Monday, September 14, 2015

Cooking Without an Oven

I just published a new Hub on HubPages called How to Cook Without an Oven for people like me who have small kitchens and no oven or stove.  I learned that I can cook all kinds of easy meals in my electric skillet and crock pot. I make chili, pizza, cornbread, stir-fry, ramen noodles and more. I have added a hot plate burner, toaster oven, waffle iron and microwave but still use these two tools most often for meals.

I found that baking in the toaster oven doesn't work too well.  I tried making some cupcakes in a muffin tin that just didn't cook all the way through. I prefer to do my baking in the electric skillet because it cooks more evenly. Biscuits and cornbread cooks well in it without leaving raw spots. I can even bake a cake in it if I line the bottom with foil first, this makes getting it out of the pan a lot easier.

I will be posting more easy cooking without an oven recipes in the future. I think that most parents would like something that's easy to make and doesn't take a long time to cook. For casseroles and meat, if you put them in the slow cooker and set it on low it will cook while you are at work and be done by the time you come home. It makes a better alternative to take-out meals, it's inexpensive and can be prepped the night before. Then in the morning just set it and forget it.

YouTube has a lot of instructional videos listed under Crock Pot Recipes if you don't cook much in yours but would like to. Stay tuned for more recipes and parenting/lifestyle posts.

Leave me a comment  below, I'd love to hear from you. You can share recipes or suggestions.

Implementing Positive Discipline Methods

What is Positive Discipline?

Positive Discipline is a set of guidelines and techniques to use as an alternative to spanking and punitive punishments.When your little one starts misbehaving or acting out, you can use one of these tools instead of spanking them. If you're used to giving multiple warnings, counting 1-2-3 or nagging them until they comply, this may be a little tough to follow at first.

Positive Discipline is one of the 8 Tenents of Attachment Parenting. Disciplining or teaching your child what you expect from them through house rules, responsibility by letting them help you with chores and tasks, fostering independence, respectfulness through modeling proper behavior and social skills through play and family bonding. Instead of constantly telling them, "don't do this-don't do that", you're teaching them what you want them to do by example.

When I first read about attachment parenting on Dr. William Sear's website "Ask Dr. Sears," I though, "wow, this really makes a lot of sense." Dr. Sears promotes extended breastfeeding, safe co-sleeping and wearing your baby in a sling. All of this appealed to me as I was getting ready to deliver my son. I liked the idea of continuing breastfeeding  and had planned to until the age of 2 yrs, which is what the World Health Organization now recommends. Unfortunately, I couldn't continue because my son decided to self-wean at a year old.

To be good at positive discipline, you need to understand a little about child behavior and development. Why your child is behaving in an undesirable manner. As parents, we forget that our kids have only been on this earth for 2-3-or 4 yrs and aren't miniature adults. They are not born knowing how to behave in social situations and when they bite another child, or throw a tantrum in the grocery store, you may be tempted to never take them out in public again.

The biggest factor here in child behavior is imitation. Children imitate what they see and hear. Don't believe it? Listen to them sometimes and you'll be shocked to hear your words coming out of their mouths. If you think your kids don't listen you're wrong. They listen but choose to ignore. If your child has started yelling and being loud, being disrespectful, not sharing toys or fighting with playmates and this was previously not an issue- take a look at your own behavior over the past few weeks or months. Have you started yelling at them because they don't listen? Get angry driving in traffic and make references to the other drivers with your kids in the car?  Is it really misbehavior, or are they modeling your own behavior back to you? This is a good question.

From your previous discipline attempts, is it easier to get your kids compliance by asking them to help you instead of insisting they do this or that? The old saying, "You get more flies with honey than with vinegar" is still true. If you ask someone politely to do something, it is usually more effective than yelling. I have found it's easier to get my son to pick up his toys if I start and ask him for his help picking up the toys. He'll say, "Sure" and starts picking up his toys. If I had sais, "Aiden I need you to pick up your toys and put them away" and then left the room or shouted it from the kitchen, I would most likely be ignored.

I have made the decision not to spank my son anymore. Even though I only did it for a short time, I can see that it did not help him to behave better.  It just made him more defiant and disrespectful towards me. I now have to undo the damage I have done  and try to repair our parent-child bond. It means I will have to get a little creative sometimes when he doesn't want to do something I ask him. We have already started by using house rules, giving him responsibility with chores, giving choices when possible and stating expectations and limits ahead of time. This article I read on suggests that spanking may affect kid's brains and their ability to develop self-control later on.

I got this book from amazon that I have started reading called Positive Discipline A-Z 1001 Solutions to Everyday Parenting Problems by Jane Nelson. I had seen her in an interview on a talk show and, at first, though it was all a bunch of baloney. I couldn't see how you could raise kids without punishing them in some way.  She talked about not saying "no" and that time-outs were negative consequences and she disagreed with punishments. After I starting reading the book and discovered that a lot of what she says makes sense. When your child misbehaves, instead of getting mad and doling out consequences, try and find out what is the driving force behind the behavior. If you eliminate the cause, often the behavior will go away on its own. Children seldom do things for no reason at all, although it may seem like it sometimes. If they bite or hit another child during play dates, what was going on just before the incident? Were they fighting over a toy or object? Maybe they just weren't getting along. Sometimes kids just don't want to share favorite toys and that's OK. Tell them you'll put up their favorite things when company comes over. they can pick and choose which toys to share and which ones to keep out.

Establish a Routine and House Rules

Our routine is pretty simple. Aiden attends preschool during the week from 8 am to 11 am. We live with two of his older nephews (Aiden has 3 adult siblings with children) who are 5 and 9 who also go to school with him. So mornings go pretty easy. The troubles come after school. We implemented the house rules to keep from nagging the kids about jumping on the furniture, fighting over toys and taking others property without asking. We have consequences for breaking the rules, but try to find solutions first and use consequences as a last resort. Although I like the idea of not having to use punishments, I reserve them for those times when he decides to test the boundaries. If he is going to be defiant and say, "No, I won't" and explaining the reason doesn't work, then I have to back it up with something.

Set Clear Expectations
It is a theory that if you expect your children to obey in certain circumstances that they will. It is not always true, but if you set boundaries and tell them what is expected early on, you may have better success. One thing I have found works pretty well is to explain what you want them to do just before an outing. If we are going to the store, I'll tell Aiden that I expect him to stay in the cart, use his indoor voice, and help me find items that we need. If he is successful and we get through our shopping without problems, he can pick out a snack for everyone when we are done. Engaging them in the process helps a lot too. Ask them to help you find the apples, or other item. This is another form of re-direction, it moves their train of thought to something else. Aiden loves to help, so this is a good tactic for him. If he doesn't meet expectations such as throwing a tantrum, screaming or won't stay in the cart then I can choose to leave the store and tell him that we can try again tomorrow.

Give Choices 

Giving choices is helpful with child behavior problems because it empowers kids when everything else around them is out of their control. I have seen this work with my son who constantly begs me for treats or more juice, soda or ? I gave him a snack, as is our morning routine around 10 am. He wanted more graham crackers and decided to throw a tantrum when I said no. He would throw himself on the floor and start kicking his legs on the floor or on the furniture. As I sat there trying to think of a consequence, I decided to let him choose. I told him he could have a boiled egg or a pickle slice but no more graham crackers because we needed them for snack time after school. He didn't like that idea and said no. I told him, "Okay, you can have another handful of graham crackers now, but that means later when the other kids are having their snack, he won't get a snack. His response was, " I want the pickle." I explained why and gave him a limited choice and it worked. Otherwise, it would have turned into a power struggle and ended with him in his room for time-out and lectures about his behavior.

This is all still new to me and I am learning as I go. I will try to use more techniques from the book and see how they work. I am happy with my decision not to spank anymore, I do still use consequences but will try to use them less or only when necessary.

I will do a follow up with the book when I have finished it and write a review and post it. If you'd like to read the book, check it out, it's available on Amazon for around $12 I think.

I would like to know what other parents think and how you discipline your kids. What works for you and what doesn't. Please leave a comment and tell me how you have had success in your parenting journey.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Disciplining Your Preschooler: What Method is Best?

What Method of Child Discipline Should You Use with a Preschooler?

What method of child discipline do you use in your home? As parents, we want to teach our children to be respectful, charitable and responsible members of society. How do you teach your children the proper way to behave and interact with others? I have been thinking about this issue a lot lately as Aiden has gotten older and his behavior has changed from the sweet little boy he was when he was two. It has made me re-evaluate my own ideas on parenting and how I am going to raise him to be a responsible, respectful adult.

To Spank, or not....

Child discipline is a topic that a lot of people are very opinionated about. Some spank, some some don't and others are unsure what to do. Many of us came from parents who spanked us, and we turned out okay, right? Yes, but in this day and age, it may not be the best way to discipline children. We have seen a lot of evidence that child abuse is a very real issue and teaching children that violence is not the answer when we smack their behinds it's a contradiction, don't you think?  How can you say to your child, "I'm going to spank you to teach you not to hit your little sister." What are they going to learn from that? How much of a child's behavior is naughtiness, and how much is simply his developmental stages?

The Old Ways

We spanked our other children we they were little, but I always hated it and felt like a failure as a parent. When Aiden came along, I decided I would do things differently with him. I breastfed him for almost a year ( something I wasn't able to do with his siblings) , wore him in a sling and we co-sleep even now.

He has been with me since he was a tiny baby. I would say my parental bond with him is pretty strong, but I think that mistakes I've made through thoughtlessness have weakened that bond a little. I have to admit that at times I have yelled at him and spanked him when frustrated with his unruly behavior. Which is common for parents, we hit that wall where you just can't take it anymore and they have pushed the limits as far as they can go.

I recently read a post by a father about why he stopped spanking his son, and I can identify with him completely. If you'd like to read the post, it is on the Intoxicated on Life blog and is very educational for those who might be interested. What hit home with me was, the fact that when we "lose it" with our kids, we become someone that even we don't like. An angry, yelling, red-faced person who tells them they're bad for doing this and swats them for every small infraction because that's what we think we're supposed to do to have well-behaved children.

Trade places with that child for a moment and imagine someone you love ( your parent or a spouse even) behaving that way towards you. How would you react? Would you love and respect that person and understand that they're trying to teach you to behave better, or would you just obey out of fear of what might happen next? I don't want to be feared as a parent. I want my child to obey because he knows it is the right thing to do because I took the time to teach him proper behavior.

Choosing Not to Spank

Choosing not to spank your child is not the same thing as being permissive. Not spanking does not mean no discipline at all. The word discipline means "to teach" so in promoting discipline in a positive way, you're teaching your child better behavior by modeling good behavior yourself. When you make the choice not to spank you will have all kinds of people telling you you're going to spoil them and have a little brat. But there is evidence to support the fact that when you treat children with respect and spend time with them creating that family bond, that as a result you will get respect back and better behavior because your child is happy.

Positive Discipline Methods

I used positive discipline techniques with my son when he was little and it worked like a charm. Until he was about 3 yrs. old and his behavior became more challenging. I was told by other people to just spank his butt and be done with it. I did spank him a few times but it didn't change his behavior, in fact, it made the problem worse. When he turned 4 he started yelling all the time, repeating me and others, and had a hard time listening or paying attention when I talked to him. He even fought me on time-outs, I would have to chase him and hold him in the chair for him to stay put. Now he bites other kids, hits and says mean things like " I hate you, you're stupid."

It was somewhat easy for me to look at positive discipline techniques like time-outs, natural &logical consequences and rewards charts as good alternatives to spanking kids. But was this the best method? This is already a long post, so I will continue this in the next post.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Electric Skillet Pizza

Looking for easy electric skillet meals? Want to impress your spouse with pizza made from scratch? Try this easy, electric skillet pizza that won't heat up your kitchen and tastes just as good as takeout pizza.

I have a small kitchen that gets hot in the summer, so this dish is easy to prepare and cooks in 12-15 minutes. For a quick, easy meal add a side salad and some fruit for dessert. The recipe makes 2- 12 inch square pizzas  (9 small squares each pie), so you should have enough leftover for lunch the next day or freeze for later.

I have been reading some new blogs lately and have really been inspired to create some fun, budget-friendly meals. I am raising my son on a budget and am always on the lookout for ways to save and earn extra money. Making some of our meals from scratch is one way to save money by not spending more for box mixes or takeout.

I can't take credit for the pizza dough recipe because it is not mine. I used a recipe from Food Network credited to Chef Bobby Flay. It is a good recipe but I improved it just a little. I used self-rising flour in place of all-purpose and used milk instead of water. It makes the crust soft and chewy like bread and rises really well. If you have little ones that leave the crusts because they're too hard, you won't have that problem with this dough. It rises really high and it's super filling, so two pieces with a little salad is a perfect serving size for adults and one for kids. Here is my easy electric skillet pizza recipe.

Pizza Dough Recipe (courtesy of Food Network)

3 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups warm, fresh or powdered milk 110 degrees
1 packet yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbs oil

Heat milk to 110 degrees. You can test with a finger and it will be just barely hot. I use whole fat powdered milk and just run the tap until the water is hot enough and add the milk. Add sugar and yeast, stir together and let sit for 1 minute. The yeast will puff up and sit on top of the milk.

In a separate bowl, mix flour and salt and oil. Add milk and stir to incorporate flour. When you can stir the dough into a ball, add enough flour to make it workable. When mixed, work the dough into a ball and rub with oil. Put in a warm place to rise for 1 hour. Separate into two balls and set aside.

Pizza Toppings

1 jar prepared pizza sauce
Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp sugar
1 package pepperoni
2 cups of mozzarella cheese
vegetables of your choice ( black olives, green onions, sliced peppers, etc.)

Roll the dough out onto waxed paper and form into a square shape. Add some oil to the skillet (cold) and work around the bottom and up the sides. Lay your dough into the bottom of the skillet and stretch to the edges. Add 3 tbs of pizza sauce, a sprinkle of Italian seasoning and a dash of sugar to the middle of your dough. stir slightly and spread over the dough. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the dough and place pepperoni on top. Turn on the skillet and set heat to 300 to 325 degrees. Top with a piece of tin foil and set the timer for 15 minutes. While the skillet pizza cooks you can make your salad or whatever side dish you like.

This is really an easy-to-make meal and my little boy loves the fact that he can have pizza anytime he wants. I like not having to go for takeout and the costs that come with it. This is an inexpensive recipe that you can make anytime. To save time you can make the dough the night before and wrap it in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until you're ready to make the skillet pizza. For those moms who work, if you prep it the night before it only takes 30 minutes to put together and cook when you come home from work. It's a nice way to serve your family healthy meals from scratch even though you work.

I'd like to hear how you liked this recipe. Try it out and let me know what you think, or if you have any substitutions you added that made it better for you. There's always something we can learn from each other.

I make electric skillet meals all the time and am always looking for new recipes to add to my collection. If you have any you'd like to share, please leave them in the comments section.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

On Potty Training and Pull Ups

Have you decided it’s time to start potty training your child?  This is a stage in your child’s life and should be undertaken with care and understanding.  Most children between the ages of 2 and 4 start using the toilet either on their own or with some encouragement from mom and dad.  You should be aware, however, that although they will use the toilet sometimes it is perfectly normal for them to still have accidents up until they are four or five years old. Here are some potty training tips and things to remember when starting on this new adventure.

All children are different and do things at their own pace. Some children just aren’t ready to potty train at the same age as other children. We all know someone who swears that their child was potty trained by 1 ½ to 2 years of age. This may be ideal for some parents, but not all children are ready at this age.  Most children are incapable of holding their bladder until they are at least 3 years of age. They will go in the potty if you take them in time, but they could not hold it on their own if there was no restroom near by.

My Own Potty Training Story

My little boy turns 3 years old in January and has already started potty training. We started him earlier, and he did really well, but a few setbacks caused him to stop using the toilet entirely. I was OK with him continuing to use his diapers because I have raised 3 other children, and I know that this is normal for his age and development.

I used cloth diapers with him because I loved the cute styles of pocket diapers and didn’t like spending so much money on disposable diapers. I had planned to keep using them until he was potty trained but as he grew older and bigger, his bladder capacity was larger too. He would wet right through the pocket diapers getting the couch, his clothes and anything else nearby all wet.  I decided it was going to have to be pull ups or nothing because the cloth diapers just weren’t cutting it anymore.

Potty Training Basics:
  • Let them go naked
  • Put them on the potty chair or  the toilet every 30 minutes to an hour
  • Save diapers for overnight use
  • Give them plenty of liquids to encourage them to go
  • Get a potty chair or potty seat
  • Lots of praise and encouragement (it really works)

The first thing we did when we started getting him to start using the toilet was letting him run around naked. This is one technique that is advocated in the book “Potty Train in Three Days” as well as other similar titles. It works because you can watch them more closely for signs that they may need to go, and they are more conscious of the fact that they are not wearing a diaper so sometimes it is easier getting them to the toilet.

Although you may be worried that your child will have an accident (and they will the first few times) this method works to start them using the toilet. Put diapers or pull ups on for overnights because it will be a while before they are able to stay dry all night on their own.

Take them to the potty often during the day and right before bed. Little ones like to use the potty excuse as a way to stay up a little later, but it is good to let them go if you think there is the slightest chance that they will go.

Measure your success by how often your child uses the potty and how long your diapers or pull ups last. We started at a rate of one box of 72 count pull ups lasting one week (we have two children potty training) to them now lasting two weeks and the boys’ beds are staying drier.  I have not had to change his bedding in the middle of the night for some time now. Never compare your child’s progress to another’s because they may be in different developmental stages, and not all kids are ready at the same time.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Buying Cloth Diapers on a Budget

Looking for cheap cloth diaper options?

If you are looking for a cheap way to start cloth diapering you've come to the right place. I was broke and had no money to spend on cloth diapers but found the cheapest method of purchasing diapers that will work for anyone. It is definitely worth switching to cloth, you save so much money not buying disposables. And your trash won't stink from diapers so the person picking up your cans every week will be grateful for that. I use these diapers for two toddlers and have saved a lot of money over buying diapers and pull ups.  Here is a detailed account of how I accomplished it....

When I started cloth diapering I was broke and literally had no money for diapers. I loved the cute bumGenius and Thirsty's pocket diapers, but couldn't afford $20 a piece for them. My first diapers cost me all of $22. I had 4 prefold cloth diapers and 2 covers that I used along with my disposables until I could add to the collection a few diapers at a time.There are lots of good cheap cloth diaper options for moms who are on a tight budget like me.If you want to switch to cloth diapers, but think you can't afford it, think again. I'll show you how to build a diaper stash for any budget.

Building up a Diaper Stash

.....the economical way to buy cloth diapers

The first thing to consider when buying cloth diapers is what kind of diapers you want to use on your baby. The cheapest options for parents on a tight budget like I was are pocket diapers and prefold cloth diapers with covers. For an infant you will need 3-4 dozen diapers and can expect to wash about every other day. For toddlers you will need about 2 to 3 dozen size 2 diapers and will wash every other day as well. This will be your stash of diapers and can be made up of all pocket diapers, pockets plus prefolds or just prefolds and covers. It's up to you, you can use any combination you wish. We'll look at each option and their pros and cons.  

There is no right or wrong way to buy cloth diapers. You can buy a dozen or so at a time or just a few, whatever your budget allows. A little here and there works just as well. Buy what you can afford at the time and add to it each payday. Eventually, you will have a nice little stash built up and can stop buying diapers. They can be saved and used for a 2nd or 3rd child.

Pocket Cloth Diapers

Pocket diapers are made with a waterproof outer layer and a soft absorbent fleece layer on the inside to keep your baby's skin dryer. There is an opening in the back to stuff a microfiber insert or small prefold. When stuffed, the diaper is very easy to use. Just lay baby on the diaper and fold and secure the diaper using the aplix tabs or snaps, whichever your diaper has. When soiled just remove the insert and place both pieces in your diaper pail or straight into the washing machine. The cost for pocket diapers are between $10 and $18 for most budget brands. Kawaii diapers run between $10 and $12 and come in size 2's for older babies and toddlers. 

"Cheapest Diapering Option"

When you have little to no money for diapers...

Prefold diapers used with a snappi and a waterproof cover are one of the best options for saving money when cloth diapering your baby. The diapers are made from unbleached cotton and are super thick. Each prefold is sized to fit your baby, be sure to check the size you want. They come in preemie, infant, regular and toddler sizes ranging from $1 to $2 each. Just buy the amount you can afford each payday until you have two to three dozen diapers. Pair with a waterproof cloth diaper cover for a leak-free diaper that is frugal and eco-friendly. They are very easy to launder as well. Just wash and hang or tumble dry. Do not put covers in the dryer though, shake them out and hang them up to dry.

Econobum Cloth Diaper Starter Kit

Econobum is made by bumGenius and is a lower cost option for cloth diapering. The Econobum cloth diapers are thick, diaper service quality cloth prefolds. They fit perfect inside the waterproof covers for an economic diapering option. When I started my collection I couldn't afford the starter box so I bought the trial kit which is two diapers and a cover. I bought two of them which gave me 4 diapers and 2 covers. This was the start of my diaper stash.

I use these diapers every day and can tell you that they are good quality and recommend them as an affordable brand of cloth diapers.This starter kit has everything you need to start using cloth diapers. It includes 12 cotton prefolds, 3 waterproof covers and a wet bag. Econobum is a product of Bum Genious in the economy line of products. The quality of the diapers is the same as diaper service brands, and they hold up very well.
A very economical way to get your stash quickly would be to purchase two of these kits which would give you 2 dozen prefolds, 6 covers and 2 wet bags for under $100 with free shipping and a featured freebie.

Build a Diaper Stash for Under $100.00

(this will work for any budget)

So If you want to build up a cloth diaper stash but have little money, here's what you do:

Here is how I built my stash for around $100. I wanted to start cloth diapering but could not afford the prices of a new diaper stash. I decided to find the cheapest diapering options I could and use a combination of them to fill my stash.

1. I bought two Econobum trial sets for $22. That is 2 diapers and 2 covers, I tried them out and decided that I could do this everyday. So I started watching diaper shops for clearance sales and bought a few covers and a half dozen cotton prefolds. The covers were seconds, but I didn't notice any flaws in them. I paid $4 each for the covers at clearance, normally they are $8.99 for Econobum cloth diaper covers.The prefolds were $2 each because I needed a size two for toddlers. 

2. The next payday I bought 12 cotton prefolds at $2 each and two more covers at regular price. I spent around $30-$40. I now had a few more diapers to use and was getting the hang of diapering and washing the diapers. I had to wash everyday with just a few diapers, but I knew it wouldn't be for long.

3. I started watching eBay for diaper sales and discovered someone selling cheap pocket diapers from China. The shipping was free so I figured I didn't have much to lose if I didn'tlike them. I bought 5 Babyland pocket diapers at $.99 cents to $4 each. I waited until the last 5 minutes of each auction to make sure I was the last bidder. I got the diapers two weeks later and was a little disappointed because they were small. There was no sizing option despite being called one-size diapers. They fit very snug on my toddler but it gave me a chance to try them out.

4. I discovered Kawaii diapers after reading some good reviews from an AP parenting forum. I found good prices on Kawaii heavy wetter one-size diapers at Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique. I paid $10 each for 3 large, size two pocket diapers. Each one comes with 2 large microfiber inserts and I got free shipping. These fit much better and were more absorbent than the Babyland diapers. I also received my order very quickly, in fact,it shipped the same day I ordered it.

5. The following payday I bought another 12 prefolds and two more covers to add to my growing collection of diapers.  I now had 2 dozen prefolds, 8 pocket diapers and 6 covers. I was able to start washing every other day and have been cloth diapering now for 4 months and continue to add to my stash a little every payday. 

To follow these steps, just decide how much you can afford each week or each month depending on your budget. Watch for sales and just buy what you can afford. Many of the diaper shops offer reward points that can be redeemed for gift certificates when your account reaches $10 or more. This means free diapers or other baby stuff if you save up your points.

Now you see how this method will work for any budget. If you have sewing skills you can also make your own prefolds from old t-shirts and pocket diapers from fleece sweatshirts. There are many sites on the web that offer how-to instructions for making your own. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Keeping Little Ones Cool in the Summer

Summers are a great time for swimming and outdoor fun, but remember to keep little ones hydrated and use plenty of sunblock when they will be out for any length of time. There are a lot of good sun protection products for babies to help keep their delicate skin from getting burnt. With all the products on the market these days  it is hard to know what type of sunscreen is best for children, but this article posted on Baby Center may help you when it comes to choosing sunblock for your child.

When you live in the desert like we do staying hydrated is very important. The past few days it has been in the low 100s here in Las Vegas and staying cool has taken top priority. We run fans, the air conditioner and keep our windows covered during the hottest part of the day. The kids want to go out and play, but we restrict them to going out in the afternoon when it is a little cooler. We try and keep them in between the hours of 10am and 2pm if at all possible. When we have to run errands with them we always try to keep plenty of water and juice on hand and keep them in the shade during the hot time of the day.

Here are a few tips to beat the heat and stay cool in summer:

1. Keep a jug of water in the refrigerator for a cold drink. Kids and adults need water to stay hydrated when the temperatures rise. Restrict sweetened beverages like ice tea, juice and soda to meals because drinking sugary drinks does not help in the heat.

2. Drag out the kid’s wading pool or turn on the sprinkler. A quick way to cool down is to fill up the pool or bathtub with cool water and let the little ones splash around. We just recently bought the kids a new pool and it is big enough that the adults can sit in it after the kids have gone to bed on those nights that it stays hot later. A sprinkler is also good for cooling down and keeping the lawn watered at the same time.

3. Place fans in different rooms facing the windows. If you want to stay cool but don’t want to run the A/C too much put a box fan in one of the windows in the front of the house and one in a window in the back to create a cross breeze and draw cooler air into the house when the sun goes down.

4. Dunk your head under the sink. A quick way to cool off when it’s hot is to get your hair wet. I take Aiden in the stroller when I go the grocery store which is right down the street and to keep him cool, I’ll wet both my hands and run them through his hair and over his face, then when the air hits him it’s like being in front of the air conditioner.

I’m a green mama and we walk just about everywhere, so keeping the kids cool and protected from the sun is a top priority.

Monday, February 25, 2013

My New Parenting Resolutions for 2013

I have implemented my new parenting resolutions and am off to a great start.  I know this is late, but I wanted to post it anyway. Instead of the usual New Year's Resolutions to quit smoking, quit drinking or lose weight I have decided to become a better parent. I always believed that there was a better method of disciplining children besides spanking and now the experts have proved me right. An article written by pediatrician and baby care expert  Dr.William Sears outlines "10 Reasons Not to Hit Your Child." There has been a lot of discussion on this topic in the forums and chat rooms lately.

I admit that with my other children I did use spanking as a method of discipline but decided that I would make better choices with my youngest child. Aiden is two years old now and of course he is doing everything that other toddlers do including climbing on the furniture, touching forbidden objects and chasing the puppy. The terrible two's are trying times for any parent but may be especially trying for parents attempting to introduce new discipline techniques. I want to try using positive discipline techniques to teach and reinforce good behavior and punish less often.

I made the decision not to spank when Aiden was born and followed the principles of AP parenting. We breastfed until he was 10 months old and he weaned himself, we co-slept with a side car sleeper and I wore him in a sling as often as I could to form that nurturing bond. I got this portable sleeper,The First Years Close and Secure Sleeper as a gift and I loved it, until he got too big for it. It is a very safe way to sleep with your baby. No worries about rolling over on the baby, he has his own little bed that can lay right on your bed beside you or in the middle. Dr. Sears also advocates using a side by side sleeper for safe co-sleeping and I agree.

Co-sleeping worked very well for us and we were both able to get sleep and have fewer restless nights. Aidan actually slept more peacefully when he slept with me. As he got older and outgrew the sleeper bed, he would snuggle up right next to mommy and fall asleep.

Now that he is a toddler, we are dealing with biting and hitting issues. Not because we hit him but because he was hit by another child of the same age, so he hits back when the other child takes his toys. We are trying to teach him that biting hurts by getting him to remember being bit and hit by someone else and how it isn't nice to treat your playmates that way. I want him to learn that

Here is a post with suggestions for gentle discipline techniques. I plan to use these and other helpful techniques or tips for disciplining with love and teaching proper behavior rather than punishing bad behavior. I live with 4 children age 2-6 and think that they will all benefit from these techniques as well. The 6 year old has ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder. Punishing his bad behavior just seems to make it worse, we are trying to encourage him to have good behavior by expecting it and telling him what a good job he is doing in school.

My parenting resolutions are to:

  • Choose alternative consequences
  • Use positive discipline techniques
  • View misbehavior as an opportunity to teach, rather than scold
  • Spend more time having fun with my child
  • Have more patience
  • Give him a voice and tell him why certain behaviors aren't acceptable

So these are my parenting resolutions for 2013. Any other parents with experience in raising toddlers with AP or gentle discipline techniques, I would love to hear about how you tackled these issues and the results that came out of it. You can leave a comment or send me a message.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holiday Shopping

I am vowing to get an early start on my holiday shopping this year. In years past, I had to wait until the week before Christmas because that was pay day. This year I promised myself I would start early and take advantage of online sales and discounts since I never shopped online in the past.

I have been looking for places to get Aiden's Christmas gifts and since I am an affiliate with some children's programs, I have access to coupon codes for discounts from PBS Kid's Shop, The Land of Nod, and the Corner Stork. I also have codes from e.l.f, Ulta and Stila cosmetics if anyone is interested.

Black Friday, November 23-November 25th you will get 20 percent off purchases at PBS Kid's Shop by clicking the link and entering the promo code BLACK20 at checkout. Black Friday - 20% Off at PBS KIDS Shop!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving Pie recipes-Old favorites

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I am digging out my recipe box to get ready. If you will be making pies like me, here is some information and a few good recipes for the Top 5 most popular holiday pies. We love pumpkin and apple in our house, but we welcome new flavors as well. What kind of holiday pies will you be making.Comment back and let me know what your favorite holiday pies are.

I just published this lens on Squidoo for Thanksgiving Pie recipes. There are some old favorites and links to some new ones.