Thursday, December 29, 2011

Home Pre-school

To help get a little more routine to our days and rhythm in our life I am planning to start doing a little home preschooling come March.
Liv will be 2 1/2, which around here is a common age to start pre-school. Personally I feel this is too young, but I don't feel some more structure and lose learning and playing is the same as actually going to pre-school.
I've been having a little bit of a hard time getting a nice routine with our days since Eve has been born. I am planning on starting the New Year with getting back into some more structure then come March do one day a week like a pre-school, or more accurately called a play school. Liv is too young for real schooling, but not too young for story-times, crafts and other types of play.
Thursday will most likely become our pre-school day.
Keep an eye out for my curriculum for her. I will be doing things to help learn letters, colors and shapes, using stories and other activities.
I think March is a great time for us to start since it will be Spring so I can use lots of seasonal things to bring in our home and play time.
I really enjoy the Waldorf philosphy so I'm hoping to use some of that in my pre-school for Liv.
I've been collecting ideas and started a binder for my ideas.
The binder is divided by months since I plan to teach along with the seasons and holidays. I'm going to put all sorts of appropriate activities in my binder for children up to 5 years old, but will only use age appropriate stuff. This way I won't lose any ideas that are great for older children, and I can reuse lots of fun seasonal stuff that is great for all ages.
Wish me luck!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Meal Planning

I like to refer to myself as a Stay at home Mom, or a Radical Homemaker. Radical homemaking differs then what some people think of as homemaking now. Its like going back in time, being a real homemaker, not just watching soaps, popping in TV dinners or getting take out.
One thing that has helped me so much since becoming SAHM or Radical homemaker is menu planning.
I don't know how I lived with out being more organized at home.
I bought this from Target last year

Sunday is my planning day, or night. I sit down with the circular and plan my meals for the week. I do it based on sales and what I feel like, what our week look likes and what frozen meats I may have.
Some people go very specific for each day, Monday-Soup, Tuesday-Beef, Wed-Pasta. For my family I have just found that it does not work. There are certain foods we eat maybe once a month so my weekly planning is a little more open.
This week my meals look like this.
Monday-Cx Quesidillas
Tuesday-Soup with leftovers from the roast
Wed-Sausage with peppers and onions
Thursday-Pasta night
Friday-Pork chops with Apple sauce
Saturday-Turkey burgers
Sunday-Chicken roaster

One plus is getting to use my leftovers. I like to cook bigger meals on nights my husband will be home so I can use the leftovers. With out planning I wouldn't be able to do this. It also helps me save money and plan lunches too.
I can mix in new recipes while keeping old stand bys there for most nights.
It is so much easier to not have to worry what is for dinner. I can plan healthier meals for my family, shopping is easier too.
I keep my list right on the fridge, I write down when we run out of things. Or I add things when I think of a good recipe for the next week.
Try menu planning for a month and you will not know how you lived with out it.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Cheer

This is the first year where my daughter, Liv, gets Christmas. She understands that Santa comes and bring presents at night. She gets that you leave cookies and milk for Santa and a carrot for his reindeer. She every night she asks me if Santa is coming. She has been cracking me up with some of her Christmas ideas and sayings this year.
"Santa wears boots 'cause he likes to splash (in puddles)", which is one of Olivia's favorite things to do.
"I wanna cook and eat the snowman." Took me about 5 minutes of her saying that to realize she was talking about the Snowman cookies we saw earlier in a cookbook.
When she told Santa what she wants for Christmas she told him "presents."
After watching a video that showed elves making toys she got all excited and said "they are making presents for me?!?" "yup for you and all the other boys and girls" I replied "yes and me!"
"Santa likes red."

"Santa likes cookies, chocolate cookies"
Tonight she asked to say a prayer for Santa.
I have tried to explain to here that Christmas is not just about Santa, but about Jesus and his birth. But I think that idea is lost on a 2 year old. But it doesn't mean I will not try and keep telling her what Christmas really is about.
I'm not sure if tonight she got it a little more or if she was just thankful that Santa comes on Jesus's birthday since she said "Thank Jesus for Santa"
I'm sure the later, but hopefully I will think the first.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dangers of CIO

I have never been a huge Cry It Out fan (CIO) something in my heart just never felt right about leaving my baby to cry in the dark to "teach" her to sleep on her own. Believe me there were nights with my first I was so exhausted and frustrated I wanted to, but I never did. I might of left her crying for a few minutes to compose myself and get some energy and relax so I could better soothe my baby, but never left her long and never did this to teach her to sleep.
In an ideal world babies would not be left to cry, but we do not live in an ideal world. Parenting has become increasing isolating and lonely, which is why so many of us SAHM come to the internet for support and advice.

Moms and Dads have to get up for work, grandparents are miles away, siblings, aunts, uncles are not around to help give mom and dad a break, a high needs baby, a baby with other young children, there are many reasons why parents turn to CIO. One big one is the idea that your baby should be sleeping through the night. Once you get over all the shoulds that come with parenting life will be much easier. Baby should be sleeping 5 hours by 3 months, no more night nursing after 9 months. All these rules and suggestions about parenting drive us nuts. Baby needs to sleep in his back, in his own crib, on a hard mattress with nothing, and to top it all off baby needs to learn to fall asleep on his own around 4 months. If not let him cry. To me what is the worst part about all these recommendations is that if your baby doesn't sleep through the night is that you feel like you failed or did something wrong.
This is how I felt during a lot of the first few months with my first.
Liv would only sleep with me, only nurse to sleep. I heard it all, that is dangerous to co-sleep (this is a myth and many studies show that co-sleeping prevents SIDS) that they will never leave your bed, that I am creating a bad habit.
I just have to say that I am lucky that my Aunts and mom did their own thing and nursed us, slept with us and rocked us to sleep. Once I heard that and found attachment parenting I decided to ignore the should of and lead with my heart.
I often saw blogs and post about the physical and emotional dangers of CIO, but most of it was on attachment parenting forums or blogs. I was surprised to see an article about it on a resource I used often in college and several times when I was working on my masters degree in Social Work.
Here is a great article about how crying it and leaving a baby to cry goes against our natural instincts and there is a reason for it.
As I stated about I don't want people who are struggling with a colic or high needs baby to think they are failing or bad. Or just someone who needs to take 5 from a screaming baby, like I admit to having done.
I just want to expose people to other ideas and science other then what the American Pediatrics suggests and almost orders us to do, or according to them, we are not doing our jobs as parents right.
Parenting is not an exact science, but more and more science has been showing us that what we feel in our hearts is most often what is best for your baby.
So feel free and confident to nurse your baby, "spoil" them, hold them tight, kiss them, sleep with them, attend to all their cries, and dote on them and love them as you feel is best.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Holiday Crafts with Toddlers

I just love Christmas crafts, but most are above the ability of my 2 year old. And I don't have too much time to really help with a newborn on me most of the day.
I found one craft in one of the many books I checked out from the library that show activities and crafts.
The first thing we made was snow. All I did was get a black sheet of paper and gave her a white piece of chalk to color snow on the paper.

The second craft I took a red piece of paper and cut it in the shape of santa's hat. Then I glued it on a pink piece of paper and let her color in his face. We also glued on cotton balls to decorate it.
The next day we decorated gingerbread men. Decorating cookies is easy enough and she loved eating the results. We will do more cookie decorating closer to Christmas, and make enough to leave some out for Santa.

Happy Holidays!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hold On

Last time while breastfeeding Liv this was the time I was about to give up. I was exhausted from being up at night, having to stop every where we went out to nurse, tired of being used as a pacifier. Everyone else I know who breastfeed gave up right around this time, the 3 month mark.
But with Liv I was determined to make it to 6 months. I would not give up and was so glad I didn't. What people don't tell you is that just when you think you can't handle it anymore, it gets easier. (people may not tell you that though because unfortunately most don't make it past those very difficult first few months) Some where during that third month Liv started sleeping better and longer. I could go out with just diapers and wipes, and unless it was a longer trip she was happy as a clam, not needing to nurse.
This to me is the best part and easiest part of nursing. No solids yet, so you don't have to worry about snacks or other food while out, no bottles or heating up formula. Just you and your baby enjoying life. And because I found it so easy and enjoyable we blew past my 6 month goal and nursed until Liv was 19 months. And believe me with all the problems we had in the start I never thought we would even make that 6 month mark. I really hope I can do the same with Ev or even longer if she wants. Horrible morning sickness dried out my supply, with out that I think Liv would of nursed even longer. Plus that breastfeeding bond that everyone talks about really kicks in when they get older. When most babies will be feeding themselves bottles and food you will have yours close to your heart, where babies belong.
So if you have reached the 3 month mark and think you can't take anymore to quote The Killers "when you can't hold on...hold on" I promise it will get so much easier really quick, and you will be so grateful you held on just a little bit more.