in each one. Quite the tricky game that works with tilting the device. This is another game we play against each other as a family, taking turns.

Eat as many brains as possible without falling of the cliff or getting overrun by cars, that's the goal of Zombie Tsunami. Obviously, anything that involves zombies is a score in my family, but this game is particularly fun to play.

Subway Surf was a family favourite for a while. Evade the police while jumping over trains and collect as many rings as possible.

Hey, but none of these games are education oriented!
No, they aren't. Not all games have to have a clear educational goal. They can be just entertaining and even then, your child will be learning something. All of these games train reflexes, coordination, fine motor skills and timing. Anyhow, it's ok to just play without having to wonder what's the educational value.

What's your favourite game right now? Share it in the comments below!


Image: janetmck on Flickr


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Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Art of Strewing

Strewing is a term used in unschooling as something parents can do to stimulate learning in their homes.
I became familiar with the term a long time ago when we started venturing on this path. But I never fully got the vast potential of strewing, until fairly recently.

Strewing is enriching your child's environment with a variety of things that have the potential to spike his or her interest. 

In successful strewing, it is important that the parent does not harbour expectations about the child's learning experiences. An item strewed can spark an interest, or can go unnoticed.

Now 'things' can be a vary varied concept when it comes to strewing. For a long time, I was thinking that it applied only to objects and crafts supplies and the like, but strewing, in my opinion, goes way beyond that. It involves all the senses, it involves places, it involves people... basically anything that makes you step out of your comfort zone.
A vegetable in the market you don't know, a long lost friend, a different road back home. Stepping out of the ordinary and comfortable is how you introduce your children to new things, and that's how their world opens.
If you are feeding an appetite for exploration and curiosity, your child will pick up on this.



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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Pies, Parties and Nature

I missed last week's Wordless Wednesday, so you're getting a double deal here, with some of the Halloween pics. Enjoy!














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Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Closer Look at the Phenomenon of Mom Bloggers

I wanted to write today about what's pejoratively labelled by media and the overall online world as mom bloggers, which is basically an umbrella term for women who blog about crafting, home decorating, parenting, learning, psychology, adoption, third world problematics and many more topics, varying from the very shallow to the profound, and who happen to have kids. Some of these blogs are deeply researched reference works, others are opinion pieces, others are just rants, but they are so deeply versatile that they would deserve some more diversification, don't they.
It's not like there's a whole category of blogs being labelled single white men blogs, or dad blogs…


That aside, why is it that blogging is so popular to mothers? Let's just put all the jokes and umbrella terms and labels aside… What attracts mothers to the internet en masse to write about these various topics with a passion very little paid writers bring to their desks? To set themselves the standards of writing daily or weekly, to learn to code and create visually attractive images, to manage various social media channels like moguls and to work their butts off for little or no monetary reward?

Would it be that women feel that they are very little heard in other places? That there is no or little room in the conventional job world for them that takes into account their needs?
These women bloggers are not less skilled then another person working a full time job, and I can personally vouch that they certainly not work less hours than a full time job (heck, many of us work more hours than a full time job, and manage to take care of the household and family).
Society does not offer jobs that are flexible or provide the opportunity to take care of our children while we work, whereas science has proved time and again that women can multitask. We are told that we have to choose to either take care of our children ourselves and shun the workspace, or put oour children in the care of another. There are (little to) no alternatives. No gray space.
These women are telling society, en masse, that they can be creative, active, productive, and still raise their kids themselves. That they want to raise their kids, but also want to do something aside from childcare. That it's not because a women chooses to take care of her own children that she has no other ambitions or passions.

And as I said above, many of us invest our time and our hours and our skill and certainly do not 'make
a living'. Wouldn't it be time for the business world to evolve as to include these women.

It is time to value mothers for the passionate and skilled women they are instead of casting them off because they had a child. It's time to reevaluate the archaic business model our world uses. It's time to change the way we look at learning curves and value.

Instead of scoffing at women who blog (and also have kids), see this trend as a way for women to finally have a voice and a goal (even if the goal is somewhat unclear at times). See it as these women saying: hey, you might not have a place for me, but I'll make a place for myself.

PS This blog is certainly not intended against women who choose a career, who choose not to have children or who choose daycare or alternative childcare.


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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Freaky Rivet Goose

written by Iyas

So far, the activities we’ve given you here at Laura’s blog have mainly been kind of artsy. We had our kids creating constellations, blatting their street chalk masterpieces and drawing portraits about a million times faster than Michaelangelo.
Well, enough art for a while. We’re going to have them improve their verbal creativity in the guise of a gratuitously wet game. As it’s a group game, it’s great for playdates, or parties, or if you’ve managed singlehandely to procreate a tribe. If you’re very house proud, you might want to suggest it to another mom when she has your critter over - water pistols are involved, so you might want her to deal with soggy rugs instead of you!
Here's the score.

The goal of the game is to get ‘it’ to laugh by taking turns to ask him or her questions. This is how you play.
  1. Find an fill a water gun, squeezy bottle, or anything that has a good squirt on it.
  2. Someone has to be 'it' first. Birthday boy or girl, youngest, oldest, whatever - you make up a reason to choose someone.
  3. Choose a word that is just plain silly. Goose. Toes. Fluff. Find anything that can be vaguely giggleworthy.
  4. Have everyone sit around ‘it’ in a circle.
  5. 'It' closes their eyes, spins around on the spot 3 times, and squirts. Whoever 'it' gets goes first.
  6. Starting with this person and then going round the circle clockwise, everyone takes turns to ask ‘it’ a question. 'It' has to reply with the chosen silly word without laughing.
  7. The question should be something designed to make 'it' laugh when s/he replies. F'rinstance - ‘What do you have eleven of?’; ‘Toes’. ‘What do you take out of your nose every morning?’; ‘Toes’. ‘What’s your favourite thing to eat with chips?’; ‘Toes’. You get the gist.
  8. If 'it' laughs, 'it' has to commit water suicide and squirt water at him or herself. The person who made 'it' laugh gets to be the next 'it', and we start all over again.
  9. If ‘it’ doesn't laugh, 'it' gets to squirt the person who asked the question, and then the next person to the left asks ‘it’ another question.
  10. If 'it' doesn't laugh for two whole rounds, then a new word gets chosen and we start again.
That's it. Simple. Warning - have towels to hand!


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Staying Paleo When Inviting + A Paleo Dessert Recipe


Welcome to the November 2013 Carnival of Natural Mothering! 

This article is a part of the Carnival of Natural Mothering hosted by GrowingSlower, Every Breath I Take, I Thought I Knew Mama, African Babies Don't Cry, and Adventures of Captain Destructo. This month's topic is Incorporating Natural Into the Holidays. Be sure to check out all of the participants' posts through the links at the bottom of this page.

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My family has been (mostly) paleo for the past 5 years. Off and on, as when we're living with our
parents, or dining out, it can sometimes be tricky. It doesn't have to be tricky when you're inviting people though. When we were just starting our with the paleo diet, I would make exceptions for when we were hosting dinners, as i'd figure people would like a dessert and I had no clue how to make a paleo dessert (and heck chocolate mousse is so yummy!)

Now, all these years later, I know that when I host a dinner, I am in control. I can make delicious dishes and hey, they can be paleo, even desserts!
Starters and main courses are fairly simple. Appetisers and desserts is where temptation lies. It's so much easier to just pull open a pack of chips or crackers and be done with it.

For appetisers, I've found cubes of cheese (yes, we do eat cultured dairy products now and again), cubes of salami, or vegetables and a dip are infinitely better than those processed, sugar packed snacks.
Desserts, I have my ways around wheat these days. I like using chestnut flour a lot and will always be able to come up with a good agar agar dessert. Coconut milk can replace most cow's milk, and honey is great to replace sugar in most recipes (and we've mostly lost our taste for sugary things anyway).

What's surprising is that most of the paleo recipes we 'score' with our guests with are extremely simple and take much less preparation work than what I used to do. And hey, I can still have that chocolate mousse!

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Paleo chocolate mousse 
dark chocolate
eggs at room temperature - 1 per serving
pinch of salt
a teaspoon of honey if required


Take as many eggs as you use bars of chocolate (about 1 egg per 20g of chocholate). Split the eggs.
Melt the chocolate at low temperature or over a pot of boiling water (au bain marie)
Add the egg yolks to the molten chocolate and whisk together to a creamy paste, add honey if it's too bitter Beat the whites with a pinch of salt in a glass bowl until they're stiff. Make sure the bowl is completely clean and has no fatty residue.
Fold the chocolate cream into the beaten whites with a wooden spoon until the whole is smooth and evenly mixed. Only folding! No stirring or beating.
Put in the fridge and let set for at least 12 hours.
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How do you stick to your diet during the holidays?




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Bloggers, visit GrowingSlower to sign up to be a part of next month's carnival. 


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Saturday, November 2, 2013

November 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.

Food 

Food and eating take up a portion of every one of our days. How do you view food in your version of simple living? Do you make everything from scratch? Do you go for easy to make items? Do you eat out a lot or have a food swap with others? Do you plan menus or have specific meals on certain days? Perhaps you are struggling with food allergies or budget constraints. Are you feeding a large family? Perhaps you have a favorite recipe that simplifies your life. Share with us how you simplify food.

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 November 12. 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 November 19.

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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Friday, November 1, 2013

If I Could Have Just One Room

I'm jumping on a writing prompt I saw at Dreaming Aloud, because it really inspired me and it is something I think about now and again. If I could have just one room that would be mine, what would it be like?
It would be my creative space, because creating is sorta sacred to me, it's my peace and stress release. It's something I need very much to remain sane.
If it were my room alone, it would always be mess free, clean and organised, because that how I like things and that's NOT how we live (my family sees it different from me so I've adapted my standards).


It would certainly have some huge mandala art on it's walls, like this:
lorrainetolmie on Etsy


It would probably look unconventional, colourful, eclectic. I'd want to incorporate some of the treasures we've gathered on our travels.
Visit designsponge.com


It would also be a place where I could relax and meditate.


I like color changing lights (I've installed some in my bathroom already, and they're such a pleasure to have), these would be awesome:
ellipsisfish on Etsy
Knowing myself, most of the items there would have been thrifted and refurbished, because I just can't buy off the rack. There's just no fun to it.
Visit dishfunctionaldesigns.blogspot.com

There would certainly be tea!

And there would be reading... oh, to read a book without taking three years!



Would you come and visit?



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