Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Positive Parenting and Discipline

The title of this post almost sounds like an oxymoron. How on earth can you positively discipline? Does it look something like this?

"I am POSITIVE you must go to your room because you are driving me crazy?" No of course not. But if your anything like me, that is usually how it comes out.

Join us at Baby Gift Basket Co. as we listen into a question and answer video posted by  Family and Education at VideoJug as they interview Eileen Hayes on how to use positive discipline effectively.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Establishing BedTime Routines

Ah, those endless waking nights that have you stumbling around the kitchen looking for a bottle for the baby only to realize as you sit down that you have grabbed the mustard instead. The joys of motherhood and newborns.
While I have no magic tips that will have your newborn sleeping through the night right away, we have written an article that should give you some good pointers on getting that precious bundle to settle down sooner and start sleeping through the night faster then a baby with no routine.

1. Begin Early - At least an hour before bed time

2. Be consistent - Every night, do the same exact thing

3. Follow the Pattern - Bath, Bottle, Book, Bed

Read more about following this pattern and how to put it in place over at The Baby Gift Basket Website.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Facebook and Grieving the Loss of a Child

The loss of a child at any time is heart breaking. Losing a young child unexpectedly is especially difficult. Having your personal life displayed on facebook for hundreds to see can be healing and overwhelming.

Recently I wrote an article over on Planet Gift Baskets about my friends personal struggle with social media and the loss of their 18 month old baby boy. While many of us were glued to our computers awaiting the next update while they were at the hospital, the reality of what was happening hadn't really set in for a few days.

Follow the journey and learn a few social media netiquettes that have come from this experience. Social media is here to stay and it is changing the way we support those who are grieving. Many of us struggle to send the right card, but no one has said this is how you respond when they are on facebook.

Join us as we share our friends very personal and honest responses to grief and support on facebook.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Learn Some New Tricks To Cooking

Developing your culinary skills is simple, as long as you do your research. You can enjoy experimentation while you learn to cook, in order to develop your skills. These tips will help you expand your cooking expertise and allow you to try new things. These tips are here to help improve your skills easily. Tying a turkey with a string is called trussing the turkey. This process tucks the legs and wings closer to the bird's body, which allows everything to cook more evenly. If you do not do this, the wings or legs will burn easier. Never use oil when you are boiling pasta. Try not to let any oil get in the pot when you are boiling water to cook your pasta. The oil will transfer to the pasta. This will leave the noodles slick, which means any sauce you put on them later will not stick.
TIP! Get more out of your small kitchen appliances by considering alternate uses for them. Waffle irons can make a great grilled cheese sandwich or sunny-side-up egg, for instance, and your coffee maker make a wonderful stand-in for a kettle to heat water for tea, soup, oatmeal or anything else that you just need to add hot water to.
If you are trying to lose weight or lower your cholesterol, try to decrease the amount of fat in your diet. Unnecessary fats are contained in butters and oils. Nonstick cooking sprays are a great substitute which ends up giving you the same result except in a healthy way, as opposed to the oil which is unhealthy. It is important to keep your items fresh, so always store your perishable items, sugars, flours, etc, in sealed, airtight bins. Keeping food fresh and bug-free is simple with these containers. These containers can be bought at just about any store. If you're tired of sauteing the garlic, only to have it burn, try slicing it into strips instead of mincing it. It is much less likely to burn that way and you can always cut it down into smaller pieces after you have finished the saute, if you need to.
TIP! After you have cooked a piece of food in the oven, you should give it several minutes to rest before serving. The last thing that you will want to do is serve any part of your meal that is too hot, which will ruin its overall quality for the person you are serving.
Make good use of leftovers by throwing together a wok full of tasty fried rice. Day old rice tastes best in stir fried rice because of its drier taste, but fresh rice will also work. Just add slightly less water than normal. Fry the meats and veggies in a bit of oil, then add the rice and season with soy sauce, garlic, ginger and other spices. Utilize these suggestions to build up your skills in the kitchen. Experiment with each of these ideas at least once. It is a great idea to practice these ideas in order to perfect your cooking techniques. You can quickly improve your culinary skill by utilizing these suggestions.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Lunch Time Musings of A 17 Year Old

There is a place that every child dreams of, one time that remains sacred, it’s the mention of this spot that itches at the minds of grade-schoolers, and is the vicinity where immature crushes, childish torments, and the realities of life slap each generation’s slew of youth in the face. Through the heavy scents of overcooked meat and the feel of the thin and soggy pieces of bread, reside the memories of the survivors of the public school system. Once, I too strode the orange carpeted halls of Griffin Creek Elementary, to make my way to the dirty blue linoleum patches and whitewashed outer reaches of the cafeteria, where I too—like the generations before me— left some of my childhood innocence behind.

Everyday my mom would make my lunch, this meant I didn’t have to wait in line for it, and in turn that meant I could get a good seat. Through the socialistic system the first grade employed, it was heavily recommended that we sit with our class. I always sat by my friends, and seeing as I was a thick glasses wearing Amazon girl (as I spent much of my youth viewing the tops of my peers’ heads) my friends were also—in some respects—strange. Together we sat at the head of the table and ate our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches like dainty queens and kings. For that, I earned an unnamed respect from my peers. On my blurry thrown I demanded fair treatment, once kissing a boy to prove that he was appreciated, once cutting my hair to match my tormented friend’s boy cut, and once searching though trash cans to find a missing watch.

The plastic tables and bouncy yellow cheese of the Griffin Creek Cafeteria are still like vivid colors of a Crayola set painted across my memories and dreams. I remember the Friday fifty cent ice creams where I unwittingly had my change pillaged from me. I am still haunted by the tiny red speck that sat high on a far wall, that everyone called Larry the Lost Gummy Bear, and the ghost stories spread by the older kids about the chocolate milk being cow’s blood (we still all drank it anyways). In order to preserve our eternal glory, we all had our turn carving our names in the green paint of the cabinets. The bloody knees, fistfights, and “no-run” tag games were no match for those twenty minutes of growing up. Everyday fighting the bullies and the bossies, acquiring new vocabulary words such as ‘rad’ and ‘crap’, having bouncy cheese contests, and attempting to schmooze the cafeteria ladies for the big piece of pizza became a part of life for the common grade-schooler. So now, where ever life decides to take us, we can all know that at one point all of us kids were on common ground.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Some New Year's Parenting Tips

Thoughtful parenting begins with the commitment to never stop learning new strategies to improve your parenting skills. What kind of parenting style you use is up to you, but every parenting style can be more effective with the addition of fresh ideas. Take a look at the practical advice below.

Often times it's easy to give a lot of attention to your kids when they are acting out. They demand attention through their negative behaviors at home and in public. In order to stem this trend of tantrums, start giving more energy to the positive moments. Feed into the desired behaviors instead of the discouraged behaviors, and watch your kids bask in the glow of confidence while their poor behavior subsides.

The best way to punish children is take away privileges. This will teach them that doing something they shouldn't do will cause them to have toys or maybe even the television taken away from them. Also, do not rule out putting your child in timeout. The general rule for timeout is one minute per age your child is.

TIP! To foster an environment where reading is encouraged, make sure a child is surrounded with books from a young age. For infants, have books with mirrors and textures that they can enjoy without language skills.

While having children will completely change your life it is important not to become obsessed with them. Most people will probably love your children as much as you do, but if your life starts to revolve around them you may find your friends become quite annoyed with you and your lack of attention.

Allow your child to share information with you free of interruption. Take the time to let your child talk to you in a quiet place, and always give your undivided attention. Encourage your child to come up with their own solutions to problems, but always be prepared to offer help if they need it. Once a child knows that their voice is heard, and their opinion matters, they will be much more likely to open up to you in difficult times.

Don't try to make your child grow up too early. There is a growing trend to allow little girls to wear makeup and provocative clothing from a young age, and this is encouraged in part by the entertainment industry. However, your daughter has many years ahead to be an adult so allow them to be a kid for as long as possible.

TIP! If your child is being bullied, talk to them about it. Have family members share their own experiences with bullying and how they handled it, and make sure to support them unconditionally.

If your child comes to you with a problem, help him think of some solutions instead of solving the problem for him. When you guide him in solving a problem, he will develop a very important skill which he will use again and again as he is growing up. Giving young children practice in solving their own problems will make them stronger individuals.

When reducing your child's television and video game time, make sure you are creating other fun activities to choose from. Play boardgames with your children; play outside with them; or go somewhere fun outside of the house, like a park or a play area. Whatever you do, make sure you provide options to your children.

When you are traveling with your baby, be sure to set up your room as soon as you arrive at your destination. The closer the set up is to your room at home, the more comfortable your baby will be. This will help keep things as calm as possible during your stay.

As mentioned above, no matter what parenting style you choose, you can make it more effective when you seek out new ideas. The key to thoughtful parenting is to recognize that you can always use fresh ideas to make sure your parenting skills are right for you and your child.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Making Christmas Memories

One thing we love to do on Christmas Eve is go through the local coffee hut, turn on our Christmas music and drive around looking at the Christmas lights. It's such a simple tradition but our children look forward to it every year. From the time they were just little ones drinking cocoa we have oohed and awed over the lights together.

Another simple tradition we have is baking cookies. These are the famous Spritz cookies everyone we know talks about. A perfect shortbread sugar cookie that we decorate and pass out to all our neighbors and friends. We always bake a plate full of goodies, tie a ribbon around it and ring the doorbell. It's a simple gesture but one that gets our children in the Christmas spirit of giving.

Creating your own family traditions should not be tedious and overwhelming for anyone. Even if it's having a family game night complete with popcorn, Christmas music and finishing it off with a Christmas movie, creating an ongoing tradition will make the best memories for you and your children.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

History of Thanksgiving for Kids

I think one thing we miss nowadays is teaching our children the history behind the holiday we celebrate. Thanksgiving is one of those holidays.
Below I have included several links to websites I think are great for kids and parents who want to explore the true reason we remember on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving - History. Com

What is Thanksgiving all about?

The First Thanksgiving

National Geographic Thanksgiving for Kids

Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What to do on a Fall Day

It's easy, It's free and It will Build lasting Memories~

Grab some rakes, a few great friends and a picnic lunch. Don't forget the hot cocoa. Taking an afternoon break down at the local park during fall is a wonderful way to spend a crisp fall afternoon.
Our local park leaves the leaves down for several weeks before they remove them just so families can come down and jump in the piles. The crisp air, and smell of dried maple leaves with come with lasting memories.
Don't forget your camera, you will want to get these printed for sure.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Harvest Chili

What is better on a cool fall day then a warm bowl of soup backed with all the flavors of fall. This is one of our families favorite fall dishes.

Harvest Chili

1 c onion chopped
1 c yellow bell pepper chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
2 15oz cans of black beans - rinsed
2 pounds chicken breasts, chopped
1 16oz can pure pumpkin
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
3 cups of chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low.

Recommended Side Dish - Crusty Garlic Bread and Apple Crisp

Shopping List
You will need, bell pepper, black beans, chicken, pumpkin, diced tomatoes, prepared crusty garlic bread and ingredients for apple crisp. You should have the other ingredients on hand.

Not sure about that secret ingredient? Pumpkin has such a mild flavor with is balanced beautifully in this chili. My children never even notice and its a great way to get some vitamin packed into this meal.