Monday, March 26, 2012

Being present for your kids

Last week, I talked about taking time outs for yourself in order to be a better Mom…a more “hands on mom.” I have found when you are not as overwhelmed with all your everyday motherly duties or just done from a day of the fussies and the sassies, you tend to be (and want to be) more present with your kids.

You walk into any indoor play area or visit any park around town and it never fails, almost every parent has their computer, I Pads or phone out, talking on it, texting or looking at the Internet.  I know as stay-at-home Moms our phones or I Pads, is our way to the outside world. We are able to keep in touch with family that is far away or it is a way to chit chat with friends.  

Isn’t it so sad to see how we have let all this technology and gadgets just take over our lives where we are not present anymore? We may be physically, but are we really tuned in to what is going on around us or what are children are doing? The answer is “no” and we have ALL been guilty of this in some form or another. We are either constantly returning emails, posting on Facebook (and only the good things, right?), Tweeting (whatever that is, still don’t get it) or texting.  We think we are multitasking but are we really. To me, it is just more to do and precious time with your kids to waste.  
Just last week, my girls and I visited an indoor play area, as a way to pass the time between nap and dinnertime. You know, “the witching hour” as some call it.  I really could not get over how many parents were just sitting around on their behinds with their phone glued to their hand and some to their hip. There was one particular Mom that stuck out because her adorable little boys were playing with my girls, and every now and then, they would go check in with their mom, either showing her a picture they drew or a funny outfit they had dressed up in. Not one time did she really acknowledge them. She might have nodded her head or shouted across the room, to get on to them for blocking the slide or going up the slide instead of down, but other than that, I never saw any interaction with her boys. Yes, I know that you should not have to entertain your kids all day long and that they need to learn how to play independently. I get that! However, if your child is seeking you out to include you in their play, acknowledge them and enjoy that very moment with them. It might be a moment to bond or to teach them something. Be present, Mamas!

The same goes while you are at home or in the car with your children. It is so easy to grab your cell phone, catch up with phone calls (there’s that multitasking), make appointments or even worse, put a DVD in for your child when you are driving the short distance from your house to the grocery store. Then, while at home, you are trying to think of how am I going to keep these kids entertained all day, we can’t go to the zoo again, I have no desire to go to an indoor play area or park. Or it may be at the end of your work day, and you are too exhausted to do anything. Haven’t we all been there?
Parents, I don’t want you to think I am telling you what to do or how to parent. I am just trying to encourage you to savor each moment with your child as I have recently taken a step back myself and realized some of the lost moments I have taken for granted. Whether it has been trying to clean, do laundry, return a phone call or email, all the while the girls are playing. I have missed some sweet conversations or opportunities to just bond with my kids all because I was trying to do it all and make a check mark on my to-do list.

I know if you are like me, you think that if I get this task done and checked off my list, then I can sit down and play a game with my kids or take them to the park on a pretty spring day. Well, I was wrong. What I have learned that every moment you spend with your child does not have to be some elaborate activity or fieldtrip to the Discovery Center or the Zoo. Just those small moments of coloring a picture with them, taking a walk, doing a puzzle, having a tea party, building a fort, or reading to them, count so much! Those are the moments they remember the most!

I just read an article in Parents magazine that talked about how precious our time is with our children and in this article they gave some really interesting statistics on how much time we actually do have left with our children. Listen to this…
“There are only 940 Saturdays between a child’s birth and her leaving for college, which kind of sounds like a lot, but how many have you already used up? If your child is 5 years old, 260 Saturdays are gone. Poof!”  Okay, how scary is that!  Then, sometimes those Saturdays are eaten up with activities, sleepovers, etc. Crazy!

So parents let’s take advantage of the little moments we have with our kids. While riding in the car, turn off the DVDs and any other noisy gadgets going on, put your cell phone away (gasp!) where you are not tempted and try to have a conversation with your child, play a car game with them or listen to a favorite CD.  
While at home, let the laundry go, don’t be in such a hurry to clean up while your children are playing and forget your to-do lists until you actually have the time to do the tasks. Also, get the phone out of your hand. Your kids want to see your face when they are talking to you. Be a good role model and show them the same respect you would want them to do when talking to you or someone else.
Other small ways you can bond, be present and create memories with your children is having traditions at home like “game nights,” “movie nights” or going out to dinner as a family on a certain night. On the weekends, go for walks, have breakfast for dinner (my girls think that is so silly!) or have a campout in the backyard and make smores.
Remember, the times you spend with your children do not have to cost much or be so over the top creative. It is just being there with them… in the moment!
So parents, we are taking our own advice here…we are going to tuck our computers (or I Pads) away and take the rest of this month and Easter time off so we can spend more time with our family. To be present and savor the moments and we hope you will too.
Happy Spring everyone!  Talk to you again in a few weeks!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Your time and Family do you balance?

As busy moms ourselves, we are constantly trying to find that balance between either work and family or our kids and a little “me time” to maintain our sanity. Some of you are probably asking yourselves right now, what is that? What is “me time? “ I don’t have time for that. I need to be there for my kids and husband.  I have things to do people!

Well, let me tell you what my “me time” is these days and I hope you Mamas will try to add some of these to your list of things to do. .. taking a nice long bath at the end of a fun or stressful day with my kids, going to dinner with friends, exercising, getting my hair done or a Pedi,  and even getting to run errands by myself.

As my Granddad always used to say, “If Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy and if Daddy aint happy, nobody cares.” So true!

You can’t feel guilty about getting away for a little while to regroup and just take time for yourself. All week, we Mamas  are rush, rush, rush to get the kids to school, go grocery shopping, take kids to dance or soccer practice, cook dinner, do laundry and the list goes on! And you know, there is always something to do.

So what I have learned after having my girls and being at home with them, if you are so run down and feel like you have somewhat lost yourself in all the hustle and bustle of being a mom, you are not going to be the kind of “Hands on Mom” you want to be. You are going to be less patient and just plain burnt out. These days I have wished I could just take a leave of absence. Away from the meltdowns, the everyday to-do list and mommy duties.

Well, I recently took a road trip to Atlanta to go see one of my very good friends’s and meet her sweet baby girl. Even though it was just for a night, I can’t tell you how much I needed that time away from my everyday life.  Just being able to listen to what I wanted to in the car and a quiet car no less. No passing snacks around or holding my breath from all the squealing and whining that is ringing in my ear. It was absolutely wonderful! I got to catch up with my friends, have an adult conversation without any interruptions and enjoy a nice meal that doesn’t require paper placemats and worn out crayons.  

Did I already say how fabulous this time away was! I just wish I could have made it a whole weekend. And did I feel guilty about getting away? Not one second! Because once I got back, I was refreshed and ready to get back to my family.

So I hope you Mamas will try to take some “time outs” for yourself every now and then. Even if it is taking a drive by yourself and singing as loud as you can to your favorite tunes, going for a long walk or just making a Target run by yourself. It will do wonders for you and it will benefit your kids and family as well.

Remember….”If Mama aint happy, nobody is!”

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring!

Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!" 

~Robin Williams

Monday, March 19, 2012

Inquiring minds want to know...

We hope you all have been enjoying our posts lately, as we have been diligently working in trying to blog about things that may interest you, touch you and inspire you as a parent.

We love to hear from our readers either via blog, Facebook or even in person at times. So with that being said, we would like to ask you if there is a subject you would like to here more about? Are you looking for more parent advice and tips or fun ideas to do with your children or family as a whole?

We would love to know so we can better support you through this wonderful, yet we know challenging time in our lives as parents.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy St. Patty's Day!

For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way -
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.

~Author Unknown


Monday, March 12, 2012

Nature inspired easy to do crafts

Spring has sprung early this year! Well, at least it has in Tennessee.The flowers are already blooming on some of the trees, the weather is starting to get warmer and you can't help but notice all the bright colors when you walk into to any of the local stores and supermarkets.

My girls and I love this time of year. We love the warm weather, the colors, Easter time, and just being able to enjoy the outdoors without having to get all bundled up. This Florida girl has yet to get adjusted to the cold weather in Tennessee.

As spring is just around the corner, we are always looking for any excuse to be outdoors and why not make it a fun learning experience while we are at it, right?  

So we found on one of our favorite websites  nature inspired arts and crafts for you and your children to enjoy. They are so simple and you will even be able to do them with your toddlers.

Have fun and Happy Spring!

Paper Bag Nest
Our nature-inspired Easter decoration encourages kids to head outside.

Paper Bag Nest
  • Twigs
  • Brown paper lunch bag
  • Tacky glue
  • Paper plate


  1. Have your child gather a handful of twigs from the yard, then help her break them into small pieces.
  2. Next, squash down the sides of a brown paper lunch bag.
  3. Pour a small puddle of tacky glue onto a paper plate, then help her dip each twig into the glue and stick it to the bag.
  4. Let the glue dry completely before filling the nest
Prints Charming 

Prints Charming

Ages: 2 and up
Let nature make a lasting impression with this easy project. All that's required are some painting supplies and a few textured souvenirs from a recent nature walk, such as dandelions and ferns. The finished projects are beautiful, but you may discover that rolling the paint delights your little printmaker even more than her work of art.


  • Objects for printing (leaves, flowers, and ferns are all good candidates)
  • Scrap paper
  • Masking tape
  • Washable tempera paint
  • Styrofoam plate or tray
  • Foam trim roller (available at hardware stores for about $2 and at craft shops for about $5 to $7)
  • White or colored paper

  1. Lay your object on a piece of scrap paper. Add small rolls of tape underneath the object so it won't move when your tot enthusiastically rolls on the paint.
  2. Squeeze some paint onto the tray or plate. Have your child roll the roller in it, then paint over the leaf or flower.
  3. Pick up the object by its stem, lay it paint-side down on a sheet of white or colored paper, and cover it with another piece of scrap paper. Have your child gently rub over it with the flat of her hand. Carefully lift off the paper and then the object. Let the paint dry.

    Prints Charming - Step 3

Nature Crowns (for every prince and princess at heart!)

Nature Crowns

This easy-to-make accessory gives little naturalists a hands-free place to store leaves, twigs, and other small finds.


  • Poster board


  1. Cut a length of poster board to fit your child's head.
  2. Make horizontal slits in the paper with a craft knife, and tape the ends together.
  3. Out of doors, you can insert his discoveries into the slits for a wearable collection.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Dave Ramsey "sums" it up!

Well, Dave Ramsey summed it up (no pun intended) in an article on the most common questions he gets asked about kids and money.  Please take time to read this article as I hope  it may inspire you and encourage you to start the money talk early.

I am also going to include a link on to Dave Ramsey's online store where he sells money games for
3-12 year olds as well as books that talk about money.

From Dave Ramsey:

Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence. —Plato

Plato said it well. Parents are not just responsible for providing food, clothing, and shelter for their kids. They are also responsible for teaching their kids about life—and life includes handling money.

When it comes to kids and money, the three most common questions I get are:

  • When should I start teaching my kids about money?
  • Should I give my kids an allowance?
  • When should my kids go to work?

Teach kids about money as young as pre-school age and no later than third grade. Just think about it: if your kids can grasp this money stuff early on, they'll avoid many of the pitfalls later. After all, its better for little Billy to make a $10 mistake than a $10,000 mistake!

1.   Start paying them a commission for chores they do around the house.

Typically, one dollar per completed chore is sufficient with a list of five or six chores each week. Remember that each child is going to respond differently. Just keep evaluating your child's maturity level and make sure their chores are age-appropriate.

2.   Do not give them an allowance.

After all, what are you making an allowance for? You don't want to have the kind of kids who think money grows on trees, do you? Don't set them up for frustration and unrealistic expectations. And don't miss out on the teachable moments that come when you give them a commission instead of an allowance.

3.   Send them off to work.

Child abuse is letting a kid sit in front of a TV all day playing video games and eating junk food. Kids need to understand what a little dirt under the fingernails means. Delivering newspapers, mowing lawns, or working at a concession stand are some appropriate jobs they can handle.

Guiding your children in the choices they make with money is HUGE! The lessons you teach them as they earn money and learn to spend, save and give will lay an influential foundation for their lives. Remember, if you don't teach your kids how to handle money, someone else will.

Get Financial Peace Jr. now to help your kids learn solid money principles.

More game and book recommendations are at:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Parents Bucks

Well, the research continues and I am finding more fun ways to teach our kids about money. If you haven’t read our post from Monday, I encourage you to. I mentioned a wonderful and very helpful blog and website that will get you on the right path in raising a money savvy kid.

Now, I can’t wait to try these “parents bucks” with my girls.  Here is an excerpt from the article, Parents Bucks on  

It's not too early to start teaching good money sense. Use our Parents Bucks to start educating your toddlers -- and your big kids -- about the value of a dollar.

 Fill an old wallet with our Parents Bucks and let the learning begin! Here are some age-appropriate suggestions to get you started.

Toddlers: Kids will have fun taking the money out of the wallet and putting it back in. Next step? Sorting. Encourage them to separate the bills by color. Pretty soon, they'll be ready to count from 1 to 10.

Little Kids (3 to 5 years old): Keep counting. Use the different denominations to teach your kids how to count beyond 10. You can also help them make the connection that money can be exchanged for their favorite treats at the store or at home in pretend games. Pretty soon they'll be ready to learn how to add.

Big Kids (6 to 8 years old): Make the most of our Parents Bucks by using them as an allowance. Besides letting your child "pay" for special privileges -- like extra TV time -- you can teach them how to save for something they really want.”

Monday, March 5, 2012

How and When do you Talk to Your Kids about Money?

As of lately, whenever I walk into any store with my oldest daughter, she sees something she wants. It may be a sweet treat at the grocery store or some kind of Disney princess book or figurine that she might see as we are cruising the Target aisle. Now, she doesn’t really whine or throw a fit (Thank God!)  if I say “Well, we don’t need that today” or “We are not shopping for us right now.”  However, she will say, “Okay, Mommy, how about tomorrow?”  Or “How about for my birfday?”  Well, after I chuckle inside at my little negotiator, I make a mental note that I really need to do some research on how to teach her about money?  Of course, the teacher in me knows how to teach her the practical money concepts such as how much is a penny worth, and a nickel, etc.  That you count by 5’s when you count nickels and count by 10s when you count dimes and so on and on. So I can teach her those concepts all day long, but am I really teaching her how to be smart with her money? I am teaching her how to be responsible financially? To not waste money or just spend it on every princess doll she sees? As a parent, I am just not sure how to start talking to my children about money. These are the questions I ask myself.

Do I start with an allowance and is my daughter old enough for an allowance? Do I give her money for doing her chores? To me, chores are just being part of the family and it’s the child’s responsibility to help around the house.  Then, what do you do when your child gets money from relatives? For all I know, my kids think that money is tucked in every greeting card from their grandparents.
Well, parents if you are at this stage with your children right now or soon will be, and have some of the same questions that I have,  I found this fabulous website and blog that will educate you a little more on  how and when to teach your children about money.

The website is Some of you may have heard of it, but this Mama had not. Now, I am hooked and can’t get enough information. In fact, I found a particular post that was most helpful and wanted to share it with you.  It is called “5 Phrases that Make Money Savvy Kids.”

Friday, March 2, 2012

Wrapping Up!

To wrap up this week's talk about discipline and how to manage our kids' behavior, I would like to share a recent real world example of what happens when you are not consistent with your rules and/or not prepared to follow through with the consequences when they are broken.
So my girls and I were at the park recently, enjoying the fabulous and rare warm Tennessee weather. My girls saw a group of kids playing in the sandbox, which I can't stand by the way. Not only because they get sand in every crevice of their body, but also, because it just kind of freaks me out at what could possibly be in those public sandboxes. Who knows!

Anyway, my girls just joined right in with the “sandbox kids” as I stood by watching, cringing and crossing my fingers that they wouldn't catch anything or get hurt on something. So there was a boy that my youngest child started playing with and all of a sudden he starts throwing sand. Everywhere! Now, where is the mom when all of this is happening? Well, just chatting it up with her friends, and right there watching the whole thing. The mom proceeds to shout at the little boy, in her deep southern accent saying, "Now, don't you throw sand, Luke, or you are going to have to get out!" Well, at this point, I am even more convinced that the sandbox is probably not a good idea, so I get the girls excited about going on the twisty slide instead.

While I am trying to divert my girls’ attention elsewhere, get the sand dusted off of them, etc., the boy throws sand at me. Yep! Oh boy was this Mama not happy! So I wait for the Mom to take her precious boy out of the sandbox like she said, right? Well, she says or yells ..."Luke, I told you if you throw sand one more time, you are out of the sandbox." You know what ole Luke said? "Mom, I don't want to get out of the sandbox. I like to throw sand." Okay, so here I am thinking, stand firm, and don’t let him get to you. Don't let him win this battle and think it is okay to behave this way or talk to you this way. So the Mom shrugs it off and says, "Well, we were going to leave in five minutes anyway," and lets the sand throwing kid keep playing. Then, guess what, as five minutes passed, the woman is still chatting it up with her friends, and says, "We got to go Luuuke." Do you think Luke listened or really believed that he had to go home or that he needed to do what his Mom said? Why should he, all she did was keep yelling and making these empty threats after threats.

So Mamas, with my long winded story, I am further encouraging you to set limits early on, be as consistent as possible and follow through with the consequences. Ole Luke just kept on fighting his mom, talking back and tuning her out because he knew she really didn’t mean business.

Remember my buddy, Heather's post last week about the Kindergarten Readiness Survey and what the majority teachers really expect a Kindergartener should be able to do...follow directions, learn how to take turns, share, be respectful and be sensitive to others' feelings? Can you believe what some of the least important skills were: knowing English, the ability to identify primary colors, basic shapes and the ability to count to 20!

As Heather stated last week, and I quote, "By modeling compassion (sending notes to someone who is sick), taking turns (by playing games together), sharing with others, and having high expectations for following directions at home, you are teaching some of the most important skills for kindergarten readiness." And I will also add... you are teaching your child real world, everyday social skills.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Discipline/Behavior Management Charts

To get you started on the road to more positive parenting or shall I say, sanity savers, we have researched the Internet for some FREE and very helpful discipline/behavior management charts. You can find charts that target more specific behaviors such as not talking back to more simple charts that encourage your child to say “please” and “thank you.” So whatever the desired behavior is, you should be able to find a chart from the lists below.

If you don’t see a chart that strikes your fancy, then you can try to create one yourself. For example, I have done a dot-to-dot with my oldest daughter. I just drew out a crown and other girly things and let her connect a dot every time I caught her doing something good or whatever the behavior we were trying to improve. One week, it was being nice to her sister. The other week, it was using her manners such as “please,”  “thank you,” “yes ma’am,” etc. So it made me look for the positives instead of the negative behavior. My daughter thought it was so much fun connecting the dots and when she connected all of them, she got a small prize of what the picture was, such as a crown.

Another strategy I have done is a ticket system and this again, made me look for the positives. I also didn’t have to raise my voice and it was easy for Dad to adapt to and reinforce when he got home.  My daughter started the day with three tickets and the goal was to get more tickets. In order to get more tickets, she had to not talk back or be sassy. That was the goal one week. So every time, I caught her saying nice things or even being sweet to her sister, I would give her a ticket. We set a system up at the very beginning that if she got a certain amount of tickets, like for 6, we could go get yogurt, 9 tickets, she could pick a place to go out to dinner, 12, she could get a new book.  The key was not to get any tickets taken away. So you have to really be on top of it, but it is so worth it. Your child will be so proud when they get a ticket and feel good about themselves when they hear what they are doing right. When children are shown and taught what the behavior you expect, the more willing they are to behave and respect you.