Wednesday, August 23, 2017

18 Healthy After School Snack Ideas

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When my children get home from school, they are often hungry. School takes a lot of mental focus and that can leave your child famished. My children get home only 1.5 hours before dinner time, however, so I am not good with my children coming home and eating away. A snack is great, but I want it to be healthy so if it does impact their dinner appetite, I at least feel good that the snack was healthy. I really want it to be small enough they will still eat dinner. What else? I want it to be easy. I want them to be able to eat it with little effort from me. I am about to be prepping dinner at this point, so I want quick and easy. So what are some good after school snack ideas?

After School Snack Ideas
  1. Smoothie (just be wary of the size of a smoothie. They are great, but a typical smoothie easily has 300 calories in it. While it is healthy, it is a lot of calories to have if you are close to dinner time)
  2. Fresh Fruit 
  3. Dried fruit
  4. Vegetable (I am pretty much okay with my children eating vegetables at any point in the day)
  5. Pickles (this gets its own mention because my kids love pickles. They have a ton of flavor and zero calories, so the child can feel like something was eaten and still be hungry for dinner! This can need to be paired with something else if there are real calories needed by your child to reenergize)
  6. Pretzels
  7. Popcorn
  8. Small "quesadilla". We always have some smaller tortillas on hand. I am okay with one of these being filled with cheese or peanut butter for a snack. 
    After School Snack Ideas
  9. Nuts
  10. Peanut butter spoon (just scoop up some peanut butter and eat away. Or use it as a dip for apple or celery slices)
  11. Granola
  12. Yogurt
  13. Crackers and cheese
  14. String cheese
  15. Energy bites/balls (there are a lot of recipes for this type of thing out there on the internet)
  16. Hummus (we aren't actually hummus eaters here, so this idea is one we don't eat)
  17. Chocolate-dipped bananas (just freeze, dip in melted chocolate, and freeze again. Use small bites of bananas with a toothpick stuck inside to make it easier)
  18. Something sweet! Every once in a while, it is fun to have something sweet. Cookies, cupcakes, rice krispie treats...whatever. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Kaitlyn Summary: 10.25 Years Old

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This is a summary for Kaitlyn from 10 years to 10.25 years old. Kaitlyn is an easy child. She was an angel baby and so far has continued to be an angel personality type as she has gotten older.

10 year old preteen girl information

I often talk about how Kaitlyn is my "picky" eater. I don't know if it is fair to call her picky because I think most of what seems picky is her response to having reflux--certain foods bring her pain and she doesn't like them. She does have issues with textures, too, though.

Kaitlyn continued her growth spurt, and it seemed to only increase. But that makes for basically about 6 months of 'growth spurt', so maybe it isn't that so much as as increased appetite because she is getting closer to teenager. The crazy thing to me is that Kaitlyn is going into fifth grade, and in fifth grade, I got to be the height I am and stopped growing. I don't think Kaitlyn will get and stay her final height, though. She could, but that isn't my guess.

Sleeping is great. Kaitlyn is a great sleeper.

School ended well. She is looking forward to school starting up again. One of her favorite things about school is her friends.

During this time, Kaitlyn had piano, soccer, and swimming. She has passed off all of her swimming levels, but during the summer, our teacher ran her through workouts during lessons. I want my kids to stay up on their swimming skills. I also want swim team to remain a possible option at all times, so I want the skills to stay strong. Swimming around just for fun won't necessarily do that.

Kaitlyn loves soccer. A lot. Her soccer team took first place in a soccer tournament this summer, which was super exciting for them!

Kaitlyn did a short dance camp this summer to keep her dance skills up-ish. With her having an interest in theater, she needs to be able to dance.

She also did a rock climbing camp. That was her very favorite camp she has ever done. She was nervous because she hadn't been rock climbing before. She was doing it with McKenna, who is a really good rock climber. She admitted she worried she would be embarrassed about her little sister being better than she. But she worked through that emotion and accepted it would just be true. A great quality Kaitlyn has is perseverance. She is always willing to work to get good at something. She worked! And she improved immensely and now she loves to rock climb.

Here is her summer schedule:

Wake up, eat breakfast, get ready.
Outside time.
Chore time.
12:00 lunch
Free time.
5:00 dinner. Then time with family.
8:30 in bed

Related Posts:

Monday, August 21, 2017

How To Easily Get Your Child To Do What You Say

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On our recent trip to New York City as a family (follow me on Instagram for the pics and details), we did a lot of walking. Lots and lots. As we went along day after day, Brinley, who just turned five, often despaired about how tired she was and how she couldn't make it another minute walking. Because my husband is as strong as he is, he would just swoop her up to his shoulders and haul her around. He didn't love it, but he didn't want to try to reason with a tired and emotional five year old (she hasn't quite left emotional fours behind her, especially not when tired).

How To Easily Get Your Child To Do What You Say

One evening, toward the end of our week there, we decided to try out a pizza place on Prince Street. We had been doing things on the south end of Manhattan, and this place was kind of on the way back to where we were staying (with some walking and subway transfers). Once we got there, however, we saw it was one of those place in NYC where you don't eat there because there is no seating. We decided rather than search for a suitable place to eat as a family close by, we would haul the pizza back to where we were staying and just eat there. 

The only potential trouble was that my husband would be carrying two pizzas Uptown and around the subaways while a tired little Brinley at the end of the day was left to me. I am not strong enough to haul her around for a long time--let's remember she is five.

But I wasn't worried.

Brinley happily walked every step of our journey home herself, with no whining nor complaining. 

How is that?

I used my mom super powers. 

My husband was super jealous.

So what are my super powers?

Distraction. Oh distraction, what a great parenting tool you are. I have talked about how distraction works as a discipline tool. It is very effective as a discipline tool, indeed. 

This moment was about prevention, not discipline. I didn't just want to prevent an emotional breakdown when I couldn't carry Brinley. I wanted to prevent Brinley from ever even thinking about asking me to carry her. I didn't want her mind to go there. So I distracted her.

I took her little hand in mine as we started walking and immediately said, "Brinley, I am going to say a letter and I want you to tell me what sound it makes." 

We went through the whole alphabet. 

"Now I want you to tell me a word that starts with the letter I say."

By the time we were done with that round, we were at the subway station waiting to board. While we waited, she did a game for me about colors.

How To Easily Get Your Child To Do What You SayAs we exited the subway, we had a bit to walk. This time, I asked Brinley a series of questions about colors. "Brinley, can you find 10 items that are blue?" I went through all of the colors that were prevalent. I changed up the number--there isn't a lot of pink going on, so I asked for five pink items when I got to that color. I kept it challenging enough that she would be engaged and not thinking about not wanting to walk and yet easy enough that she wouldn't get frustrated and give up on the game. At one point, Brayden said, "Mom, do you realize every color you ask her for is everywhere when you ask for it?" I gave him a knowing look and he got it. "Ohhhh!" I didn't ask for pink until we were walking past a lot of pink flowers. The idea here was to distract and prevent.

Another thing we did that night was play would you rather. You just ask if the person would rather to one of two options. They options are usually extreme (Would you rather eat a cupcake with caterpillar legs as sprinkles, or...). Kids love that game and it is one you can play anytime anywhere. You just need your imagination.

Distraction is a seasoned mom trick and one you can easily add to your toolbox even with your first child. You don't have to just say, "Just do it." You can say, "What animal makes this sound?" as you go about doing what needs to be done.

 Distraction as a Discipline Tool - click to read

Friday, August 18, 2017

OGIO Layover Bags {Friday Finds}

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If you follow me on Instagram, you know we just got back from a family trip to New York City. Before we left, we decided we needed to get some new bags that can be carried on the plane. When we fly with our children, the last thing we want to do when we get off the plane is go hang out at baggage claim waiting for our bags to make it there. We want to exit the plane and exit the airport as quickly as possible. This post contains affiliate links.

Great carry on bag for traveling

All of the girls have duffel bags we bought way back when we took our trip to southern California that work well as carry on baggage (and they are cute. We get compliments all the time). They aren't perfection because they can't roll, but size-wise, they are great. Nate and I each needed something small enough and yet big enough. Our New York trip was 8 days, so I wasn't sure I could fit everything in a carry-on sized bag. 

We did some research and settled on these OGIO International layover bags. They rated very well, they are about as big as you can use, they roll, and the brand is one I am familiar with and already love. 

These were awesome! They held almost everything I needed for the week (Brinley's bag held my blow-dryer and jacket and Nate's backpack held a bag of my toiletries). They are very nice quality. They were easy to use. We even strapped the girls' duffel bags to these as we walked around, so we didn't have to carry their duffel bags (Brayden used a smaller carry-on bag we have that is a roller, so we had three to hold the three duffel bags. Brayden's couldn't hold it without tipping over, but it worked well enough for walking the airport and the streets). This was super helpful as we made some subway transfers at stations without escalators nor elevators on our way back to JFK (we did an Uber into the city, but by the end of the week we decided to ride the subway back to the airport. I am not sure if we would duplicate that decision if given it again, but that isn't the point). I was able to pick my bag with the duffel bag strapped to it and hike the stairs. 

The next time we fly as a family, we will get another one or two of these for the children and work our collection up. I like the OGIO with the duffel bag combo because the younger ones wouldn't be able to maneuver their own roller-bag well and I can't do two. So while the duffel bag isn't perfect long-term, it is perfect now. 

As a bonus side-note, we have this backpack from SwissGear that works so very well for traveling. We have had it for years. I noticed a very large percentage of the people in New York had it, also, and it has 4.5 star rating with over five thousand reviewers on Amazon, so I think it is a safe bet if you are looking for a backpack to travel with. My husband usually uses it to go back and forth to work when we aren't traveling.

For more of my Friday Finds, go here. For more travel tips, see:

 Friday Finds--Great products for your family!

3 great bags for traveling with children

Thursday, August 17, 2017

27 Books Worth Owning: From Board Books to Chapter Books

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I love to read. I have always loved to read. I remember fonldy going to the library and checking out 50 books at a time, then laying on the floor with my stack of books next to me (just imagine the late fee on that many books! Yikes! Yes, that happened).

27 Books Worth Owning: From Board Books to Chapter Books

I ended up majoring in English, and now that I have children, we read a whole lot. I mean, a really ridiculous amount if you can call reading ridiculous. To give you an idea, every month students turn in how many minutes they read that month, and while some children are in the hundreds, mine are in the thousands. So yes, we read a lot.

We also own a lot of books. I am a sucker for books. My favorite thing is when the teachers send home book orders. I sit and slowly look through each book order. We also have a used book store here in town where you can fill a grocery bag full of books for 7 we have a lot of books in our home. We also are at any given time maxed out at how many books we can have checked out from the library. One day when Brayden was seven, he asked, "Why do they limit how many books you can take home?" and I replied, "Because people like us would just take the whole library home with us."

If you are buying books, it can be expensive. There is also a space limit on how many books you can have in your home. Sadly (though the Kindle makes it possible to own a lot of books without taking up much space!). Even with limitless space, we do not have limitless budgets. So what are real treasures? What are the books worth owning--books you can be pretty sure will be loved for a long time and by multiple children?

To ask me to pick a favorite book is pretty much like asking me to pick a favorite child. And I only have four children--so sifting through the thousands of books is pretty much impossible. However, as I sit and think about it, there are books that come to mind that are just fabulous. Books that when I am at the library with my friend I pull them from the shelf and tell her she must check them out and read them to her children because they are too good to miss. There are most definitely more books than you see here that are worth the read and worth adding to your personal library. Here is a narrowed down list--I limited myself because otherwise I might list the entire library :)

Great Books for Baby
  1. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise-Brown. She has many great books.
  2. Pajama Time! by Sandra Boynton. She also has many great books.
  3. That's Not My...series. Our favorite is That's Not My Puppy.... These are touch and feel books, and have many subjects to suit your child's interest. Many animals, princesses, vehicles, etc.
  4. Counting Kisses by Karen Katz. Katz also has many great books, including fun lift-the-flap books.
  5. Brown Bear & Friends Board Books by Eric Carle. This was the ultimate favorite of my third child.
  6. Nursery Rhymes. Reading experts agree that reading nursery rhymes to babies and children is great for teaching language. Our favorite nursery rhyme book is Lucy Cousins' Book of Nursery Rhymes.
Great Picture Books
I have noticed that the really great picture books end up having sequels. Some sequels are just as good as the original; some are just good. 
  1. The Pout-Pout Fish be Deborah Diesen. This is an all-time favorite. There is also a sequel. 
  2. Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis. There are many books following the original. A favorite for boys is Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy
  3. David Goes To School by David Shannon. David Shannon has many great books that kids just love. He has a great talent for making children laugh. A great picture book for older children is Too Many Toys, and if you can get the book on CD, you will not be sorry.
  4. My Truck is Stuck! by Kevin Lewis. This was my sons favorite for a very long time. It has great rhymes. 
  5. Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann. There are many that follow this, and they are all great. This book is such a classic favorite of my girls. My son even ejoys it when he is around when it is read :)
  6. Fancy Nancy by Robin Preiss Glasser. There are a lot of Fancy Nancy books. These book are great at expanding vocabulary for children.
  7. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems. Mo Willems has many great children's books, including sequels to this very popular book.
  8. Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy E. Shaw. This book has great rhymes and repitition. It also has sequels.
  9. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. 
  10. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. This is such a classic it almost seems wrong to have a list without it.
  11. Favorite characters--there are many favorite characters out there. Winnie the Pooh, Clifford...they are favorites because they are great. 
Great Chapter Books
I find chapter books to be tricky. We have read books from lists that are favorites of many that I find I don't appreciate so much (like Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus--which we read right before kindergarten started. Bad idea).
  1. Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. These are great read-alouds and are also great for those beginning readers (though the reading level is set at 3-4 grade). My aunt, a recently retired Elementary School teacher, told me these books have been great for getting children to
    27 Books Worth Owning: From Board Books to Chapter Books
    be excited about reading books.
  2. The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. I love this series. It is so clean. It has suspense and yet has good morals. The children in the story are kind to each other.
  3. Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. This is such a classic. It has elements that appeal to all types--adventure, princesses, talking animals...and the stories are fabulous.
  4. How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell is a great series. My son loves this. It is quite different from the movie. 
  5. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingles Wilder
  6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1) by J.K. Rowling. The Harry Potter Series is a great one that is responsible for the love of reading among thousands today.
  7. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks. I loved this as a child, and my son loved the series. He was fascinated with these books. I will say that there was some editing I did as I read it aloud to my son. 
  8. Matilda by Ronald Dahl. Series are great and children can become attached, but you don't only want to read series books. Children become used to the the writing patterns of authors, so reading book after book by the same author doesn't expand comprehension and vocabulary like reading from various authors. Matilda is a classic stand alone.
  9. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This was one of my personal favorites as a child.
  10. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. This book was just fascinating to my son.
Because I am a sucker for books, I have many, many book list posts. If you want to delve deeper into lists, check out these posts below.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Moana Birthday Party Ideas

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Brinley recently had her first birthday party with friends. She wanted to play in the backyard with water. She also loves Moana, so a Moana birthday party was the perfect fit! Here are the details from the party we did, along with additional ideas that we didn't do. This post contains affiliate links.

Moana Birthday Party Ideas

One of the first steps for a birthday party is the invitations. I like to create mine in Canva these days. It is a free program. You can search the Internet for Moana clipart to use in your invitation.

Games are probably the most important part to a birthday party. You want the children to be focused with things to do, not running around like crazy. 

For our party, we played:
  • Pin the Heihei on the Canoe: I wanted a "pin" game, but I wanted it friendly for four and five year olds. This was perfect! The kids could totally put Heihei in the wrong spot and it was just funny because Heihei was all over the place in the movie. Kaitlyn drew a bunch of Heiheis from the tutorial from Art Hub for Kids. McKenna and Brinley cut them out. I laminated them. Then Nate drew a canoe on a piece of poster board. 
  • Moana BINGO: I was so glad this had already been created by someone. I got a Moana Bingo printout set from GirlLovesGlam
  • Tamatoa Shiny Slime. I found this fun idea from AstheBunnyHops for Tamatoa Shiny Slime. I used a different recipe for slime, but added the shiny glitter. I bought these snack cups from Amazon to store the slime in when the kids were done. Before the party started, I printed out the labels from As the Bunny Hops and glued them to the lids.

    My recipe for slime was 1/4 cup liquid starch, 1/4 cup glue, glitter (I used a tablespoon, but I would half that next time). Mix in a baggie, then transfer to the snack cup when done. 
  • Water Play (free play in the sprinklers, kiddie pools, slip and slide, etc.)
Pin the Heihei on the canoe party game

Other ideas I thought of:
  • Play "hot potato" with the Heart of Tefiti
  • Musical Chairs
  • Freeze dance
  • Limbo
  • Color pictures
  • Make edible sand art
  • Sponge water fight
  • Volcano eruption
  • Reading of Moana (I always like to have some books on hand in case we need to fill some time at the end of a party)
  • Face Painting (we had this planned, but Kaitlyn was my face painter and got sick so I didn't want her touching the kids. It worked out because there wasn't much time! It isn't the best idea for a water party, either).
I don't typically do a lot of food at a birthday party. We usually just do cake and ice cream unless we are having a movie night. I plan parties between meals, and our parties are 1.5-2 hours long. 

We had planned to also have homemade snow cones at the party, but we ran out of time. 

Party Favors
Party favors are a great way to say a little thank you for coming to the party. 

We sent each child home with Tamatoa Shiny Slime and a Lei. I had also considered bubbles and Moana drinking cups

We don't go crazy with decorations. We got some grass to decorate the table, some table clothes, and hung some balloons. Brinley thought it look fabulous! Some people love decorating for parties. I do not, and so far my children have been fully satisfied with the level of decorating I do. 

Party Flow
For this party, I wanted the kids to be able to play in the water at the end of the party so we weren't eating ice cream dripping wet. This was our order:
  1. Pin the Heihei on the Canoe
  2. Moana BINGO
  3. Tomatoa Slime
  4. Presents
  5. Cake and Ice Cream
  6. Water Play
That easily filled our time! We went for 1.5 hours and could have done two hours easily. This was the easiest party we have done at home for our kids. 

You can find Moana party supplies on Amazon here, including pre-made invitations and thank you cards. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

McKenna Summary: 8.25 Years Old

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This is a summary for McKenna from 8-8.25 years old.

McKenna Summary: 8.25 Years Old
Eating is the same as always. McKenna eats well. 

Sleep is good. She still needs a lot of sleep. I would guess she will be that way for life. 

Some of this period was during the school year. School was great! 

McKenna had dance going on. She loves to dance and loves to perform on stage. She played rec soccer. She had piano lessons. 

McKenna was on the swim team, but wanted to play competitive soccer. We only allow one competitive team at a time (unless the seasons don't overlap, but swimming is year round). So she had to decide. She went with soccer. She has been practicing with a competitive team. Their season will start in the Fall. 

This summer, she did a rock climbing camp. Rock climbing is one of her very favorite activities and ever since it ended, she has been talking about wanting to do another one.

As I looked over Kaitlyn's summary for this age, I was reminded that Kaitlyn had some friend drama going on already at this age. I am so glad that McKenna thus far has not had drama with friends. Her friends bicker at times, but there isn't any manipulation or anything. I am so glad to avoid that issue for a while longer!

McKenna loves to be active. She always wants to be moving and using her muscles. She also loves reading. Nancy Clancy (affiliate link) is a favorite book series right now. She loves to play board games, and she often plays Sleeping Queens (affiliate link) with Brinley. 

Here is her summer schedule:

Wake up, eat breakfast, get ready.
Outside time.
Chore time.
12:00 lunch
Free time.
5:00 dinner. Then time with family.
8:30 in bed

Monday, August 14, 2017

How To Help Your Child Work Through Emotions

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I have never been an emotional person. I live by logic. When my daughters started getting old enough to have irrational, emotional meltdowns, I would stare, utterly frozen. If my husband was home, I always tagged him and told him he was up.  

As time has gone by, I have learned how to respond to emotions, but it took time and observing the master at work. I asked my husband to share his tricks for dealing with high emotions so any of you who are not naturals can work on it, also! Here it is:

How To Help Your Child Work Through Emotions

by Nate Plowman

When Val asked me if I would write a post on dealing with emotional kids, several years ago, I told her that I would be happy to do it and immediately started pulling together my thoughts on the subject. The more I thought about it the more I questioned whether or not I was qualified to write such a post. Val always has such excellent, informative, and well thought out advice in her posts. I am less of the "study it out thoroughly and make a plan" type and more of a "shoot from the hip" type. With that said, I've put together my thoughts, but they are just that, my thoughts. I'm not an expert on the subject but I hope that you will find them useful in some way. My qualifications on the subject matter are that I was an only son with three sisters (one older and two younger) and that my mom trained me to be sensitive towards women. Additionally, along with my wife, I have three daughters and one son (he is the oldest). Typically girls tend to be more emotional than boys so having so many women in my life has helped give me some experience in how to understand and respond to emotion. 

I've gathered my thoughts in to six bits of advice that will hopefully be helpful when you are trying to help an emotional child work through their emotions: 

1. Let Them Feel: Emotions are very real, especially to the person that is feeling them. From an outsider's perspective, strong emotions (especially from a child) can often seem misplaced or unmerited. A natural response can be to try and subdue or eliminate the emotions as quickly as possible. A common way of doing this is by trying to "solve the problem" causing the emotion either by downplaying it's significance or offering a logical solution. Unfortunately emotions typically don't have an "easy" button that just makes everything all better. Often they need to be felt. Rather than immediately offering up solutions, just listen. Let them have some time to feel what they are feeling. Having someone willing to listen to them will go a lot further towards helping them feel loved and comforted versus someone telling them that they shouldn't feel the way they do because it isn't logical or doesn't make sense. 

2. Show Understanding: We ALL want to feel understood. It is one of the ways that we feel love and acceptance. Emotions can often be difficult to understand. We all react differently to situations because we are different people. In order to show understanding you have to gain understanding first. In order to gain understanding, you have to observe and listen. I also think that asking relevant questions helps create understanding as well. To show understanding doesn't mean that you have to fully understand every facet of their emotion, It just means that you have to try. Sharing/Communicating what you do understand will help them feel understood and can bring additional communication. For example, "I know that you are scared," or "I can tell that you are upset," can help you open the door to getting to the real cause of the emotion, which will also help them recognize and deal with the emotion. 

3. Give Reassurance: Sometimes all that we need to hear is that everything is going to be okay. Emotions can easily cloud out everything else and make us feel that our whole life or our happiness depends solely on a single moment or experience. Some reassurance that everything is going to work out and that we will be okay can provide the a much needed lift to make it through. Reassurance also communicates faith and trust in someone. It is empowering to know that someone else believes in you. 

4. The Power of Touch: Touch is such a powerful thing. It can communicate connection, support, and love in ways that words sometimes just can't. Don't under-estimate the power of a hand on a shoulder, a hug, pat on the back, or a hand hold. When confronted with strong emotions sometimes the power of a soft touch can bring them "back to reality" and push back the tide of emotions that is threatening to sweep them away. 

5. Show Love and Support: "I love you and I am here for you." Emotions are often driven be fear of some kind. Fear of the unknown, fear of loss, fear of inadequacy, fear of failure, fear of pain. You get the idea. Knowing that they aren't in it alone can help to abate their fears and check the emotions that are being driven by fear. Also, love casts out fear. Communicating your love to them can help to dispel their fears as well. Especially with children, if they know that you will be there to support them in any way that you can  ("I am right here with you" or "we will do this together"), their trust in you will help them have more confidence to face their fears. 

How To Help Your Child Work Through Emotions6. Give Encouragement: "You can do this. You got this. I know you can handle this." Encouragement is closely related to reassurance but is different in that it focuses more on communicating your faith in them and their ability to handle the situation that they are faced with. It is all about empowerment and strength. Often in life our greatest personal growth comes from our biggest challenges and trials. That growth comes from within and can only happen by personally experiencing the trial. As we face the trial, we are that ones that grow stronger. That is not easy to do yourself or to see your child have to go through as a parent. We have infinite potential and can achieve amazing things if we are willing to tackle the obstacles that come our way. As children of God, we have an incredible ability to progress, adapt, and overcome. We just have to keep trying and not give up. Knowing that someone else believes in us can often give us that added strength to be able to push through a difficult trial/situation and make it to the point of growing stronger. 

After reviewing these 6 bits of advice I would like to make it clear that I don't think there is any magic formula to follow when dealing with an emotional child. I don't follow a specific checklist when confronted with emotions from my daughters. You aren't going to have time to pull out your list of ideas and read through it before dealing with an emotional child or situation. In reality, I just try and stay calm, supportive, and loving. Situations can be very dynamic and we can be confronted with emotions that we are surprised by or not prepared to handle. I will be the first to admit that I do not always respond in the best way and then later have to go back, apologize, and try again. In putting together this list, I had plenty of time to sit down and think through what I feel is helpful ideally. I'm sure the list is incomplete but hopefully these ideas will help in some way. Maybe only one of them will be helpful or all of them. Maybe they will lead you to other methods of helping an emotional child. Good luck. We are all learning right alongside our children. We are all human and can only try to do our best. 

Related Posts:

 How to respond to your emotional preschooler

Friday, August 11, 2017

Essential Oils for Back To School

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Going back to school can be super exciting, but it can also bring up a lot of other emotions. One of my favorite things with essential oils is how they can help with your emotions and how the scent of the smells can have a strong impact on you. Here are some great oils for back to school time.

5 Essential oils for back to school

Wild Orange for Anxiety
Wild Orange for Anxiety

There can be a lot of anxiety with school, especially at the beginning of the year as first day jitters are at a high. Anxiety can also creep up on a test day. You simply drop some of the oil into your child's hands, have her rub her hands together, and then she can smell the wild orange. This can also work for any moms with first day jitters :). This scent just helps you feel happy. Buy yours here.

InTune for Focus
InTune for Focus

Your child might have a hard time focusing at times. That is when inTune comes in handy! This is a roll on blend of Amyris, Patchouli, Frankincense, Lime, Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood, and Roman Chamomile. This blend is made especially for focus. Buy yours here.

Peppermint and Wild Orange for Homework Time
Peppermint for Homework Time

Peppermint is one of my all-time favorite oils. I use it all the time. For the purposes of this post, peppermint and wild orange are great for homework time. Peppermint can invigorate you. They can both help you focus in. Peppermint is a great mood-lifter, so some peppermint oil and a diffuser might be a nice back to school gift for your child's teacher to help her get through those stressful days.   Buy yours here.

On Guard for Immunity
On Guard for Immunity

When school starts back up, the germs start coming back home. On Guard works very well for fighting germs. I diffuse that baby like crazy and rub it on feet whenever someone is sick at my house. It is so popular with doTerra that they have a whole line of On Guard stuff. Oils, beadlets and softgels, cleaner, hand wash, laundry detergent, toothpaste, and cough drops (fair warning, I find the cough drops to be absolutely disgusting. Some people love them!).  Buy yours here.

Serenity for Sleeping
Serenity for Sleeping

Sometimes it can be hard to sleep at night, and that can bring anxiety when school is early the next day. Serentiy is great for those nights your child can't sleep or you just want your child to sleep well that night. I used it while camping a couple of times this summer and it helped me actually sleep those nights (I really should just use it every night while camping). You can diffuse this into the room at night. You can rub it on the feet and/or on the spine. I also always have my kids smell it straight from the bottle.  Buy yours here.


A great way to use essential oils for moods is to diffuse. This is my favorite diffuser I just bought off Amazon. We own six of these at our house! That is how much I love them. This is an inexpensive diffuser that you can try out to see if you like diffusing oils. Affiliate link --->

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

8 Ways to Stay Productive as a Work-at-Home-Mom {Guest Post}

All links to Amazon are affiliate links.
8 Tips Work-at-Home Mom

1. Work On the Go

Always be ready to do some work when you're out and about.  Take your laptop and charger, notebook and pencil, whatever you need to get some work done if you find yourself with some free time while you're out.  I like to take my laptop to the park or chick-fil-a and work while the kids play.  Anything I can use my iPhone for, I do.  Answer emails, type notes, write blog posts (like this one).  I answer emails while waiting in lines, make phone calls while driving in the car, and write blog posts while patting the baby to sleep.  All about multi-tasking!  Something that is also helpful for me is taking pictures of info I need.  I have a bunch of files at home that I can't easily bring with me, but if I think I might need info from one of my files I just snap a picture of it with my phone.

2. Childcare

Get yourself some childcare, mama.


Sign up for a gym membership that includes childcare.  Get your workout in and spend some time working before or after your workout.  This is much easier when you have older kids that only nap once a day.  I'm finding this impossible with Everly because she naps so often, but as soon as she's down to one or two naps a day, I'm going to start doing this again!  It kills two birds with one stone!

Drop-off Daycare

Find a drop off daycare in your area.  You can sign your kids up ahead of time and then you're free to drop them off whenever you need to and pay for the time they are there.  Genius!

Kid Swap

Find a friend who is also a work-at-home mama and help each other out.  Swap babysitting so that each of you has some kid free time to get work done.

Use Your Husband

When your husband gets home from work let him take care of everything so you can work.  One night a week or so I hand off everything to Gary right when he gets home so that I can work uninterrupted for the rest of the night.  This buys me a few hours at the end of the day where I don't have to worry about anything else or anyone else (except for nursing Everly, can't hand that off to dad lol).

3. Time Blocking

Try to set aside large chunks of time for specific things.  I like to set aside a whole day of naptimes for working on something specific, like adoptions.  I don't do anything else during naptimes except work on the task I've set aside to accomplish.  Working in 1-2 hour chunks isn't the easiest or most efficient way to get things done, but when you're working from home that's usually the maximum amount of time you have to yourself so you gotta do what you gotta do!

4. Prioritize

When you're a work-at-home mama, prioritizing is KEY!  You have such little amounts of time to work with that you really need to prioritize well.  I always ask myself, "If I only get one thing done today, what should it be?" and then I work on that thing first until it's done.  That way if it's the only thing I get done that day, I'll be happy!  I usually pick the thing with the earliest deadline or the thing that is stressing me out the most.

5. Plan Accordingly

What I mean by this is think about what you want to get done and how long each task will take, and then match that task with a naptime or two that will last the same amount of time.  So if you have a bigger project that might take a couple hours and the baby's first nap of the day is the longest, work on that project during the first nap and save smaller projects for the shorter naps.

6. Deadlines

Give yourself deadlines.  My job naturally has deadlines (court hearing dates) so that helps!  But I try to have everything prepared for each event (hearing, meeting, adoption, etc.) 3-7 days in advance.  That gives me time to fix any mistakes or take care of any last minute issues that may arise.  Early deadlines help so much because even if you miss it due to sickness, toddler tantrums, or life, you can still meet your deadline.

7. To Do List

Have a running list of things you need to get done that is dedicated to work tasks.  That way when it's time to get work done you can easily pick something to accomplish from the list without being distracted by all the other things on your to do list.  Also, to do lists are a organizational staple.  They help you stay on top of things so nothing falls through the cracks!

8. Calendar Everything

Write everything down on your calendar.  And I mean everything.  Someone is swinging by to drop something off?  Calendar.  Friends coming over?  Calendar.  Husband has a work dinner?  Calendar.  Every single tiny event should be on your calendar so you don't miss a thing.  I don't know what I'd do without my calendar.  Having everything written down on my calendar helps me pick the best days and times to plan on getting work done.  I usually pick a day that I have nothing at all going on so there's as few distractions as possible.

I hope these tips help you stay productive as a work-at-home mama!  Have any of your own tips to stay productive?  I'd love to hear them so drop them in the comments!

8 Tips to Stay Productive as a Work-at-Home Mom

Natasha is a work-at-home lawyer and mama to 4 kids acquired through adoption and IVF - Laurel (7), Bennett (5), Christopher (2), and Everly (3 months).  She blogs at Let's Be Brave.

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