How To Raise Happy Kids

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Good-intentioned parents usually create happiness for their children by making pleasurable experiences. Jowever, what children really need is to learn how to create and sustain happiness on their own. Harvard Medical School in Boston has outlined 5 things kids need most to build life long happiness and elf esteem:

1. Connections–  Feeling ground gives children a sense of security. Kids need unconditional love from their parents and will benefit from having close ties to extended family members, being apart of school activities, and helping with household tasks. Let them help take care of pets!

2. Play– Make sure your kid’s free time isn’t all programmed and regimented. Open ended play, where kids create scenerios (play pretend) and solve problems by themselves help them discover talents and skills as well as use their own resources.

3. Practice– When children find out what they are good at, the want to do it again and again. Sometimes though you might have to do some gentle nudging in the right direction to ensure sticks to an activity and finishes to feel a sense of accomplishment.

4. Mastery–  With practice comes mastery. When kids learn a skill whtether it’s learning to tie shoes, dress themselves or play the piano, they are even more motivated to take on new challenges.  That will lead to a can-do attitude.

5. Recognition– Support and approval from parents, teachers, and peers from a job well done will reconnect kids to a wider world. When childen think what they do affects their family, classmates, or team, they are more likely to exhibit moral behavior and ultamately feel good about themselves.

Luckily one step leads to the next and the cycle is self perpetuated. As a parent, you can lay the ground work at an early age. Give your kids these 5 qualities and it will increase their chances of leading a happier, more satisfying life.

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Making the Decision: Stay at Home Mom Vs. Working Mom

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There’s always been the huge controversy of which was better: The Working Mom or The Stay At Home Mom. some argue staying at home with your children teaches them more skills and helps them develop on a more fast paced road. Others say being a working mom is better because of the financial stability you are able to achieve and give to your kids. Well, in the end it’s simple to choose: Which path personally allows you to follow your hopes and dreams?

Let’s also break down the facts. Members of the Board of Directors for the Family and Home Network say that research has shown that early relationships between moms and infants/toddlers is the foundation of personality development. Yet, many psychologists have seen no statistics to support that statement. Children who are in quality day care can recieve the same personality development as those who are taken care of by Stay at home moms. Although this is true, Psychologically children do NOT do well with large seperations of time from a parent. It causes anxiety and emotional issues.

As a working mother it is extremely at the forefront of your mind to take care of your children financially. You want to provide and give your children what they need to prosper. This is a healthy idea, but going too far can be harmful. Nobody wants to work 12 hours a day and miss out on their family life. Understand that some women work this much to be ready for unseen circumstances such as divorce, job loss or an emergency. In defense of women who work, most working moms want to be a parent and have a successful career and can often become depressed when stuck on “parenting capacity”.

Even so, every mother is different and never settle with the mom stereotypes between the working mom and the parenting mom. You can nurture and still work. You can also nuture and stay home. Whichever makes you happy and is best for your family, you go for it. I’m not judging. After all, I went for a business woman to a stay at home literally over night. I’ve seen the pros and cons of both and honestly, it’s up to the individual mom. So choose on mommy freedom fighters.

Scented Edible No-Cook Fingerpaint Recipe for Babies and Toddlers

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We all want our little ones to be artsy and creative. Well what better than to let them paint? Safe, edible paint for toddlers is great to make! You don’t have to worry about chemicals or toxins again!

I’d had the idea to have X play in yogurt since it’s so silky smooth – but then thought, hey, why not make it into paint?  I know a lot of bloggers use Kool Aid and for so long I’d resisted because I somehow thought it had sugar already in it?  I hate that sticky sugar feeling.  But I was totally wrong – Kool Aid powder has no added sugar!  And the smells – ohhhhh yum!!!
Because I did want to discourage X from tasting, and as I mentioned, I really dislike sticky sugar residue, I bought plain yogurt.  Most brands of plain yogurt are unsweetened altogether, and are quite tart.  Though edible, it was a great teaching paint since the flavor really was not one you’d like to taste more than once!  I used small cups to measure out about two big spoonfuls of yogurt and I added 1/2 to a whole packet of Kool Aid, depending on the color (I needed very little red and orange, for instance).
If your baby has a dairy allergy, or has not yet been introduced to dairy, you can use any kind of yogurt you’d like – rice, soy, coconut milk – they all work!  If you can’t find Kool Aid or don’t want something scented, just add a drop or two of food coloring and stir well.  You will still have beautiful edible fingerpaint!
For whatever reason our local Safeway didn’t have any green Kool Aid, so I mixed half a packet of the yellow Lemonade and the blue Blue Raspberry and made my own green!

My Decision to Become A Minimalist

Most of us grew up thinking that “rich” meant having alot of money, a ton of things in our homes, brand new cars, and all the luxury items. Everyone these days seems to idolize money, new things, buying the best brands out there. I mean, its the “American Dream”, right? I don’t want the American dream. I don’t want to work so hard just to rub it in other people’s faces. I don’t want my children to think money makes you happy and gets you places. Greed is the root of all evil.

After having a very serious talk with my partner, we decided to make the steps to become Minimalists. What is a minimalist? It’s only having what you need, and throwing out the excess; Living for quality instead of quantity. You declutter your home, save money for emergencies and live with the things you only need. Do you really need those 4 pairs of shoes that are all the same except in different colors? Will it help you be healthy, give you a good, quality life? No. Chuck em. My partner and I are starting to go through our things in our home. We’ve already donated so much to people from the things we didn’t need or made our lives better. We sold/donated/threw away  422 Items so far! We noticed already that the stress of having more is fading! You don’t have to keep up with all this stuff that you bought out of impulse!

Our next steps are to save money for serious emergencies, become healthier by eating right. You don’t need pop tarts, ravioli, frozen dinners when you can buy cheap onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes! There’s so much you can do with them! We are noticing a positive change in our lives and we couldn’t be happier. We have a long way to go, but so far, it’s the best thing we’ve done.

 

DIY Glowing Bouncy Balls

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This is so much fun to do with the kids! So simple, and you most likely have all the ingredients to do it. There’s only 5! You’ll have bouncy balls bouncing all over your house in no time! Just make sure you remind the little ones to pick them up off the floor so no one slips! So here”s what you do.

 

To Make Each Ball Combine: (affiliate links provided)
Combine in a small bowl, mixing until all ingredients are dissolved
In a separate Bowl Combine:

Mix well until the paint is completely blended into the glue.  If you have homemade glow in the dark glue on hand you can also use that and skip the mixing.

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Once the ingredients of both bowls are well mixed combine the two bowls.  Allow the ingredients to react by themselves for a minute before stirring them.  As you stir a sticky hard, slimy material will form.

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Take the material, and continue to work it with your hands, rolling and shaping it into a ball
As you roll the material it will lose it’s sliminess and become dry and rather hard, yet still moldable
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Once you have formed 6 separate balls, break them apart.  We broke each ball into 6 pieces to make 6 RAINBOW bounce balls
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Take the 6 pieces and work the varying colors together.  We stretched and pulled them into a RAINBOW before rolling them together to form our bouncing balls.  The stretching and pulling was very FUN!
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Notes about the bouncing balls:
  • The material of the bouncing balls is very similar to slime only thicker.  The balls lose their shape if left to sit.
  • Placing your bounce ball material in the refrigerator before playing helps the balls to hold their shape longer.
  • These balls are different from store bought bouncing balls.  They do not bounce nearly as high nor do they bounce on all surfaces, but a big part of the fun is the experience of making the balls.
  • When play time is over you can store your bounce ball material in a zip-lock bag in the fridge for future play. Next time you are ready to play just pull out the material and and re-form it to make bounce balls
  • The bounce ball material is also fun to play with in other ways. It is essentially a thick slime.   It can be used as a sensory material in it’s own right, and GLOWS BRIGHTLY which is always a hit with kids.
  • Adults should handle the borax and/or closely supervise older children.  Borax is not meant for consumption and should be kept out of the reach of small children who may be tempted to taste.  The same rule applies to the borax bounce ball material.  Please use your own judgement to determine if this activity is suitable for your child.

ENJOY!

Amish Broccoli Salad

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     This delightful salad with my own tweaks lends itself to some wonderful ideas for variations, so be sure to check them out at the bottom of the recipe! This recipe will definitely feed a crowd.  The Smoked Gouda lends an amazing flavor to the salad and would be especially great served at a barbecue.  The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of sugar.  Feel free to reduce the sweetener to taste, leave it out, or use your own preferred sweetener.

Note:  If you prefer, you can blanch the vegetables in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes to take the edge off the crunchiness (especially for the cauliflower (that’s why I suggest cutting it real small).  Then drain the vegetables well in a colander over a bowl.

1 lb chopped broccoli (0.45 kg)

1 lb chopped cauliflower (0.45 kg)

(chopped into very small chunks)

1/lb bacon, fried and crumbled (0.2 kg)

(about 7 slices)

2 cups grated Smoked Gouda, OR (500 mL)

Cheddar cheese, divided

1 cup mayonnaise (250 mL)

1 cup sour cream (250 mL)

Liquid sweetener ( stevia) to equal 1/cup sugar (125 mL)
(this is optional…but the sweet taste is popular in this)

1/tsp salt, OR to taste (2 mL)

In large salad bowl or trifle bowl, combine broccoli, cauliflower, bacon and 11/cups (375 mL) Smoked Gouda or Cheddar cheese.  In medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, liquid sweetener and salt.  Stir the creamy mixture into the broccoli salad.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.  Cover the salad bowl with plastic wrap and chill before serving.

Variations:  Leave out the cauliflower and use only broccoli.  Add some chopped or sliced red onions.  Replace the cauliflower with diced cooked chicken.  Maybe add in some chopped, hard boiled eggs.