Any links to Amazon are affiliate links. '

A Very Merry Christmas

I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas wherever you are this year. I hope it can be as stress free as possible and that you can enjoy it. I hope you can take time to reflect on the reason for the season, Jesus Christ. Not only His birth, but His life and ressurection also.

I thank you all for your comments and support of this blog. I love to hear from you.

I wanted to let you know that I will be taking next week off. Regular posting will recommence January 3. I know--I go 2.5 years with no breaks and then take two in one year! Good job me. I will still be answering questions, but not posting. I hope you have a lovely Christmas and holiday season!

I also wanted to point out some posts that might help you navigate the Christmas season and holidays:

Why It is So Important for Parents to Keep Promises to Their Children

The last post I wrote from the book Parenting the Strong-Willed Child was on Building Positive Self- Esteem. I left one important thing out of that post, and that is because I wanted to dedicate an entire post to the topic. That important thing is keeping promises. Forehand and Long state on page 209 that an important aspect for building positive self-esteem is don't make promises you can't keep.
Why It is So Important for Parents to Keep Promises to Their Children

It is difficult for a child to be told something will happen over and over only to never (or rarely) have it come to fruition. All that teaches the child is 1) don't trust people and 2) never get your hopes up.

Yes, sometimes you will promise something and for whatever reason, it won't be able to happen. I think that is all fine and even healthy. It is good to learn to deal with disappointment. When these times happen, I think it is important to explain to the child why it can't happen and apologize for it. I don't think these rare instances will emotionally scar a child.

It does emotionally scar a child, however, if the promises are broken more often than kept. Whether you subscribe to the idea of "self-esteem" or not, I think it is clear that being raised under this being a generality is not good for the psyche. 

So what can you do to avoid broken promises? I think you need to be honest from the beginning. "We are going to try to go to the Fire Station Monday. We will go unless something happens to prevent us from going." This is an example from our life a couple of months ago. Our friend is the fire chief and we planned to go get a tour of the fire stations. I am, however, quite careful about making promises, so I was sure to explain that it wasn't a for sure deal. I was glad I did because Sunday, a house in our community burnt all the way to the ground. The fire fighters were busy watching the ashes Monday, so there was no tour for us. Our children were disappointed, but understood the situation. 

So when your children ask you if you can do XYZ, don't commit to it unless you intend to fully follow through. Again, I think the occasional inability to keep a promise is not going to be damaging. I think our kids would have been fine and understanding even if I had promised we would go to the fire station no matter what. 

Another idea is when you do have to break a promise, explain the reason for it as I mentioned above. If your child is old enough to be disappointed about something, he is old enough to understand extenuating circumstances. 

A third idea is never tell your children you are going to do something until you are on your way :). This can work, but I personally think half the fun of anything is the anticipation for it, so I do like to let them know ahead of time. 

So, say what you mean. Mean what you say. Only promise if you intend to keep it. It is better to say "I don't know" and not do it than "Yes! For sure!" and not do it. If you are an example of someone who keeps their word, it will be all that more likely that your child will grow up to keep his or her word.


Poll Results: Did you drop the dreamfeed (DF) first or move to a 4 hour schedule first?

Dropped the DF first
  162 (48%)
Moved to 4 hour first
  119 (35%)
Never did DF
  54 (16%)

Votes so far: 335 


Reminder: You can leave comments on poll results posts if you would like to add to the poll after it has closed. This would be helpful for those who have more than one child, those whose children have reached certain ages after a poll closed, and those who didn't visit the blog while that poll was open. To find closed polls, click on the poll results link above

Childwise Principle Two: Leadership First, Relationship Later

On Becoming Childwise: Parenting Your Child from 3-7 Years

"Childwise Priciple #2: Use the strength of your leadership early on and the strength of your relationship later" On Becoming Childwise page 50).

There are a lot of things related to parenting that we do based on faith and trust--especially when following Babywise principles. Teaching a baby to sleep on her own is not easy. It takes months before you really see the full benefit and feel sure all of that effort was worth it. 

Guiding your child and setting limits for the young pre-toddler is far from easy. It takes months of redirections and "that's a no" before things start to ease up at all. It usually gets much worse before it gets any better. But one day, sure enough, you start to see the benefits from all of that work. 

Doing structured activities like blanket time and independent play can sometimes require effort and patience before they are instituted. You really don't realize the benefits of these activities until your child is at an age of comparison--usually Kindergarten--to other children and you see plain as day that your child has greatly benefited.

Similarly, reading to your child each day does not produce overnight results. Your six month old will not be showing the intellectual benefits of this regular activity. That comes much later.

What about potty training? There are few things more stressful with toddlers/preschoolers. Living on faith. And hope.

This Childwise principle is another one of those things that require faith and trust.

You start life off with leading by your authority. Your child does what you say. You govern your child. As your child gets older, your influence governs your child. 

Consider--imagine--the difference in my presence in the life of Brayden, Kaitlyn, and McKenna. Take something simple like playing with friends. With Brayden, he is at a point where I can trust him to play with friends for short periods without my direct supervision. He can play at friends' houses and can play at our house without me in the room. He is of course still young enough that I check on him often and talk with him afterward about things if needed, but he doesn't need me sitting there saying, "You need to share!"

Kaitlyn does not quite have that freedom. She can be at friends' houses for a short period. She can play with friends at home. When she does, I sit within ear shot of what is going on, but in a different room. I interfere if I feel like I need to. I pull Kaitlyn out of the playing situation if she needs to be reminded of how to play nicely.

McKenna does not go play at friends' houses without me. If she is playing "with" a friend, I am with her, telling her things like, "take turns" and "share" and "that's a no" and of course, "thank you! That was very nice." She still needs immediate supervision during social situations so she can learn how to behave correctly. She is governed by my leadership, while Brayden is governed by my influence. He has spent several years being trained and taught and is able to assume some personal freedom.

Much of this idea has yet to be realized for me. I am seeing some of the influence side, but the biggest part happens in the teen years according to Childwise. So until then, I will press forward with faith and trust that what I am doing will lead to my child choosing the right when I am not around to lead him or her to it.


Last Day to Vote on the Poll

The current poll is


The voting will close Tuesday around 3 or 4 in the afternoon MST, so get your vote in!

Value Learning

In this post, guest blogger Becca perfectly explains the purpose for having some structured learning in your day while laying out some simple steps to make it happen. Becca has a great blog full of ideas for structured learning. Visit: to check it out!


How many of us have watched in amazement at what our little ones are capable of learning in an astoundingly short amount of time?  Plain and simple, our kids are geniuses.  They’re soaking up knowledge all day whether reading at the library or playing in the dirt.  They absorb everything and never seem to reach a maximum retention level.  I’m guessing you’re all nodding your heads in agreement.

It’s not just mental development either.  I’m amazed at how quickly their motor skills progress.  Think about it, it wasn’t too long ago they were waking themselves up from that precious nap because somebody whacked them in the nose.  Isn’t it impressive how quickly they move from wildly roaming appendages to detailed, fine motor skills?  High fives, dialing a phone, digging for candy in your purse, picking their noses, how fast they learn!

So why structure learning activities into their day when learning is taking place naturally?  I think that’s the most prevalent question we hear when it comes to learning activities.

  • Without direction, their information absorption is haphazard and inefficient.  There’s little order to it, making it difficult for them to successfully build upon their knowledge over time.  There will come a point where frustration takes hold.  As a teacher I saw this repeatedly, students who rely on memorization to succeed.  They’ve never learned to process information.  They struggle immensely with higher order thinking skills.  We can begin that process even with our toddlers.
  • We teach them how to learn.  We don’t leave them to learn on their own. We can provide our little ones with order and direction so that knowledge means something, so they build upon it efficiently, so frustration is held at bay and they can remain engaged when learning whether at age 3, 10 or 20.  As in every other area of their lives, we have so much to offer them.  And it’s not hard to accomplish.

    Pushing that car down the hallway for the millionth time today does include aspects of learning for any 20 month old.  BUT, arranging a road with dips and valleys or turns and stop signs gives further direction to their play.  They still have a blast, but their gross motor skills, fine motor skills, spatial understanding, and life skills are now being encouraged far more than before.  We have offered them a greater opportunity to develop.  Sit down with them and engage in active conversation as you play together and you’ve now provided help processing the new experience.  They begin to learn directional words like left and right or the purpose of a stop sign, patience while one car waits so another can pass and even social skills.  Simply verbalizing all these things brings order to the play, helps their brains process more quickly and as a bonus, adds more fun to their play.  In my opinion that’s a learning activity.  You’ve just created a learning experience to meet the needs of your child.
  • We replace simple facts with useful knowledge that can be built upon as they grow.  We don’t have to sit our 2 year olds down and fill their brains with every element in the periodic chart.  It’s not a race.  And as much as we adore showing our kids off, we’re not doing this for bragging rights.  Having a one year old that can name and locate all 50 states and their capitols isn’t really necessary (though if my son could do that, I’d certainly provide him plenty of opportunities to show that off).  What about knowing their address, their city and state, a basic understanding of the world around them and their place in it? 
  • It all starts with knowing the purpose behind each learning experience.  But how do we do this? Is this going to be feasible in our schedules?  How do we know what to teach?  With pre-toddlers and toddlers, learning activities begin by simply directing their play in a way that will most benefit their needs.
  1. Create a list of realistic goals for your child’s age and development.  To simplify mine, I made categories for different types of learning: spiritual, physical, behavioral and educational.  Think about their strengths and weaknesses.  Do you notice they need some extra help with their pinching muscles?  Incorporate fine motor activities into your little one’s day to encourage practice.  Do they need work on patience and remaining still?  Organize a craft to complete at the table or have them join you in reading a book on the couch.  Look at what they are naturally interested in and work with that.  Are they starting to recognize a few letters?  Help them organize what they are learning by working through the alphabet and sounds with crafts or games.
  2.  Keep the list short and simple.  This helps me remain confident that I am working up my son’s funnel (to use a BW term) rather than jumping up and down sporadically.  Keeping it short and sweet helps me to focus and to not become overwhelmed so that I end up giving up before I begin.  Having that quick list in the back of my head also helps me to better recognize opportunities that I can capitalize on in the spur of the moment.
  3. Take the first item on the list and create a learning activity to accomplish that particular goal.  Remember our kids don’t need bells and whistles.  Well, truthfully they LOVE bells and whistles but you know what I mean.  Don’t feel like you have to compete for most creative parent.  Your 3 year old isn’t comparing the activities her mom is doing with what the internet moms are posting.  The only award we’re seeking is our little one engaged and learning.  Sorting stickers or counting goldfish will accomplish both as much as an elaborate homemade game that took hours of prep for mom or dad.
  4. Plan the activity into your day so that you’ll follow through.  It’s so easy to have great intentions yet get distracted by busyness, chores, discipline, meals, errands, work,…   I have found that deciding when I will complete the learning activity dramatically increases the likelihood that it will actually be completed.

All of these steps can be completed within 20-30 minutes.  That’s a very short amount of time to help us become proactive in our children’s learning.  As you make this part of your routine, learning activities will become easier for you to implement.  You’ll find creativity strikes while walking through the grocery store or folding laundry and suddenly think of a great way to teach one of the goals on your list.  You will also find that it is all definitely worth the effort. 

Learning activities don’t hinder a child’s creativity.  They don’t keep our kids from enjoying childhood.  We’re not shooting for Harvard graduates by the age of ten.  We’re simply teaching them to how to learn, a skill that will follow them the rest of their lives.


Mamatography Workshop Winner(S)

Our two winners for the Mamatography Workshop are...




You have until next Friday (December 24) to email me at or another winner will be chosen. Congrats!

Help A Reader Out: Traveling and Maintaining Schedule

mrs. martin said...

Ok, I need help again, big time! So here it is: we have been having to travel a LOT the past month and it's not even close to being over. The first 2 trips went alright, we were staying in people's homes so I could keep him on schedule pretty well. But this past trip (#3), we were in a totally different time zone for a week and I had to keep him quiet for most of the time, so as you can imagine, he got pretty "snacky" REAL fast, not to mention, very used to being held 24/7! We will not be home more than a week or 2 at a time for the next 3 months and I don't really know what to do. We have 5 days before the next trip and then a week and a half before the next. I'm trying so hard to get him back on schedule somehow but I just don't have any idea where to start!
He is 5 mos. Sleeps through the night perfectly still (the only thing that didn't change), but naps and feedings are all over the place- absolutely no consistency. How do I get him back to normal? Any previous posts on this that might help? As always, thank you SO MUCH for this blog and all your help to us new moms!

Plowmanators said...

This is a hard one.

See the posts on "flexibility"

The best thing to do is maintain your "normal" as much as possible.

Then you have to expect there will be some setback and that you will need to do some retraining once things settle down.

See also the posts on "traveling"

Beyond that, I don't have experience with this exact situation. If you like, I can do this as a "help a reader out" question so you can get input from others who have faced similar circumstances.

mrs. martin said...

That would be great! It would certainly be helpful to see what others did to train/re-train/maintain some consistency while on the go for extended periods of time. Especially with a lot of switching time zones, it would be great if anyone had experience with that! Fortunately, we were able to keep him on schedule-ish during Thanksgiving because we were in one place the whole time but we will not be so lucky with the rest of the next few months. Oh well, live, learn and be flexible I guess! Thanks for your continued help and advice!

The All-Important "Why"

The Parenting Breakthrough: Real-Life Plan to Teach Kids to Work, Save Money, and Be Truly Independent

I have talked many times about the importance of "why" you do things, no simply how. In The Parenting Breakthrough by Merilee Boyack, she brings up a great point on the importance of why.

Every child is different.

If you plan to have more than one child, you can't just go through your first child figuring out the "hows." Well, you can, but then when child two comes around you will have to re-learn everything all over again. Why? Because each child is different. The way you held child one will not necessarily be effective with child two. If, however, you have ingrained the why into you, you will be able to roll with the punches and apply your philosophies to parenting child two just as well as child one--if not better.

Let's take some examples from my children.

First, a simple example.

When Kaitlyn was born, I definitely treated her like a mini-Brayden at first. I really didn't know any better. It took me 6 weeks with Brayden to figure out that he needed gas drops after every meal. So when Kaitlyn was born, I was sure to give her gas drops after each nursing.

But Kaitlyn seemed to have poop that was entirely too runny. I had the thought to stop the gas drops, so I did. The poop went to a normal newborn poop.

When McKenna came along, I evaluated her before assuming anything about her. In the end, she did need gas drops.

Now for a more complex example (complex to figure out). This involves early waking.

Brayden has always been the type where if you give him an inch, he does his best to take a mile. So if he woke early and you went in, he woke early as often as he could after that. I had to figure him out and discern the difference between him needing me and him trying to get me in there. He was also the type during CIO that if I tried to soothe him during the process, it only upset him more. He did much better if I backed off.

Kaitlyn was very different. She has never been the type to take more than you give her. Going in once didn't mean going in every day for a month. And during CIO, if she was crying, I needed to go in. It helped. Now, if I had assumed she was just like Brayden, things would have been a lot harder with her.

Then take McKenna. She didn't cry at all for naps ever. So when she started crying in the evenings all of a sudden, I knew something was wrong. I could have assumed she just needed to CIO, but I studied her as an individual and figured out it was witching hour. 

It is very important to remember that "why" you are doing something is the goal, and how you get there is not necessarily important (there are of course times when how matters, but so long as how is in sync with your goals, you are fine. There are many ways to achieve your goal--in other words, many "hows").

Oh, and Boyack brings up another great reason on the importance of why...

Children change.

"So not only am I coping with different kids, but they change every year and even minute by minute sometimes. It's like waking up every day and finding a new computer sitting on your desk. How are you supposed to keep up with that?" (page 7)

Let's go back to Kaitlyn. During CIO, she needed me to go in at 20 minutes if she was still crying. That was great for a while, but then me going in at 20 started interfering. So I had to wait a couple of minutes beyond that. 

It is like the post "Just when you got it, everything changes." I know we can all relate to the child changing thing. You will need to change your game plan many times throughout your parenting journey. Sometimes many times a day! If you don't know why you are doing something, you will get too stuck on how to even come close to your goal.

So once again, I implore you to study the "whys" and analyze your beliefs an goals. I promise your life will go much smoother if you do. 


Quick Cleaning: Laundry Day

There is nothing "quick" about doing laundry, but I do think there are things you can do to make laundry day a bit easier on yourself. I have some tips, but would absolutely LOVE to hear your tips, as well. Laundry is about my least favorite chore, so anything to make life easier is great by me.

Let me start by saying I still have the old fashioned washer and dryer...

No, not that old fashioned!

You know, the top loading washer old some tips are with that in mind. Some day my friends, some day I will get front loaders. 

Have A Plan
Some people like having one laundry day each week. This is the day they focus on laundry. Others do one load each day. I personally like one day. 

Stay Home
Whether you do it all in one day or do one load a day, stay home while it is laundry time. This is both for safety reasons (you don't want any accidents--especially with a dryer) and  for efficiency. You can't promptly remove clothes if you aren't home to remove them.

If you do it one day a week, think through the average week and choose the day you are most often home all day.

Things start best if I prepare the night before. Usually this just means I gather the dirty laundry from each room the night before. I like to start early in the morning and this way I won't be held up because I left dirty laundry in someone's room.

You could also sort the night before, but I don't do that.

Start Early
Since I do it all in one day, I find that starting earlier in the day makes it more likely that I can get it done that day. If I were doing one load, I would still start early. Otherwise I think I would forget about it as the hecticness of the day started.

Sort and Prep at Once
I sort the clothes and prep them all at the same time. While I am sorting, I turn things inside out that need to be and I check pockets. This way, I can just toss all of the clothes in the washer when it is time.

Jeans First
My first load of the day is always a load of jeans combined with any dark shirts I want to hang-dry. I also include light cotton clothes or socks to finish out the load.

My reason for this is because in my old-fashioned machines, the drying takes the longest. I hang dry at least half of my jeans, so this way my first load of the day dries quickly because by the time it makes it to the dryer, it is rather small.

Towels LastI do my towels last because they take the longest to dry. This way I don't have clothes in the washer waiting while my towels dry.

Remove from Dryer Promptly
I remove my clothes from the dryer as soon as I can after they are dry. I then fold and sort into laundry baskets. This makes it so I rarely need to iron clothes.

Start Next Load Immediately
Even though my dryer takes longer than my washer, I start washing the next load as soon as I am done starting the dryer load and/or folding the load that just came out of the dryer. When I wait, I often forget until the dryer is almost done.

Hang All At Once...Or As You Go
I am not sure what is more efficient--to hang as you go or to hang all at once. I do it all at once after all laundry is done. Mostly this is because of kids rooms and napping children. I just go in the evening some time and put all of the laundry away.

Detergents and Other Supplies
I would love to hear what your favorite detergents and other supplies are!

I love Consumer Reports. Years ago, the detergent they recommended was Cheer. They also said the powder cleaned better than liquid in all detergents. So we used that for years. 

A few months ago, I decided to try something new and tried the Arm and Hammer with Baking Soda and Oxiclean (linked is the liquid but I use the powder). I have been really happy with it.

For babies, I used All Baby detergent (in liquid) or Dreft (in liquid).

Now, I keep an All Free and Clear liquid detergent for use on delicates.

I love Oxiclean. I add a scoop to every white load and usually to my towels as well. One day, the stores was out of the powder so I tried the Oxiclean Max Force and I think I like those better, but it is more money overall I think, so I am still analyzing the whole situation. Another great booster is Borax. I keep Borax around at all times because you can use it in a lot of homemade cleaners (like for scrubbing grout).

For stain removers, I like the Oxiclean spray right now. I have also used Zout and Spray and Wash in the past and have liked those. Fels Naptha is a fabulous bar of soap for getting stains out on whites for sure. I haven't tried it on colored yet--just whites.

Another great stain remover and clothes freshener is plain old Baking Soda.

So far as bleach, I just get Clorox Splashless.

For dryer sheets, I use Bounce but have no good reason why.

Again, I would love to hear what you use and love! AND what you do to make laundry day easier.


Teaching Child to Come When Called

Image Source

Note: I am aware that gestures mean different things in different cultures. In the United States, this gesture means "Come." Just want to make sure that is clear to the global audience.

I had the question a while ago of how I teach my children to come when I tell them to.

I wasn't really sure. This isn't something I have a concrete plan for, it is something that happens. I knew there had to be something I did, but I wasn't sure what it was. 

Shortly after that, I was visiting with my neighbor when her twins went running off--ignoring her as she told them to come back. She said, "When do they stop running away when you call? I can't remember?"

I started realizing teaching a child to come might be more about what I don't do than what I do. It is at least equal in importance.

What I don't do is I don't let them run away from me or ignore me when I tell them to come. I think that is the number one key. If I tell them to come, they will come even if it means I go pick the child up and carry her to where I was when I told her to come. 

Here is a break down of what I do and don't do to teach my children to come to me when called in 10 simple steps.

1-Do start with a solid foundation. 
If your child is used to listening to you and used to you meaning what you say, then you telling your child to come will be no different than you telling your child to do anything else. 

The converse is also true. If your child is used to do whatever she feels like despite your instruction, then you telling her to come will be no different.

2-Do mean what you say.
Do not tell your child to come unless you intend for her to come. If you are going to tell her to come, then shrug your shoulders and decide it wasn't that important anyway then she will learn it is okay for her to ignore you. If you won't follow through, then don't give the instruction.

3-Do expect compliance.
When you tell your child to come, expect that she will. Your child can discern what your expectation is. Children live up to expectations. 

4-Do use the child's name.
Start by calling the child's name when you want her to come. "McKenna!"

5-Don't tell your child to come if you don't know she heard you.
Don't just call out, "McKenna! Come here!" and expect a response. Call her name and then pause. This is when "yes, Mommy?" comes in handy. However, when you are teaching a child to come, she will literally be in capable of saying "yes, Mommy." 

I am one who waits for eye contact and that is enough for me from the young ones. But you could also teach your child to say "ya" (a child's version of yes) if she can.

6-Do wait for eye contact.
Wait for your child to look you in the eye.

7-Do speak kindly.
I like to speak kindly and use my manners. "Come here please" or "Come to Mama please."

8-Don't expect her to know something she doesn't. 
Your child might have no idea what "Come to Mommy means." If this is the case, walk over to her and pick her up and then move on to the next step.

9-Do praise.
As soon as your child comes to you, say, "Good girl! Thank you for coming to Mama." You might even give a hug and a kiss. Give lots of positive reinforcement. What toddler wouldn't want to come to Mommy when she gets 50 kisses upon arrival? 

10-Do expect to be tested. Pass that test.
It won't always be so simple. Your child will without a doubt test you on this. One day she will look you in the eye and then run the other way. Or she might be slightly more condifent in her ability to make decision and just stay put and ignore you. Maybe she just found a grasshopper and has decided watching the insect is of far more interest than coming to you.

This is the crucial moment. This is the moment that sets the stage for the future. This is when you do not allow her to ignore you. 

I usually go first to my "Mommy look" and use my mommy voice to give the child a chance to reconsider. "McKenna. You come here." This will often get the child to realize that yes, I indeed did mean what I said and turn around and come to me.

But not always. If not, I then go get the child and carry her to where I wanted her to go . This is especially distressing to toddlers because they want to walk everywhere themselves. I remain calm. I remain confident. I don't let my blood pressure rise at all. I just make it clear to the little one that running away from me actually isn't what I meant by "come to Mama." 

So there you have my 10 step process to teaching your child to come to you when called. Hopefully this will help you to teach your child to come to you when you call.


Logical Consequences: What Was Mis-Used

On Becoming Preschoolwise has a list of different tools of correction for your little preschooler, including logical consequences.

Some parents do not have minds that naturally flow into the logical, realm, which is fine. But for those parents, thinking of a logical consequence in a moment can be difficult.

Even for parents who are logical by nature, thinking of a good logical consequence can be tricky at the exact moment. Ezzo and Bucknam have an easy, one-step process to help you think of something:

What is it your child misused?

Once you identify what was misused, you can make the consequence flow from that. 

Let's look at some concerns you readers have had and give a short, simple logical consequence for it.

Child tells you no when given a direction.
Child mis-used a verbal freedom. You could remove verbal freedoms for a period. You can also remove the freedom to choose. So if you asked your child to come to you, she said no, you go pick her up. 

You can also remove something related to the direction you gave. You told your child to clean up the toys and she said no? She might lose those toys for a certain period of time. 

Child Throws Toys
Child mis-used the toy. I would take they toy away.

Child Touches Things She Shouldn't
The child mis-used her physical freedoms and is ignoring you. A good logical consequence would say, "That is too bad that you touched the stove after I told you not to! I guess you will have to sit in your high chair since you can't control yourself."

Child Gets Out of Bed When She Shouldn't
Child is mis-using her freedom to choose when to get out. This is harder than simply taking away that freedom because that doesn't mean the child won't stay put. You might need to remove another freedom associated with the bedroom or add time to how long the child should be in bed. You can also take away a privilege that happens after bed (like TV).

Child Hits (Playfully or Meanly)
Child is mis-using her hands. If she won't control her hands, you need to remove her from being able to contact others with her hands. If you are with friends, you might leave immediately. If you are at home, you might remove her from other family members. You want to remove the child from  her victims. 

Child Doesn't Stay By Me In Store
Child is mis-using the freedom to move on her own. If you have a cart available, I would put her in the cart. An obvious potential problem with this is the fit that would follow. If that happened, the next step would be to leave the store (NOT to put her on the floor again and allow her to walk). 

But this leads to me needing to point out that you don't want to allow the freedom of walking before the child is old enough to handle it. If you do, you need to be fully prepare to walk out of that store without purchasing anything if needed.

Child Rips Pages In Books
Child is mis-using books, so the natural lead would be no books. I would hate that to be a consequence as a parent, so I would say the child is only able to look at books that have no pages to rip (board books and soft books) unless Mom or Dad is holding the book for her. 

Kaitlyn once took a library book to bed and pulled the library stickers off. She is currently not allowed to take library books to her room anymore.

Child Refuses To Eat
In most cases, I wouldn't actually view this as bad behavior. I prefer to follow a child's lead on food and not make things a battle. I have my children try something once, but if they don't like it, that is fine. They need to try it each time we have it. If we have it often, I have them try it every couple of months. 

For example, Brayden hates corn. He loves most vegetables, so this isn't a general defiance thing. He just doesn't like corn. That is totally fine. We all have things we don't like. Every few months, I have him take a bite because our taste buds are always changing and he might decide he likes it someday. But once he says he doesn't like it, that is all he needs to eat. 

I hope that helps get your logical consequence mind flowing. When your child does something wrong, remember the question "what did my child mis-use?" Then go from there.

Logical consequences are extremely effective. I use logical consequences more than any other discipline method by far. 


New Cookbook Winner

I never heard from the cookbook winner, so it is time to choose a new one. And that is...


Congrats! You have 48 hours to contact me or another winner will be chosen.

Bumble Bum Book Winner

The winner of the Bumble Bum Book is...

I will contact you! Congrats!

Bonanza Second Season Winner

The Bonanza Second Season DVD winner is....


You have 48 hours to contact me at Please include your address.


Eating Organic

There are a lot of ways that I personally am "green" or "organic"--but I do so for reasons other than you find listed conventionally. For example, a lot of my "green"-ness I would actually attribute to "frugality" and my "organic" things are simply because it tastes better to me, is cheaper, and/or safer.

I know that when you become a parent, you start to analyze everything in life. I also know that being organic right now is a popular lifestyle, so I am sure it is something you either have pondered, or will (especially now! lol).

I know some of you are going to ask what I do organically, so I will tell you. One thing is we grow as much of our own food as possible. I just think fresh fruits and veggies taste far better than anything I can buy--even from a farmer's market. I also know it is less expensive, and I know that the food is the healthiest immediately after picking.

I am also someone who seems to believe plants should take care of themselves withing reason. I water and I weed and that is it (which frankly is enough!). This fall, we used manure for the first time ever. It was free from my parents. That is as close as I get to fertilizing.

We get our eggs primarily from my grandfather. If not from him, our neighbor. We get our beef from my grandfather or from people a block from us. We get our milk and much dairy from an organic dairy (though it is definitely pasteurized).

I make foods from scratch. So much better tasting. And the ingredient list is short and simple. I don't like processed foods because they don't taste good to me. Plus I do have concern over what they will do to our bodies.

I turn stuff off when I am not using it. This isn't in effort to be green--it is to save money.

I make my own cleaners. I feel better about them--though I do own harsh cleaners if I need them.

I use re-usable shopping bags because they hold so much more and I can make fewer trips after grocery shopping.

We recycle...

Those are a few ways. I bet if you think about it, you will find you are more green and organic than you think.

Since I would not classify myself as "organic," and since I like to have at least a spring board for you to review on anything parenting related, I thought I would ask my friend Bethany to write about her experience with organic living. She has been making the switch slowly, which I think is a manageable way for most people. Here are her thoughts:


I did not grow up eating organic. I especially did not eat organic or sometimes even
relatively healthy particularly in the early years of my marriage. There were many nights
we just ate a box of angel hair pasta buttered with Country Crock. Sometimes it was
burritos with canned refried beans. Oh, the memories!

It really was not until after I had my second child that I truly started paying more
attention to what we were eating. Even with my son, my first child, I thought we ate
pretty healthy. While I was pregnant with my daughter, I kept hearing more and more
about a book called the Makers Diet. I actually heard about it from two good friends in a
Babywise group on BabyCenter. It was written by Jordan Rubin, and it focuses on eating
whole foods, organic if possible, in the best form possible. What intrigued me the most
was the results my friends saw after changing their ways of life (it is much more than a
diet!). One friend was relieved of her migraines and lost weight even though it was not
planned, and her husband regained his sense of smell and was cured of insomnia. The
other friend was cured of severe, unrelenting, disabling GI distress. I too struggled with
severe chronic insomnia so I was captivated.

The book that really changed the way we eat was The Great Physician Rx, also by Jordan
Rubin. It is a much slower approach to incorporating whole foods whereas the Makers
Diet is more of a detox. I wish I could make a huge drastic change and only buy organic
and whole foods, but that is neither practical nor possible for our family at this point. I
have decided to take more of a babysteps approach. One by one we look for areas we can
change or improve.

To eat organically, you do not have to change all at once. Here are some of the baby
steps we have taken. Probably the biggest change we made was the way we did our
grocery shopping. We had just started becoming very proficient at couponing and saving
hundreds on our grocery bill each month, but we were saving money on processed,
preservative-filled food. We have slowly been making the switch to whole foods, and
there just are not many coupons for organic foods. One of the ways I make our money
stretch is to buy organic ground beef in bulk and to stick to the list of Dirty Dozen
foods and the top Clean 15 foods on the Environmental Working Group’s
website. I also go to my local health food store and buy only what is on sale.

We have also started buying a lot of our foods from local growers, and I only buy organic
milk from a nearby dairy. Below is a list of some references for eating organic. Another
thing that has helped me is meal planning. I did not really have to meal plan when I had
boxes of pasta and cans of vegetables. Now I really put a lot more time into what we
are going to be eating for the week, and it ensures that I do not rely on processed food as

We do not eat entirely organic. It just is not possible. We have cut out mostly processed
foods and as many preservatives as possible. We use whole milk, whole cream, real
butter, grass fed meat, wild caught fish, and as many fruits and vegetables as possible.
Once we had kids and I became better educated about what healthy means, I felt like no
amount of pesticide or preservatives were a “safe amount.”

Back to my version of the Makers Diet, I no longer have insomnia. It has come back
a few nights but usually not for more than one or two nights. I am 10 lbs less than my
pre-pregnancy weight with my second child. My children are extremely healthy. We
battle the common cold more often now that my son is in Mother’s Morning Out, but that
is usually the worst of it. Even my husband has noticed the difference and has started
eating more consciously. Eating organic has opened up a whole new way of life for us,
one step at a time. If you would like to learn more about our baby steps journey, please
visit my blog at


Mistakes: Golden Nuggets of Wisdom

In the preface of Love and Logic Magic, the authors (Fay and Fay) discuss the value of mistakes your children make. They point out that every mistake your child makes can turn into a golden nugget of wisdom. The more mistakes your children make, the wiser they can become. They say that Love and Logic Magic teaches you how to accomplish this (xi).

I really like this point on mistakes. This applies to children and adults alike. I think it is a great way to look at mistakes. Many of us look at mistakes and go into instant panic mode:

"Where have I gone wrong?!?!?"

"Where did my little angel go? Will I ever get him back?!?!?!?"

"I can't believe I messed up the timing for that nap! I am so dumb!"

"Why didn't I go check on her sooner?"

"Why did I leave those crayons down within reach?!!??"

"Will my baby ever get back to sleeping well?"

"I can't believe my child just yelled at another child! Is he going to be mean forever?"

These are some of the things that go through our heads. Instead, perhaps we could think this way:

"What could I have done differently? What should I do differently next time?"

"What can I do to help her behave appropriately?"

"I bet I'll never make that mistake again!"

"We can work this out."

Every mistake is a great learning opportunity. 

Have you ever seen the movie Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang? If not, you need to. It is fabulous. Do you remember the song "The Roses of Success"? It is so applicable to everything in life. Here, you can watch it if you want to.

I think a great example of what can come of mistakes is this blog. I know a lot of you read things and think everything is perfect, but the fact is, these posts are derived from experience. I can write about these issues you encounter because I have encountered them, also. Through the difficulties and mistakes, I have learned a lot.

But I am also an extreme perfectionist. On Tuesday, I shared a story of Brayden at school telling the other children he was smarter than they are. In the end, I think I handled the situation well, but when his teacher was first telling me, I was absolutely mortified. I could not believe my sweet little boy had said such things! I started going through the panic mode train of thinking.

I had to calm myself down. I was calm in talking with him, but still had inner turmoil inside. Later, I told my good friend about it. Her son is in Brayden's class and she has had two boys go before. She made me feel a lot better about it all. She reminded me of what a great learning opportunity it was for Brayden. She pointed out how young he was and how great it was we were able to discover and work on it now rather than later.

She is not an ultra-perfectionist and has a great outlook on these situations. She is thrilled when her Kindergartener comes home and tells her about someone who was mean. She seizes that teaching moment. She loves for them to discuss difficulties they face. They are all teaching moments.

So I very much appreciate this comment from Love and Logic Magic. You can't {realistically} expect to have everything go smoothly. There will be mistakes made by you and by your child. Neither one of you are perfect. No matter how hard you try, there will be mistakes. So when a mistake comes, do your best to look at it as a learning opportunity rather than lament all you have done wrong in life. You learn, your child learns, and you can all move on.