Archives for April 2014

Summer Activities: Gardening With Your Child

 

gardening with your child

 

My grandfather had a garden when I was growing up, and I remember how different the vegetables taste from the store brought veggies today.  With that in mind, I planted a vegetable garden.  My father was an avid flower gardener, so it’s in my blood.

I decided to involve my grandson when he was little.  He lives near the beach, so backyard gardening isn’t a common theme in that area. When he visits in the summer he helps me with my garden.  He enjoys playing in the dirt and watering my plants.

Most importantly, he is learning about growing vegetables and flowers.  It’s a great way to get him outside and moving.  He loves it so much when he hears the back door open, he is on my heels.  In the photo above, he’s picking peppers.  Hot peppers are big in my family, we love them on everything.  Xavier loves hot peppers on his nachos, he’s a kid after his grandmother’s heart.  I pickle hot peppers, so we have a fresh supply all year and freeze Belle peppers for cooking.

gardening with children


Next, he’s learning the importance of watering the plants, weeding and waiting to reap the benefit.  How do you like his garden boots?  They’re Disney cars.  He loves splashing in the water after he makes puddles in the yard.  I can’t say that he’s learned to love everything he’s nurturing in the vegetable garden, but he’s having fun helping everything grow.

My grandchildren do love carrots, corn, cucumbers and tomatoes.  I use them in pasta salads, and the tomatoes for sauce for spaghetti and pizza which they both love.  I also can tomatoes for chili and soup in the winter.  Yum!

gardening with children

 

I’m a petunia lover too, so I make sure they’re the star on my deck in the summer.  Xavier was 2 when I started involving him in my gardening.  I thought I would share this picture of him sucking his binky and watering my plants.  It’s one of my favorite pictures of him.  I purchased a little watering can, rake and shovel for him too.  He remembers watering the plants, and now wants to water them each summer.  My granddaughter is old now, hopefully she will take an interest as well.

 

gardenng with children

 

Gardening doesn’t have to be expensive.  I start most of my vegetables and flowers from seed that I save.  I also purchase plants off the clearance rack at Walmart or Lowes.  The planter above is filled with Walmart clearance items. I purchased the planter from the Dollar Store.

Most importantly, if you don’t have a yard use your balcony or patio to grow a few plants.  Get your child involved. Better yet, let them plant a few flowers or vegetables of their own.  It teaches them responsibility and also gets them involved in nature. Try a perennial, they come back each year.

Next, when you expose children to different experiences, they will be open to different cultures, music, foods and other experiences as an adults.  Their formative years are in our hands.  They may not model everything that we do in their adult years, but they will have the memories and experience.  Last, you can’t place a price tag on that.

8 Benefits of Giving Children Chores

 

parenting, parenting tips

 

Do you give your children chores?  I have found that many of our children today have become entitled. They think they should have maid service, shouldn’t have to work for anything, and the world owes them.  They make no effort in school, and most importantly they have no respect for their parents or anyone else.  A person’s attitude is everything.  Furthermore, children should learn that there are no entitlements.  They must work for they what they want in life.

Children need to understand that mom is not a maid or their personal chef.  Putting a roof over their head and food on the table is the result of work.  Just as important, many children grow up not knowing how to care for themselves or how to do things around the house.  They think it’s okay to depend on someone else to take care of them for their entire life.

Additionally, life is work.  Each of us should strive to become independent.  Furthermore, we should each strive to make contributions in the world.  I made a decision to bring my daughter into the world.  With that in mind, it was my responsibility to take care of her for at least 18 years.  Anything that I assisted her with after she turned 18 was because I loved her. I wanted her to be a successful and productive citizen. As a matter of fact, becoming independent contributes to a person’s sense of self worth.  As a result, you will want to do for yourself.     

That thought process still continues in my home.  Yes, it applies to my grandchildren too.  Equally important, work ethics should be instilled early.  Moreover, there are many benefits to children being given chores and assisting with small things that will teach them lessons in life.  Here are a few benefits:

  • Responsibility – Teaching children to take care of the home and themselves should be taught early. This includes their room and their hygiene.
  • The Importance of Completing A Task Children need to learn how to start a task and take it to completion.  They will learn endurance, perseverance, and to do things over again if it’s not satisfactory.  Using chore charts is a good way to help them remember and organize.
  • Team Work Chores will teach children about working as a member of a team in the home.  It will demonstrate that each team member contributes to the success of a family and relationship.
  • Self Sufficiency Children need to learn how to sustain themselves when possible.  Getting a drink from the refrigerator can teach self sufficiency.  Putting on their clothes, shoes etc. are good places to start.
  • How to Clean and Organize Giving children the responsibility of helping with dishes, meals and cleanup teaches this lesson.  It will give them a sense of keeping things tidy, and the satisfaction of keeping order.
  •  The Importance of Money Children need to learn that things in the home cost money.  This includes recreational items, clothes, games, toys etc.  Allowing them to do chores to earn money is a great way to help with this lesson. Teach them to save for something they want.  Allow them to experience the excitement of reaching their goals.
  • How to Save Money Giving an allowance for assisting around the house is a great way to teach children to save money for something they would like to have or do down the road. 
  • Receiving and Giving Rewards Children will learn that receiving and giving rewards boosts confidence and self-esteem.   

chore chart printablesNext,  download our Chore Charts shown above here.  Finally,  chore charts are a great way to help your children remember and complete their daily chores.  Use gold stars as a reward.  Place them on the days chores were completed.      



5 Benefits of the Library

 

benefits of the library

 

Do you go to your local library or attend information sessions? Going to story hour at the library was a major event when I was growing up and raising my daughter.  I don’t hear much about story hour at the library from parents anymore. Did you know that there

I have wonderful memories of spending time at the library during the summer when I was growing up.  We spent time having stories read to us, checking out books, and becoming responsible by returning them on time.  We have moved into a technological world, and it seems that most books are downloaded these days.  As a result, taking kids to the library has become a lost art.

I must admit I like the convenience of being able to download books in the comfort of my home, but also like knowing that the children and I are still picking up a good old fashion book at times.  I started a home library for both Xavier and Zarriah.

We added shelves in Zarriah’s room to house her books and Xavier has a book case. Zarriah loves for me to read to her. I think all children should experience visiting a library.  Knowledge is power, and we must empower our children.

I have decided to have the children attend a few activities at our local library.  I have subscribed to our library’s newsletter so I can keep up with activities that will be offered this summer.  Our local library offers activities during the day and evenings. I’m thinking this will be a constructive and educational means of occupying some of their time rather than play video games.  A few other benefits of visiting the library:

  1. Teaches consideration for others – Children will learn to keep their voices down.
  2. Provides an opportunity to see others reading – Children need examples, seeing others read will encourage them to read as well.  
  3. Story Hour provides an opportunity for group interaction – Children will learn to sit in a group and participate in a group activity.
  4. Teaches listening skills – Listening to the person who is reading will enhance your child’s listening skills. 
  5. Enhances social skills – Becoming involved in activities at the library will help children learn or enhance skills.  Participating in story hour provides an opportunity to meet other children that they may not encounter in their neighborhood or school.  

One program in particular caught my eye, science.  They plan to hatch eggs, perform experiments and have the children build structures.  I have also found events that will be beneficial to me.  For example, I will be attending a session on Traveling Abroad On A Budget.  I hope to start traveling internationally within the next year.

Make a trip to the library and get your children involved in their activities.

You may also like:  Benefits of Reading to Your Child



Oral B’s Disney Timer App Review

Disney Princesses

I was contacted to review the new Oral B Disney Timer App.   If you’re unfamiliar with the App it was designed by Oral B, Disney and Crest to help children brush for 2 minutes, which is the recommended time frame by most dentists.  With a 2 and 5 year old I jumped at the chance.  I thought this App could make brushing interesting.  They may spend more time brushing rather than playing in the water.  As parents I know you can relate.  


The App features Disney and Marvel characters, which is perfect.  Zarriah loves all things Disney and Xavier loves the Marvel characters.  Another feature of the App was that it rewarded the children for brushing for 2 minutes with stars and stickers.  


Our Oral B and crest products arrived, and they were adorable.  I received age appropriate toothbrushes from Oral B (Winnie the Pooh and Cars) and Crest toothpaste featuring Disney Princesses in Bubble Gum and Cars in Fruit Burst.  We’re off to a good start.  

It’s time to download the App and get this party started.  The App is available on Google Play and the App Store.  I checked out the directions at the Oral B Disney Timer site and decided to download the App on both the ipad and my Android phone.  The App is quite large and takes quite a bit of storage, so it is recommended that it be downloaded using Wi-Fi only.  




I was unsuccessful downloading the App to my phone.  It looked like it was installing, but it never downloaded.  First time for this issue.  We moved to the ipad and downloaded the App successfully.  We were able to scan the products as instructed, however the App freezes before the timer starts.  We have yet to use it successfully.  The concept is great, but it needs some work.   Thankfully the kids love the new toothbrushes and toothpaste, so it wasn’t a total disappointment.    
I’m a big fan of Oral B, Crest and Disney, so I’m hoping they will work out the bugs and promote this App again.  It could a vital tool for parents in getting their kids to brush appropriately.  I think the idea is one of the best since sliced bread.  They came up a little short on this endeavor.  It’s like having an empty sandwich.  


5 Benefits of Playgrounds

early childhood development
Do you take your child to the park or playground?  I’ve often wondered if they have become obsolete and replaced by video games.  I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve taken the children to park and there has been other children there.  Do parents know the importance of a playground and its benefit to our children.
Children are encouraged to engage in free play on playgrounds.  Free play is simply children playing, running, climbing and using their imagination.  We may not think of early childhood development while we’re at the playground, but developing our children must be considered in just about everything that we do as parents.   Although we have a swing set in the backyard for Xavier and Zarriah, we do take them to the park for exercise and interaction with other children. 

There are multiple benefits to children playing on slides, monkey bars, climbing and jumping.  Here are a few:

  • Physical benefit – All children need to exercise for good health and to fight obesity.
  • Helps develop children emotionally – Children can learn to understand and control their emotions on the playground.  They may fall and cry, they may find something funny or get angry. This is a perfect opportunity to teach them about being happy, sad or whatever they’re feeling.
  • Helps develop social skills – Children must learn to socialize to be successful as an adult. Playing on a playground allows children to join in with others, share, and learn how to be a good sport.  They may be teased, have another child cut in front of them etc., but it’s a perfect opportunity to teach them how to resolve problems they may encounter.  
  • Helps develop large motor skills – Children develop and strengthen motor skills from birth to 6 years.  This includes rolling over, walking, learning to hold a pencil or crayons, using scissors, these are fine motor skills. Large motor skills are developed by using muscles in the arms, legs etc. Climbing, jumping,  using the monkey bars etc. will help with these skills. It will also assist children with learning to keep their balance and playing in organized sports.
  • Helps develop cognitive skills –  Children need to develop their brain so they will learn how to remember, solve problems, work on perception and it assists them with their attention span. 

Research by The Shasta Children and Families First Commission (SCFFC) has shown that brain development is crucial in a child’s earliest years. It’s imperative that children develop interaction through free play in the first six years of their life, and playgrounds are an appropriate area to develop these skills.  Research also reveals that children who have poorly developed motor-skills by age five will most likely never have efficient motor-skills.  


benefits of playgrounds

The paternal grandparents purchased a play ground set similar to the one at the park for the backyard when time isn’t on our side.  Xavier is getting older now, so he’s more into organized activities like football, basketball and swimming.  We’ll be using the set for Zarriah, she’s 2 now.  I believe my grandson  is advanced in many areas, and I believe a big reason he is advanced is because we focused on all of his developmental skills. We will be using the same plan for Zarriah. Utilizing the playground to develop skills is not a new concept.  I used it for my daughter, who is shown in the pictures.  She was and still is a social butterfly, she excelled in dance and cheerleading (organized activity) and higher academics.

Early childhood development is essential for all children.  If you can’t afford a backyard set, know that it is imperative that you set time aside during the upcoming spring and summer days to work on your child’s developmental needs.  The physical, emotional, cognitive, motor and social skills in your child’s early years will affect everything they do later in their life.  Do you spend time at the park with your children?

Using Eggshells In The Garden

 

 

using eggshells in the garden

 

Don’t throw those eggshells away.  Eggshells are beneficial in the garden.  Start using your eggshells in the garden.  Your tomato and pepper plants will thank you.  So, grab a container and save them throughout the year.  Ask your family members or neighbors to save them for you if you don’t consume a large quantity of eggs.  Explain that using eggshells in the garden will benefit the tomatoes they will receive in exchange.  This will give them an incentive to save the shells for you.  Check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips before you leave.

However, before you store the eggshells I recommend rinsing them thoroughly and than drying them in the oven on a low temperature. You can also set them outside on sunny days or leave them in an open dish on the kitchen counter. When your dish becomes full, have the kids crush them and than store.  Check out my other backyard vegetable garden tips.

 

using eggshells in the garden

If you decide to dry them in the oven, remember they don’t need to be in the oven long or on a high temperature.  Just long enough for them to dry on your lowest setting.  Once cooled, crush them and put them in a plastic bag or container. You can store them in your refrigerator if you don’t have counter space.  A rolling pin is a good way to crush mine or have the kids crush them with wooden spoons.

So, when garden season arrives place a generous dose of the crushed eggshells in the hole when you plant your tomatoes.  They are a great source of calcium for the plants.  Furthermore, I also sprinkle the shells around the plant once I get the tomatoes in the ground.  I actually do this throughout the growing season.  The eggshells will help give your tomatoes a calcium boost, and help fight off blossom end rot.

Secondly, I mix the crushed eggshells in with my birdseed.  Bluebirds, Baltimore Orioles, Scarlet Tanagers and Barn Swallows love eggshells.  You can spread the eggshells on a log or on the ground if you don’t have a platform feeder.  We hope that you enjoyed our tips on using eggshells in the garden, and you will start recycling your eggshells.  You may also like 20 Flowers to Use in a Wildflower Garden.

Toddler Dental Emergencies: 8 Tips to Save Your Toddler’s Tooth

todder dental emergency tips

 

Do you know the proper steps to take for toddler dental emergencies or even an older child?  My grandson has lost his front tooth twice.  When the first accident occurred, it dawned on me that I didn’t have a clue on the proper steps to take in the event of one of the kids hitting or getting their tooth knocked out.  As a result, I waited anxiously for my daughter to call me.  We discussed the necessary steps, just in case a dental emergency occurred while the children were in my custody.   Here they are:

  • Take your child to a hospital or pediatric dentist immediately if a tooth is knocked out or damaged.
  • If the child is young and the teeth or tooth is loose enough, remove the tooth or teeth to prevent the child from chocking.

If a permanent tooth as been knocked out, it can often be saved if you take the following steps immediately:

  • Find the tooth
  • Handle the tooth by the part you normally see, not the root
  • Gently rinse the tooth under water in a closed sink.  Do not scrub the tooth
  • If possible, place the tooth in the opening it fall out of
  • Hold the tooth in place or have your child hold the tooth in place while you’re in route to the hospital or doctor
  • If the tooth can’t be placed back into the opening, place it under your tongue or in milk

Because parents could experience toddler dental emergencies at any time.  Therefore, knowing what steps to take is imperative in saving your child’s tooth or teeth.  This is crucial, especially if it’s one of the child’s permanent teeth.  Knowing these steps worked for my grandson twice.  So they will work for you too. 

You may also like:  How To Care For Your Child’s Teeth


Resource: www.pediatricdentistorlando.com 





10 Tips On How To Choose and Wear Flip Flops

flip flops

Summer’s around the corner lady.  We will be storing our hose, socks, and boots, yeah baby. I like winter simply because I love boot season, but I love summer for the cute dresses, flip flops and sandals too.

As I was thinking of warmer weather on the horizon, I also thought about some of the ladies last summer who could have used a few tips on purchasing sandals and flip flops.  Lets not leave out the pedicure.

If you’re going to wear flip flops and sandals this summer, please purchase ones that fit.   Although flip flops are cute and go nicely with casual wear, they lack support.  Here are a few tips you need when you pick a pair or two this summer and ensure you will remain injury free:


1.  Purchase shoes where your toes don’t hang over the edge.
2.  If they’re thongs, ensure the piece between the toes won’t give you blisters.

3.  Purchase as high quality as you can afford since they lack support.
4.  Make sure they bend at the ball (upper part of the flip flop).    
5.  Purchase leather instead of plastic or rubber.
6.  Do not wear flip flops if you plan to go on long walks.  You will need more support than they will provide.
7.  Do not perform yard work in flip flops.
8.  Check your flip flops from last season.  If they are worn, replace them.  Because they lack support and are thin, they should only be worn 1 season according to The American Podiatric Medical Association. 

 9.  Be sure to wear flips flops in pool areas to avoid infections and Athletes Foot.    
10.  Please get a pedicure and lotion your feet.  (This should probably be the first step that you take before purchasing or putting on a pair).

There’s nothing worst than seeing ladies with jagged toe nails that could slice bricks, chipped polish and calloused, crusty feet.  If you can’t afford to get a professional pedicure, give yourself a home pedi.  Please, do it for me.  Thank you.

What do you like about summer?  Do you have a favorite pair of flip flops or sandals, and what do you usually wear them with?

(Photo courtesy of http://webclipart.about.com)










When You Start to Mirror Your Mother

 

 

parenting tips, mother and daughter relationships, grandparents

 

When I became a mother, I vowed to do things differently from my mother.  After all, who wants to be their mother. Did you swear that you would never turn into your mother?  Even as she was baking wonder breads,  maintaining a perfect house, sewing on a button or placing a band aid on a scrapped knee, I didn’t want to be my mother. I had no idea what motherhood entailed at that point in my life. Over the course of the years, I have learned that parenting and keeping a marriage together are tough jobs. Once you step into the arena of parenting and marriage, it changes your life forever.  There’s no manual on parenting or how to have a successful marriage.  Life is simply trial and error.  

I grow up in a traditional household, my father worked and my mother took care of 7 children and the home. Yep, I said 7.  She cooked, cleaned, did the laundry, and made sure homework was done.  Additionally, she attended PTA meetings, got us to bed on time, and sent us to Sunday School every Sunday.  She washed clothes in a wringer washer, hung them on a clothes line, ironed, cleaned windows with vinegar and water, and cooked meals in stockpots.  

I remember taking clothes off the line when they were stiff as boards because they were frozen. I also remember the best smelling sheets.   It was a good life for the most part.  Nevertheless, I still did not want to be my mother.  I just wanted to be me whoever that was.

True to form I kept my word.  I stayed home with my daughter for awhile, but Corporate America was calling my name.  My mother thought my choices were awful. Microwaved food, traveling around the country, and divorcing was not something a traditional woman did. As time went on she accepted my choices, and I didn’t feel guilty about not becoming my mother.  We both realized that times change; where I come from doesn’t make me who I am.   

Many woman were breaking the traditional ideology.  When my daughter was in ballet, dads were bringing their daughters to class.  Men and women were sharing the responsibility of getting kids to their destination and managing the home.  Men were cooking, washing dishes, doing laundry and women were mowing lawns.  Women were entering the workforce, bringing the bacon, frying it up and still taking care of their homes. 
Some were bringing in more money than their husbands. Many were holding it down without a husband.   

I’ve enjoyed my years in the workforce, but I’m entering a new chapter in my life.  I have decided to leave the work force within the next year.  My career has been a journey.  I’ve learned many lessons along the way. Working outside the home has taught me leadership skills. It has also allowed me to become a better business woman. Most importantly it has taught me that I no longer want to be apart of the work force.    

My mother is aging, but I hope she remembers some of the yummy recipes that she fixed when we were children. I’m looking forward to making jams, getting my grandchildren for the summer, and traveling across this great country.  I’m looking forward to scrap booking the thousands of pictures that I have stored.  Last, I’m looking forward to enjoying a cup of coffee on my deck as I’m listening to the birds tweet and bunnies play.  

 

Personalized Pacifiers As Seen On Kendra Wilkerson Show

personalized pacifiers

Looking for a great baby shower gift or a gift for your little one?  Try these adorable personalized pacifiers.  They come in an array of colors and styles and can be found at, My Pacifier.   Kendra Wilkerson and Kourtney Kardashian have used these personalized pacifiers for their sons, Hank and Mason.  They have also been featured on Today.  
Not only are they adorable, endorsed by celebrities and their babies, but they are reasonably priced.  The Designer pacifiers, shown below, are only $5.00 and the Personalized pacifiers, above, start at 3 for $15.00.  Really not a bad price for a unique gift.  I wish I had found this site when my Xavier was small.  He actually used his pacifier for 2 years, so I would have definitely gotten my money’s worth for the price.  Zarriah never used a pacifier, she was content with her fingers.  

The site offers Orthodontic pacifiers.  You can actually see what the personalized pacifier with your child’s name will look like on the site.  They have a variety of colors and symbols to choose from.  You can choose the same color or mix it up for a little variety for the personalized pacifiers.  This site is worth a visit, the pacifiers will make a great baby gift.