Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mamatography 2013 - Week 34

Day 230 - August 18

We went to Elmo's company picnic and then
broke our record by finding 5 geocaches in one day!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Am I a Liar?

The Taboo Carnival
Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this Summer is “My Parents Failed Me (A Little or a Lot)” This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on the parenting failures of their own parents or in themselves. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

The first thing that pops into my head when I think of how my parents parented me (both of them, even though they were divorced) was how they handled misbehavior. I can remember times when I was falsely accused of things and it pissed me off beyond belief that my parents didn't believe me. I could understand if there was evidence, but if not... what ever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

We clearly did not have trusting relationships. Because of this... and come to think of it, I think I've written about this before, I just can not outright accuse my children without proof. I think this has possibly had a negative impact on my parenting. My kids might be getting away with more because if I can't prove it, I can only ask them if they're guilty.

For my husband's part, he was beaten as a child... often. It was "discipline," but many of his stories just do not sound very supportive to me at all. My heart hurts for him when I hear some of his stories. So gentle parenting has been a stretch for him. Its honestly been new ground for both of us. We believe in the approach, but when its not working, its harder for us to figure out what on earth to do about it.

Neither of us feels close to our parents. My mother called her mother every day. I went through phases like that, but mostly I feel like dealing with my parents is an inconvenience. How sad is that? I want better for my children. I want them to feel that I trust them. I want them to trust me. I want them to know that I support them in everything that they do. And I want them to grow up to become contributing members of society that want to keep in touch with me.

Do you have a close relationship with your parents? Why (or why not) do you think that is?

Visit Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Taboo Carnival! Enjoy the posts from this month’s Carnival participants!

  • I Am Not My Parents — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares a guest post from a mama whose tumultuous childhood witnessing the daily volitility of her parents' dysfunction empowers her to provide her children with the peaceful, respectful, non-voilent childhood she longed for..

  • Confessions of a "Latch Key Kid"... — Lois at The Myth of the Perfect Baby talks about being left alone after school as a young child and her thoughts on extended breastfeeding at the dinner table.

  • Am I a Liar? — Jorje of Momma Jorje *really* didn't appreciate being considered a liar as a child. Click to read how this has affected her relationships.

  • Sometimes Families Break Down — Joella at Fine and Fair shares a guest post about how a mama ended up being estranged from her family and what she hopes to do differently.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mindful Learning

As parents, we think a ton about how our children learn, and what our role is in facilitating and guiding their education. That's why I'm happy to be an affiliate for this new eBundle on Mindful Learning!

The Mindful Learning eBundle holds 6 carefully selected learning resources, with a focus on early reading (handy if your little one, like mine, is extra interested in letters and reading). This is a practical bundle with over 1,200 pages of learning fun and numerous printables.

Mindful Learning eBundle Sale

If you're stuck in a homeschool rut, if your child keeps asking for fun learning activities and you've no inspiration left, or you just want to refresh your learning approach? This is THE BUNDLE you need for countless hours of learning fun!

Grab your chance to get these six fabulous e-resources at 75% off! That's only $12.50 USD for over $50 worth of learning materials!

So what's in this bundle?

Montessori At Home! by John Bowman of Montessori at Home, 520 pages and numerous printables, value $10.95

Montessori at homeThe Third Edition of the Montessori At Home! eBook is the most complete resource available for parents who want to do Montessori activities at home with their 3-6 year old children. This full size, 512-page, $10.95 PDF eBook looks great on all computers, and is optimized for viewing on the iPad. Hundreds of full color photos and links to blogs and videos expand on the information in the eBook, providing a unique resource for parents. Instead of spending months of time during your child’s most formative years researching what to do, you can start doing activities in 1-2 days and have a complete plan at your fingertips for moving on. Over 4000 parents all over the world are using Montessori At Home!

The first chapters contain exactly the information parents need to know to get started quickly and with a firm understanding of Montessori. They include information on Maria Montessori and her observations of children, the neuroscience of early childhood, implementing Montessori principles in parenting, and using learning materials at home. Clear descriptions for over 300 activities and hands-on materials follow in the areas of Practical Life, Sensorial, Art and Music, Digital Life, Science, Language, and Mathematics. Complete sequences for teaching your to child to read and master Montessori math are included. Recommendations are also given for over 225 of the best tablet apps for preschoolers, along with guidelines for safely introducing digital learning to children. 76 pages of free printables are included, as well as the eBook.

You can Read! by Carisa of 1+1+1=1, over 300 pages, value $10

You Can Read Button 200x200You Can Read is a simple sight word program developed with younger readers in mind. Children learn to read at different ages and some show the reading readiness signs at much younger ages than others. These children are ready to learn words and reading skills, they just aren't ready for complex worksheets and activities often available to children who are a bit older when they are learning. Carisa created this program for children who are showing reading readiness signs at a younger age, approximately ages 3-5. Older children can use these printables and activities also; they were just created with a younger reader in mind!

The printables are based on the Dolch Pre Primer and Primer Sight Word lists, as well as a few I added in, for a total of 72 words. To see the entire word list, and list of activities included in each set, see the You Can Read Information Page

a lifestyle of learningEveryday Sensory Alphabet Activities, by Melitsa Avila of Raising Playful Tots, 99 pages, value $9

Everyday Sensory Alphabet Activities is your go to solution for wriggly jiggly children who want to craft and play with alphabet activities that focus on the process along with audio from educators about alphabet learning to set things going in the right direction.

Follow raising playful tots on Twitter - Facebook - Pinterest

Book Love: Help Your Child Grow From Reluctant to Enthusiastic Reader, by Melissa Taylor of Imagination Soup, 130 pages, value $9.97

book loveWhat if you could get your reluctant reader to love books?

Kids don't like to read for four reasons: too tricky - too blurry - too boring - too sitty.

Discover why your child doesn't like to read … and what to do about it!

Then turn it into Book Love!

In Book Love, you'll find lots of unique, fun, and exciting ideas for your child based on why he or she doesn't like reading. What else will you find in Book Love? - book lists by interests (with links) - alphabet and phonics activities and crafts - sight word games - favorite reading products - rhyming word play games - printables - and more!

Do you want your child to love reading?

Then you need this book.

a lifestyle of learningUnschooling: A Lifestyle of Learning, by Sara McGrath, 120 pages, value $4.99

A Practical Handbook on Learning Without School: People who feel drawn to the philosophical principles of unschooling often ask 'How do you unschool?' While acknowledging that each family approaches the unschooling lifestyle from a unique standpoint, I offer the details of my family’s experiences, along with specific advice for meeting legal requirements without sacrificing your ideals.

More info here.

What Will We Learn Today? Easy Homeschooling Activities, by Lauren Wayne of Hobo Mama, 154 pages, value $5.99

a lifestyle of learningAre you a homeschooling parent, or do you want to be? Maybe you wonder how learning can fit into everyday life. Or maybe you’re sure it can, but some days you and your child simply run out of ideas of what to do that’s not the same old-same old.

That’s where this book comes in. It’s an ideabook of more than 550 fun and creative ideas that teach and reinforce learning under eight key curricular subjects. Whether you’re homeschooling, unschooling, or regular schooling, your preschool and school-age kids will enjoy these quick and fun activities that engage their minds and creativity.

The ideas are time- and child-tested activities that our kids enjoy. For them, there’s no division between “learning” and “life” — it’s all of one piece. These idea-joggers use very little in the way of special materials or money but give a lot in terms of natural learning and family connection.

This sale lasts for only 4 days, so you'll have to be quick! The sale starts Sunday, August 25, and ends Wednesday, August 28! Buying this bundle is a great way to support this site, since I earn an affiliate commission for each sale through the links here. I would never share a product or book that I didn't think fit here, though. I hope you enjoy this series, too. Thank you!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mamatography 2013 - Week 33

Day 223 - August 11

We had this crazy phenomenon after camping. I froze the jug of Koolaid, then we used ice for a couple of days. It took a couple more days for the ice to melt away from the jug.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Simply Celebrate

Welcome to the July edition of the Simply Living Blog Carnival - Celebrations cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. This month, we write about keeping things simple with our kids. Please check out the links to posts by our other participants at the end of this post.

Ronni was initially raised as an only child. I've changed a lot since then, but even for his first birthday... I felt like I needed to invite every. single. person that loved him. We actually had a party at his uncle's house that included my father's side of the family and his father's father's side of the family. (We both had divorced parents so gatherings were... difficult.) I also had a very small party at my mother's house and we also celebrated at his father's mother's house. Talk about a stressful mess!

As he got just a little bit older, we held a picnic and told everyone they could come or not! Still, we felt the need to invite everyone we knew. After all, that means more presents! And yet we'd complain about all the crap we'd have to load up to take home, too.

Ronni's 7th Birthday
Ronni's 7th Birthday Party

I'm older and (I'd like to think) wiser now. Last year my girls had their birthday parties a day apart (they're actual birthdays are 2 days apart) at a local park. We invited family and a handful of friends to each. We had water and cupcakes. There was a playground for entertainment. It wound up being cold (darned September birthdays, you never can tell what to expect), but the parties were fine. Not stellar, but fine. Best of all? They were low stress!

Sasha's 2nd Birthday
Sasha's 2nd Birthday Party
Notice the simple, homemade cake?

September is coming up again and I'm starting to think about how to do their celebrations this year... I definitely plan to keep it simple again! How do you celebrate your kids' birthdays?

Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Read about how others are incorporating simple living and parenthood. We hope you will join us next month when we discuss Money Matters!

  • Parties - sustainablemum explains how and why she keeps her birthday celebrations for her eldest a simple affair at his behest.
  • Simple Birthday Celebrations - Birthdays are kept simple at Living Peacefully with Children. Mandy shares how her family celebrates birthdays without the stress and expense.
  • Countdown to a Simple Christmas - Start now to prepare your house and home for the holidays. Steps to take each month to enjoy a much simpler approach to Christmas.
  • Simply Celebrate - Jorje has tried celebrating kid birthdays BIG and small... which one do you think was more simple? less stressful?
  • That's a Wrap - At Parentwin, Darlena describes her experiences with wrapping gifts and how she has changed her ideals when it comes to gift giving.
  • Simple Celebrations - Laura at Authentic parenting shares how her family keeps celebrations simple.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Tupperware in the Woods

I've been interested in geocaching since I first heard of it. Alas, I couldn't afford a GPS unit of my own. I took a short class in it at a Girl Scout Leader training event and it seemed easy enough. I went to a volunteer appreciation camp and borrowed a GPS unit from them to find some of the caches on site. Except the unit they loaned us didn't work. A while later, I got a phone that actually had a map program on it. I headed out to find my first cache... no such luck. I didn't yet understand where to look, I was wearing a baby and I just... couldn't find it. I found all of these attempts discouraging. I actually joined 3 years ago and had never found a single thing. Until now.

Wait, what is geocaching?
"Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location."

micro cache
Not Tupperware!

We recently got Windows phones (Nokia Lumia 521 - we love them!). It occurred to me to look for a geocaching app and the Windows version from the site is free!

Now mind you, we're kind of homebodies. We have plenty appointments out and otherwise stay home a lot. I worry that my kids don't get enough outdoor time and we look forward to having a fenced yard for them at some point. Anyway, I got onto the site (linked above) and worked on picking out my first cache. As I was planning the hunt, my homebody husband volunteered to come along! He has great eyes and I knew he would be an asset.

International Geocaching DayWe found that first cache on August 4th. August is Geocaching month! Tomorrow is International Geocaching Day! We have, since then, found at least 1 cache every single day! That means my children are getting outside time (at least a little) every day! We have hunted for almost all of them all together (except for the teenager). This has been such a great hobby for us to pick up as a family. We love it! Now... if only the mosquitoes weren't so bad this year.

Sasha with Ranger Rick Cache
Sasha with our first Ranger Rick find.
Lock-and-Locks are much more popular than Tupperware these days.

You can see some photos from our first geocaching adventures in this week's Mamatography post. Sometimes the caches are larger, sometimes smaller. If big enough, they usually contain "SWAG" (small toys, mostly). We carry a cloth produce bag full of "SWAG" to trade. We sign a log in the caches and I log them on the website, too. Today my husband arrived home, noting it was a gorgeous day, and suggested we go out "treasure hunting" again. (We'd already logged a cache this morning.) I'm loving all our family time!

Have you ever gone geocaching? Is there some other family-oriented outdoor hobby you enjoy?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sibling Love / Sibling Hate?

Welcome to the August 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Sibling Revelry

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about siblings — their own, their hopes for their kids, and more. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

I started my childhood living with my single mother, who was fighting to regain custody of my brother. Her attorney encouraged her to get a 2 bedroom apartment - to show that she already had room for him. He did, eventually, move in with us. He had his own room and wore Levi's and I-zods, exclusively. I grew up kind of thinking that he must be my mother's favorite. I later went back to feeling like a favorite. My brother and I were never close. He fought with my mom and then we fought about how he treated her.

My brother and I, circa 1978

Meanwhile, I had step-siblings, too. I had a brother 3 years younger and a sister 3 years older, plus another (older) brother and sister. I would spend time at my dad's and the 2 siblings closest to me in age would fight over time with me. I certainly felt... special. But I never spent enough time to wind up feeling really close with them, either.

My step-brother and I

I see people talk about being from big families and being really close. Lots of family gatherings, even family vacations! My family does do birthday parties and cookouts, but I've never felt close to any of them. Not really.

Ronni with his then-step-siblings

I raised Ronni (til he was about 11) as an only child, though he did have step-siblings for a while, too. Still, my husband and I wanted Sasha to have a close sibling. I don't know what makes me think that they'll be close just for being close in age, but I do hope that for them. Especially with Spencer having Down syndrome, I hope they're close enough that Sasha wants to help look after him when we're gone, but not feel too great a sense of obligation - which is a lot of what I feel toward my own family. Obligation.

Sasha is nearly 4 years old. Soon after her birthday, Spencer will turn 2. For now, he thinks the sun rises and sets on her! She loves him, but often pushes him down for no reason. It is so hard to see her being so mean to him. We hope we didn't make the wrong choice. We love both of them (and Ronni, too!), of course.

I'm curious... Did you come from a large or small family / household? Did that figure in when you decided how many children you wanted? Do you think they'll have a similar experience to yours?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • The Damage of Comparing Siblings — Comparing siblings can lead to hurt feelings and poor relationships. What Jana Falls has learned and why she hopes for more for her son.
  • Connecting Through Sibling Rivalry — With four children who are spaced so that each child grows up in a pair, Destany at They are All of Me shares her method for minimizing the competition so her children can focus on bonding, rather than besting each other.
  • Sibling Revelry — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares the two-week transition that happens every summer as her kids transform from bickering to learning how to play.
  • Baby Brother born from an OceanAbby Jaramillo describes how her toddler connects in a possibly mystical way with her new baby brother and his birth at home, and Abby draws parallels with her own sister's new baby.
  • Hard, But Worth It — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl discusses how difficult having two children can be, but how it's definitely worth it.
  • Raising Attached Siblings — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy and her husband are making conscious choices about how they raise their children to foster sibling connection and attachment.
  • It's Complicated — Henrietta at Angel Wings and Herb Tea reflects on how life's twists and turns have taken her from a childhood with no siblings to a constantly changing family life with five children, including one in spirit.
  • Supportsustainablemum reflects on how the differences between her relationship with her siblings and her husband's have affected their family and at a time of need.
  • Peas in a Pod — Kellie at Our Mindful Life enjoys the special relationship her oldest two children share.
  • Lessening the competitive enviornment in the homeLisa at The Squishable Baby discusses how downplaying competition in the home has led to cooperation, not competition.
  • The complex and wonderful world of siblings — Lauren at Hobo Mamareflects on her choices to have not too many children, spaced far apart — and how that's maybe limited how close their sibling relationship can be.
  • 5 Ways to Help Young Siblings Have a Loving Relationship — Charise I Thought I Knew Mama shares the strategies that help her three year old and 14 month old have a somewhat beautiful relationship and aid in keeping peace in their home.
  • 4 Steps to Encourage Sibling Revelry, even in Hot Moments of Rivalry — Sheila Pai of A Living Family share 4 Steps she uses to shift hot moments of sibling rivalry towards connected moments of sibling revelry and human compassion.
  • Twins Are Fun — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot witnesses the development of her twins' sibling bond.
  • Growing Up Together- Sibling Revelry in Our House — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work realizes that there is great utility in raising siblings that are close in age, and is grateful to have been blessed with healthy siblings that both love and challenge one another every day.
  • Top 5 Ways to Reduce Sibling Rivalry — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares ideas that helped her two children be best friends along with Montessori resources for peace education and conflict resolution.
  • Sibling Uncertainty — Alisha at Cinnamon and Sassafras wonders how her children's relationship will change now that the baby is mobile.
  • Living with the Longing — Rachael at The Variegated Life sees that she can live with her longing for another — without changing her plans.
  • For My One and Only DaughterPlaying for Peace mommy reflects on her choice to not have more children in order to focus on other dreams.
  • Siblings: A Crash Course in Relationship Training — How have your siblings prepared you for later relationships? One of Dionna at Code Name: Mama's top priorities as mama of siblings is to help them learn how to navigate relationships.
  • The Joys of Siblings: An Inside Joke — Ana at Panda & Ananaso shares the a glimpse into the joys of having siblings through sharing a perplexing yet hilarious inside joke betwixt her and her own.
  • Sibling Support, even in the potty! — Even though Laura at Pug in the Kitchen's children didn't start out best friends, they are joined at the hip these days, including cheering each other on with potty successes!
  • Don't Seek What Isn't There - On Sibling Jealousy — Laura from Authentic Parenting analyzes the seeming desire people harbor for seeking out hints of sibling jealousy.
  • Sibling Love / Sibling Hate?Momma Jorje speculates whether her children will have a different sibling experience than her own. Did she make the right choices based on her own history?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Summer 2013 Taboo Carnival

Jorje from Momma Jorje and Jennifer from Hybrid Rasta Mama are pleased to present the second year of The Taboo Carnival. This Carnival is held four times yearly (February, May, August, and November). The topics are wide and varied but focus on subjects that are typically not discussed in the natural parenting/mindful living world of bloggers.

The August Taboo Carnival topic is:

Let’s face it, when you are a parent there is always something you do or say to your children that you wish you had not. Most parents would agree that they try their best but continually struggle with that “one” thing. Ok, maybe two things. Three?

The motivation to parent as mindfully as possible is most likely triggered by an innate fear of “failing” as a parent. Don’t tell us that it has never crossed your mind that your children will look back one day and find your shortcomings. No one wants to be remembered as someone who failed their children.

Today, we are dragging some childhood memories to the surface. Yep – tough stuff here. We want you to dig deep and share the ways in which YOUR parent(s) or caregiver(s) failed at parenting. These failings can be rather small or they can be monumental. You choose. But we all know that we are not perfect parents and there is no way that we were all parented perfectly, either.

This month’s carnival was created to liberate you and to allow you to openly discuss your true feelings about how your parents could have “improved” or enhanced their parenting. While this topic might seem rather broad, we would like to offer some suggestions for post topics:

  • In looking back at your childhood, in what ways did your parents’ parenting style differ from yours? Do you consider their parenting style a failure?
  • How did you overcome your less-than-stellar upbringing? How did it influence who you are as a parent today?
  • What small or large failings were recurring themes in your parents’ parenting style? Did they work to improve on these or was it simply how they parented?
  • Did your parents parent equally if you had siblings? Was their style consistent or did it vary depending on which child they were dealing with at the moment?
  • If you could tell your parents how you really feel about your upbringing, what would you say?
  • For major failings, how did that impact your relationship with your parents?

Remember, these are just our thoughts and idea to get your creative juices flowing. You are welcome to write about anything related to not always liking your child.

We understand that some of these topics might be sensitive or too personal to share on your own blog. Therefore, we will have a “post swap” option where another blogger will host your post anonymously and you in turn will host another blogger’s post. We will handle all of the details of the post trade once we receive your submission. The host blogger will never know who authored the post.

Submissions Deadline: Thursday, August 22, 2013.

Fill out the webform (at the bottom of this post) and email your submission to jorje {at} mommajorje{dot}com AND jennifer {at} hybridrastamama {dot}com by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time.

Carnival date: Tuesday, August 27, 2013. Before you post, we will send you an email with a little blurb in html to paste into your submission that will introduce the carnival. You will publish your post on August 27th before 8am PST and email us the link if you haven’t done so already. Once everyone’s posts are published, we will send out a finalized list of all the participants’ links to generate lots of link love for your site. We’ll include full instructions in the email we send before the posting date.

A few housekeeping items:

  • Please write a new, previously unpublished post for the carnival.
  • We will email you with specific instructions on posting before carnival day.
  • Please do not post your article until the carnival date.
  • We reserve the right to accept submissions based on relevance to the topic and quality of writing.
  • Please refrain from using profanity, poor spelling and grammar, and vicious personal attacks.
  • We will NOT be editing your post so please proofread and run a spelling and grammar check.

Copy the new Taboo Carnival badge and add it to your sidebar:

If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact us via email!

We are so looking forward to reading all the contributions for the Carnival!

~Jorje and Jennifer

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mamatography 2013 - Week 31

Day 209 - July 28

I brought the patio end table in for Sasha and we had a kitchen picnic.
This floor is SO much easier to clean than the carpet in the other eating areas!

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