Monthly Archives: March 2013

Dying Easter Eggs Creatively

March 29, 2013

dying Easter eggs, creative easter eggs, Easter traditions, Easter kids activities, Easter activities, how to dye Easter eggs, pretty Easter eggsDying Easter eggs is one of our favorite Easter traditions. We boil four dozen eggs, one dozen per kid and oneDarth Vader egg, Star Wars Easter eggs, Daddy's egg, creative Easter eggs dozen for me and Nick to share if he’s home to participate. This year, he made one Darth Vader egg and went off to work.

The fun starts when the kids divide up the PAAS coloring tablets and before we each drop a tablet into the vinegar, we have to guess what color we think it will be. Year in and year out, we ooh and ahh with amazement as the tablet that looks orange turns yellow and the one that looks purple turns green.

All the cups full of colors make me happy!

cups of color, egg dyes, colors for dying eggs, Easter egg dyes, PAAS egg dye, pretty color mugs, rainbow mugs, rainbow liquidsThen we get creative, Ali tried scotch tape this year with partial success. We use kosher salt to absorb some of kosher salt on egg, egg dying tips, egg dying ideas, creative ideas for Easter eggs, green Easter eggthe dye and add interesting effects and we wrap eggs in elastic bands before coloring them to create stripy effects. rubber bands on egg, elastic bands on egg, ideas for easter eggs, interesting egg ideas,

The kids use drops of dye and blow the colors across the eggs for a tie-dyed look and use paint brushes for more exacting work. This year, Ali drew shapes all over her solid colored eggs with a black Sharpie for a really interesting and pretty look.

What Do Your Kids Want to Be When They Grow Up?

March 27, 2013

STEM careers, kids strengths, when I grow up, I want to be, career choicesIn this week’s Mom Before Mom post, I wrote about what I wanted to be when I grew up it made me think about what my kids say now that they want to be. For some kids, they set their minds on something and never waiver. For other kids, the ideas change weekly, their interests broad and open.

Michael just today came home and announced, “Mom, do you want to hear what I want to do when I grow up?” I was stunned and thought, “Be a psychic?” He had no idea what I was writing about! This most recent idea, though, was more of an event plan than a career path, he wants to climb Mount Everest and glide off the top. (Ugh, see my Boys and Bruises post!)

What do your kids want to be when they grow up? How do we nurture the things that make them happy? How, as parents, can we encourage them to explore and guide them to discover their strengths?

It begins young with exposure to many different experiences. Going for a walk and taking the time to stop and touch some moss or poke a mushroom with a stick is a beginning. So are things like kicking the ball in the backyard, marching through the house with musical instruments or early forays into watercolor still-lifes and Play-Doh sculptures. These are valuable activities at all ages.

Offering varied opportunities isn’t generally the hard part, there are a million and one possibilities, activities, teams, clubs, events and chances to try things out. It’s harder to know how to limit what our kids join, as in all things parenting, it’s about finding that balance.

In the adolescent years, kids tend to begin to specialize in certain activities, they’ve narrowed down their sports and extracurricular time to more focused interests. Those activities may not be what they would pursue as a life path. Or could they be?

I Wanted To Be A Writer When I Grew Up

March 25, 2013

This week’s prompt: What did you want to be when you grew up? Do you still harbor a desire to be that? When did you realize your dream was or wasn’t possible?

cursive writing, learning to write, spiral bound book, silver pen, writing hand, remembering your dreams, how to interpret dreamsI always wanted to be a writer when I grew up.

I wrote all the time as a kid; poems, stories, letters, diaries and even a chapter book which I boldly shipped off to one of the major publishing houses when I was in 5th grade. I took creative writing classes in high school, filled over 100 journals and submitted poems to contests and for publication (I did get something published in the yearbook!)

I always wanted to be a writer but life got busy and took me a different, more “practical” direction. My writing in college was grounded in academics and drifted away from creative pieces. Then graduation planted me in my beloved New York City at a face-paced job in retail buying and then public relations where my writing consisted of proposals, market research reports and press releases. The ideas were still jumping around in my head, waiting to be released.

Then came my sweetheart, then my baby, then more babies and my writing life recorded their activities and their quips, their firsts and their funnies. I have journals and letters to each of them. We moved a few times, I dove into a career in all things babies and birth and grew my expertise and knowledge along with my business.

Now, in my forties, I’m coming back around and making writing a priority in my life. Almost a year ago, I began this blog and it has helped me get disciplined about writing and I’m loving it! All those lists of book ideas, it turns out they’re actually perfect blog posts!

Music for Newtown Auction

March 22, 2013
[caption id="attachment_1994" align="alignleft" width="300"]3 doors down, 3 doors down and music for newtown, 3 doors down donations, image of 3 doors down Beth with 3 Doors Down who donated an autographed guitar to the Music for Newtown Auction.[/caption]

 

The list of heavy hitting stars donating to the Music for Newtown Auction keeps growing even as the auction date is three days away.

Jack Johnson, Taylor Swift, Elton John, Tim McGraw, 3 Doors Down, The Eagles, Eddie Vedder, John Mayer, One Direction, and Rush to give you a teaser.

I have an “in,” so keep reading for a new item announced here first!

Happy Spring Equinox

March 20, 2013

spring, spring flowers, spring equinox, vernal equinox, happy spring, signs of spring, spring is in the air, daffodils, narcissis, trumpet flowerSpring is my favorite season and even though we welcome this year’s spring equinox with snow-covered ground, there is sunshine and green buds are poking through. Robins are hopping around and I feel excited by the season of new beginnings. Bring some spring indoors and force forsythia with the kids.

Seasons change because of how the Earth orbits the sun and the tilt of its axis, it’s determined by shifting sunlight. Today, the vernal equinox, both night and day are both about the same length of time. In Latin, equinox means “equal night.” Also on the spring equinox, the sun rises exactly in the east and sets exactly in the west.

A few weeks ago, I cut some forsythia branches from our bramble of winter forsythia bushes. I brought them in to force and today I’m enjoying the yellow spring flowers in full bloom. This is a fun activity to do with children of all ages.

Up close, you can see that the branches that look bare and sleepy are actually full of buds. Since forsythia grow and multiple heartily, it’s okay to allow children old enough to manage clippers to cut some with your guidance. Simply cut branches then clip off any short pieces that would be below the water line of a vase. Then give them a fresh cut at an angle and because they are a woody stem, I also use the shears to cut UP the stem separating it vertically to give more area to absorb water. Another option is to give a fresh cut and then crush the end of the branch with a hammer. (Any kid would love to help with that part!) Then wait a few days and you’ll have spring indoors!

forcing forsythia, vase of branches, red dining room, red walls, forced forsythia, yellow flowers, forsythia in bloom, how to make forsythia bloom, when do forsythia bloom, yellow flowers of spring, spring flowering bushes

 

To the left are the plain branches waiting to open. To the right, the blooming branches to enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t like to throw any away so these in the blue vase are the tiny off shouts that I cut from the large branches. These make great smaller arrangements to put in bathrooms, kids rooms or on your office desk to cheer you!

Young Women’s Birth Survey

March 18, 2013

If you’re a woman aged 18-26, click here to take the survey. Thank you!

mothers circle logo, birth survey, what do women fear about birth, college women and birth, birth questions, survey for young women, I have always trusted my body and trusted the process of birth even before I knew babies and mamas would be my profession. I’ve been in the birth world as a professional for over a decade, as a Mom for over fourteen years and it still saddens me to witness how much fear is tied up with birth.

As a doula* and childbirth educator, I work with families starting late in the second trimester, or later, more than midway through their pregnancy. I have found that the short time we work together is simply not long enough to reverse decades of fear a woman may carry. She may not even consciously realize her trepidation and angst, or its depth.

My motivation to conduct the Young Women’s Birth Survey sprouted at a conference with collegiate women in 2010. A group of young women asked what I do and after explaining what a doula is, I was shocked to hear the reactions of these young, healthy women who wanted to be mothers one day. They shared how afraid they were of pregnancy and birth. One young woman believed her body couldn’t hold a baby and another announced that she only wanted a C-section.

7 Ways to Make Your Own Luck

March 15, 2013

4 leaf clover, make luck, lucky 7, lucky clover, I'm unlucky, happy st. paddy's day, st. patty's day luck, be generous, attitude, what's luck got to do with it, law of attractionI wish people, “Good Luck!” as a vote of confidence, a hope for success, but I only have a limited belief in luck. Instead, I believe we make our own luck. Two people could be handed the same situation, the same resources (or lack thereof) and can create completely different outcomes. Some might dismiss it as “lucky” or use it as and excuse, “I’m just unlucky,” or “She’s luckier than me.” I don’t believe that’s luck, it’s attitude, how you choose to look at the world and interact within it.

These are lessons Nick and I work to instill in our kids at every opportunity. We believe in these principles in our own lives, as parents and contributors to society. Let’s call it “The Luck O’ the Italians,” it’s a recipe to make your own luck! Here are LUCKY NUMBER 7 Ways to Make your Own Luck!

Childhood Pets

March 14, 2013

This Week’s Prompt: Did you have a favorite childhood pet? A crazy one? What were their names? Tell us a story about your animal companions or lack their of.

[caption id="attachment_1921" align="alignleft" width="250"]cats, black and white cat, tootsie, pet named tootsie, deaf cat, mites in cats ears Beth took this picture of Tootsie. I think he’s sleeping in a dress-up cheerleader pom pom.[/caption]

I’m allergic to cats, really allergic, but we had a cat for most of my growing up years. When I went away to college, I realized how much better I could breathe without cats. Coming home for holidays I had to be out of the house for chunks of time, the cats got to stay, I went out for air. Yet thinking back, I truly have fond memories of our childhood pets. Somehow, dumb as it sounds, I don’t really think we credited our kitties with how bad my asthma was, or we simply loved them too much.

Before the cats, there was Nicky, a husky, a sweet dog who would come to my grandparents with us sometimes, he was well-behaved and knew he wasn’t allow to leave the kitchen.

One day Nicky snapped at our neighbor, a boy my age. It was hot and he was throwing rocks at the dog, but after that incident, we had to give Nicky to another family with no children. My sister, brother and I spent many weekends at my grandparent’s house, and one day a dog that looked so much like Nicky showed up in the back yard. The details are all fuzzy, but my grandmother invited the dog in for a treat and he wouldn’t leave the kitchen! We were amazed, apparently the new family lived nearby and we were able to see Nicky a couple of times after he moved away from home.

Then the cats. We never had more than one at a time, yet since we had several through the years, apparently we didn’t have very long-lived cats. There was an orange cat named Ginger, I can’t remember his story at all, just a picture in my head and his name. Then we had a sweet black and white cat who we named after a favorite childhood story book character: White Faced Simmony. It comes from Master of All Masters, a book memory that makes me smile.

Parent Child One on One Time

March 12, 2013

yellow plane, rhinebeck, ww1 planes, father son camping, boys weekend, One on one time with each of your children is worth scheduling. It’s can be such a valued tradition for each parent to carve out a special time alone with each child throughout your week. What you do doesn’t matter, what matters is that your child has 100% of your attention with no distractions.

It doesn’t need to cost money, take all day and it doesn’t even require leaving the house, but adding in special occasion one on one time can build cherished memories.

I still feel cherished and special when I think about some one on one time I had with my parents growing up. There was the time my Dad took me, just me, to go horseback riding. It wasn’t a habit and didn’t become a thing, we only went once, but it was a new experience and I did it with my Dad. I was the center of his attention the entire time we were together. Another time, we went hiking in the woods. On the day I was alone with my Dad, my Mom would take my sister somewhere just for her. On one of our days, my Mom let me choose what to do, I picked going to a Hallmark store! Truthfully, I still love gift shops and sending cards.

Finding time alone with each of your children isn’t always easy, but get creative and I’m sure you can see opportunities in your day to give even 15-20 minutes of concentrated attention to each child. Can you do a puzzle or craft with your 4 year old while your toddler naps? Can you go for a treasure-hunt walk through the yard or neighborhood when grandma comes over to stay with the other child(ren)? How about making the usual bedtime or bath time routine dedicated time to a child?

Bunny in the Basket

March 9, 2013

bunny in basket, stuffed animal bunny, bunny book, Easter books, Easter giftsI recently learned that my dear friend, Kelly Connaghan Dengler, wrote a children’s book, Bunny in the Basket, that comes with a plush bunny in the basket that your child can name. The simple story explains to children (and parents) how the bunny works, it’s similar to the Christmas elf idea for Easter time.

Through the bunny, Kelly tries to give parents that extra set of eyes and gives kids a little motivation to exhibit good behavior since the bunny is watching and reporting back to Peter Cottontail.

When our package arrived, I wasn’t sure how it was presented so even though Anna was dying to open the newly delivered box, I waited until she went to school to check it out. I didn’t need to worry, it was child-friendly and packaged with the book and bunny together peeking out through the box. I read the book and left it, with the pale blue bunny in the basket, for my daughter at her place at the dinner table.

Childhood Sick Days – Soap Operas + Chicken Soup

March 8, 2013

I love to document life, in videos, writing, art and photos so I am jumping on this thoughtful and inspiring project, Mom Before Mom, started by Carla at All of Me Now.
See the Mom Before Mom category for more of my posts in this series:

How did you get your name?
How did you celebrate childhood birthdays?
What was your childhood bedroom like?
What was your favorite home cooked meal?

The Family Car

This week’s prompt: Who took care of you when you were sick? How did you spend sick days? From soup to ointments to old wives tales, how did your family teach you to heal?

childhood sick days, soap operas, chicken broth, before I was a mom, childhood asthma, kids throwing up, freezing chicken broth, homemade broth, Soap operas and chicken soup. That’s what comes to mind first when I think of my childhood sick days.

In the days before DVR, DVDs, On Demand and a zillion channels to choose from, we had the basic channel numbers up to 13 (PBS), and some were only static. So being home sick meant getting to stay in my parents bed or on the couch and watch daytime television between naps.

Sip some flat ginger ale, watch As the World Turns, choke down dry toast, flip to Price is Right, a slug of fuschia Pepto, now it’s time for Hollywood Squares.

I have memories of both of my parents, and both of my grandparents caring for me at different times, in different ways when I was sick. Daytime, home-from-school sick was solely my Mom’s gig. She took care of me and my Dad would come see how I was feeling when he got home form work.

There was a holiday we hosted one year when I was sick enough to stay in bed. I remember a haze of visitors to check on me, to slather me anew with Vick’s Vap-O-Rub, to take my temperature with a glass thermometer that stabbed under my tongue and always crept out toward my teeth.

6 Sleep Tips for Tweens and Teens

March 7, 2013

tips for teen sleep, teen girl sleeping late, teens can't wake up, teen tired all day, teen not getting enough sleep,In the whiplash of parenthood, we have early rising toddlers who evolve into teens who won’t get up.

Teens and tweens are often not getting the recommended 9.25 hours of sleep they need. Inadequate sleep effects cognitive functioning, academic achievement, family sanity, physical and emotional health and can result in more accidents in teens who drive.

Making sleep a priority for teens is essential to their current health and well-being as well as their ongoing physical and emotional health. Studies show links to poor sleep or difficulty sleeping in younger years to increased anxiety and depression years later.

Learning, practicing and experiencing healthy sleep is a life skill and educating our tweens and teens is a gift.

7 Sleep Tips for Babies and Toddlers

March 6, 2013

This week is the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep Awareness Week to provide education and to promote the importance of sleep. I will dedicate my posts this week to sleep in babies through teens. I have attended sleep workshops, panel discussions, I’ve read stacks of books on the topic and I regularly consult with families to identify strategies to improve sleep for the whole family.

baby rubbing eyes, sleep tips for babies, sleep tips for toddlers, Sleep is like the coveted Holy Grail of new parenthood. I’m often asked about sleep tips for and babies and toddlers and how to improve or lengthen sleep times.

Whatever your family chooses for sleeping arrangements is a personal choice, but it tends to be a hot-button issue. I work in many families’ homes and what works for one family, doesn’t work for another, what one family values another family shuns. Sleep is no exception.

If whatever you’re doing is not a problem for you, it’s not a problem. However, if something is disturbing parents or children getting solid, beneficial sleep, if sleep deprivation is creeping in through small, but regular incremental sleep deficits, perhaps it’s become a problem.

Sleep has so many benefits, both obvious and subtle, it’s worth creating and protecting healthy sleep habits for the whole family. Understanding a little bit about sleep can be useful in making sleep decisions for your family. Babies go into deep sleep state in the beginning of nighttime sleep (perhaps 7 – 10:00 pm) and then again before waking in the morning with more frequent periods of lighter sleep (and more chance for awakenings) in between (around 10 pm – 4 am).

By three-four months most healthy full-term babies are able to sleep through the night, perhaps with a single 2:00 am feeding, by six months all healthy babies can do it. Studies have shown that at four months, a baby’s nervous system is mature enough to allow him to be able to sleep at 12 hour stretch. Unlike other milestones, sleep is not fixed, there may be shifts with time change, illness, travel and as babies go through new stages and become toddlers.

The Importance of Sleep

March 4, 2013

boy sleeping with teddy, sleeping wtih stuffed animals, boy sleeping, trouble sleeping, kids sleep problems,This week is the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep Awareness Week to provide education and to promote the importance of sleep. I will dedicate my posts this week to sleep in babies through teens. I have attended sleep workshops, panel discussions, I’ve read stacks of books on the topic and I regularly consult with families to identify strategies to improve sleep for the whole family. We’re kicking off Sleep Awareness Week with the benefits and importance of sleep.

Sleep can be one of those things, “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.” Kids resist naps and bedtimes, but busy, fatigued adults crave a chance to lie down.

Still Not Rhode Islanders …

March 1, 2013

Welcome to Rhode Island, the Ocean State, Welcome sign, living in Rhode Island, most liberal state, blue state, Seven years ago today, we closed on our home in Little Rhody and began our lives as Rhode Islanders, or so we thought.

We’d moved from Sparta, NJ, a town where we knew people everywhere we went, which I loved! Popping into the library with hellos, grocery shopping and chatting while selecting tomatoes, pushing a swing at the playground and calling out to a friend entering the gate. I loved the feel of the TV-perfect-small-town-charm. Little did I know that Rhode Island would be like moving to a large town where everyone is joined to everyone by a mere tethering thread.

Almost instantly, we discovered connections to both my hometown and my husband’s, weekly, new small world stories unveiled themselves. That know-everyone feeling we’d left behind was rebuilt amazingly fast in our new town and we quickly learned the state-wide personality and the typically Rhode Island quirks.

Officially, we still have decades to go before we’d be considered Rhode Islanders, and frankly, I kind of take pride in not being “official.” Though it shocked me one day to realize that my children are growing up here and will be true Rhode Islanders!

The language took some adjusting to, I couldn’t understand what a bubbler was, (pronounced, bubbla and means water fountain everywhere else). I nearly fell over when I was quizzing our second grader years ago: “Spell, ‘idea.’” He proudly replied, “I – D – E – R.” His teacher’s thick RI accent was affecting his learning and I quickly composed a song, the first in a repertoire, to counteract the dialect: “There is no ‘R’ in idea! There is no ‘R’ in idea!” Over our years here, there have been many times when one child will call out about another child, “Mooooom, we need to move! Anna said ‘Ka,’” Of course the offending child always vehemently denies any such swap of ending sounds, even if it may have slipped out.

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