Meet my fence

20130228-212258.jpg

If you ever get curious what my fence looks like beyond just that one segment that I let you see, here it is. This is our fence: some things created by me, and some by my kids. Because I can’t work alone without my two little helpers, we all learned to share the fence. Well, I learned to share it, they are still work in progress. 😉

Quote (Ben Stein)

20130228-135824.jpg

I remember being punished for bad grades. I didn’t get many of those, but there were some teachers or subjects that didn’t really like me. I couldn’t do anything about it, I just didn’t understand some things. Don’t do this to your kids. Grades are just grades. Some things are more important in your child’s life. Feeling supported by parents is one of them.

Make your own Light Box

20130227-210824.jpg

I am finally happy with my hundredth version of a homemade light box. These things are very expensive, and I kept trying to make something that I’d be satisfied with. After looking at how others do it and gathering lots of tips and ideas, here is my final version of it.

Buy a plastic container. The size depends on you, really. I’d say bigger is better in this case, it will allow you to get into messy activities without having to worry about the spilling too much. Or if you have more than one child, it will give enough room for them to play together. Ideally you should buy a container with a matte lid, but I was never lucky to find one in the size that I wanted. Eventually I gave up and taped parchment paper to the side of the lid that stays inside the container. Tada, it did the trick. Then line the container with foil, it will keep all the light inside, and maybe even help with making it brighter if you use the shiny reflective side of it. Everyone has Christmas lights, so no need to invest in special LED lights, besides, I could never really find the ones that I was happy with, and wasted a lot of money on them. Maybe I just didn’t find the right ones. That’s it. No need to drill holes in the container, because the cord can be used even with the lid closed.

Now, what can you do with it? Pretty much everything, according to this link that gives you some ideas, I will pick a few for you to try:
http://www.tsbvi.edu/instructional-resources/78-50-ways-to-use-a-light-box#lyrics

Continue reading

Food Renegade

20130227-201345.jpg

Because I also care about my family’s diet and health, I really like what Food Renegade is educating about. Started following her about a month ago, and really love what I am seeing in my newsfeed. Check her out and prepare to get inspired to change some things in your home.
Also on Facebook.

In her own words:

“I’m a wife, a homeschooling mother, a nutrition & wellness coach, and a passionate advocate for what I call “real food” — as opposed to the edible food-like substances which dominate America’s food industry today.

I want to save lives.
Your life.
My life.
My family’s life.

I want us to shout a collective and resounding “NO!” to the killers overrunning our society: diabetes, heart-disease, obesity, and cancer. After years of studying nutrition, I believe I know the root cause of all these diseases — the Western Diet. The fast-food obsessed, over-processed, ignorantly-prepared diet of the Average American.

Continue reading

Healing properties of Baltic amber

20130227-135701.jpg

Initially, I wanted to make a post on amber teething necklaces for children. And then, when I was looking for a good article, I discovered that there were a lot of skeptics who don’t miss an opportunity to make fun of amber. So I decided to make a general post about healing properties of amber. If you are into natural treatments and not so much into medications, then you might find it interesting.
I bought necklaces for my kids and myself on Etsy.com from sellers in Lithuania. If you are buying locally, try to make sure these are actually amber and not some knock-off glass or plastic. Not going to claim anything, but from our experience, my son hardly ever complains of any teething symptoms. He wears his since before he even started getting teeth. My daughter only got hers when she already had her teeth, and with her we had to go through too many sleepless nights when she was teething. We all wear it because amber does much more than just relieve teething pain. If nothing else, amber jewelry looks extremely good and s all natural and sustainable. What’s there not to love?

This is a wonderful article, very informative, and includes lots of interesting facts on history of amber, mythology, medicinal use, etc. Too long for me to quote, definitely check the whole thing out: http://gailfaithedwards.com/2010/12/11/natural-baltic-amber-magnetic-adaptogenic-universally-applicable/

“The actions of adaptogens, those mysteriously potent herbs and substances that have little understood, but nevertheless remarkable effects on the whole body/mind/spirit, continue to hold my attention, stir my imagination and inspire my creativity in the best of ways.
We’ll define adaptogens here as those natural substances that help the body adapt to stress and recall that in order to meet the criteria as defined by the word adaptogen, a substance must be non-toxic, produce a nonspecific response in the body which boosts the ability to resist multiple stressors, and exert a normalizing influence on physiology. By definition, adaptogens strengthen the immune, nervous and glandular system, increase metabolic efficiency and reduce susceptibility to illness and disease.
Baltic amber is such a substance. In my experience natural Baltic amber is one of the most indispensible, as well as perhaps the most universally applicable, of the known adaptogens.

Continue reading

Happy Hooligans

20130225-191701.jpg

Today I want to share my latest obsession Happy Hooligans. I have only started following them a couple of months ago, but I am officially in love with their page and website. They give me so many creative ideas about what I can do with my kids, and how all of us can have fun and learn something as well. I somehow figured the owner was a mother enjoying life with her children at home, but then I read her introduction and realized that she actually runs a home daycare. How wonderful is that? Wish there were more such daycares for kids to enjoy. Also on Facebook.

There is something about her personal story that is very special as well. In her own words:

“Before starting our family, I had a career in bank management. Because of a my life-long love for children, I was certain that a home daycare would be right up my alley. I opened my doors in 1998 when my first son was 11 months old, and I’ve never looked back.
I often say I have one of the best jobs on the planet. It allowed me to be at home with my boys during their formative years, and running a home daycare meant that while I was/am technically a WAHM, my focus was and always has been on the children. And I can say without a doubt that my daycare has filled me with more joy, passion and satisfaction than my career in the corporate world ever could have.

The Hooligans and I spend our days crafting, baking, creating, exploring and adventuring. We’re all about old-fashioned fun here: getting messy, imaginative play, outdoor fun, and realizing the value of free and unstructured play.
I hope that Happy Hooligans might also serve as a the kind of place that inspires others.”

No forced “hi”, “bye” and “thank you”

20130225-125248.jpg

It is very sad when an adult pressures his/her child into saying “Hi” or “Thanks”. I always feel terrible when I am the one who is supposed to hear a child say it to me, and I always say it first myself and quickly move on to the next subject, especially when I see that this poor kid is shy and scared of his parent’s pressure. I don’t force my kids to say those things, I say it for them, and if they feel like joining in, then great. If they are shy or not comfortable with strangers, then who cares really? We say it a lot at home, more than we normally would in our old childless life, but it works. Both my kids always say “thank you” and “welcome” to each other. It is too cute to watch them pass toys, books, or snacks, and keep thanking each other. I am sure they don’t always understand why they are saying it (especially my 21 m/o) but the idea is there, and they find it fun to imitate what Mom and Dad say all the time. Isn’t it better when it is not forced but sincere, and no intimidation or hard feelings involved? Continue reading

How to make a tutu

20130223-090254.jpg

I made my daughter a tutu. It was so fun and gave me an opportunity to get creative. Never knew I would be able to make one. Turns out I could, and you can too.

I didn’t want to order the materials online and wait indefinitely, and instead went to Walmart. What do you know, they sell tulle rolls in the crafts/fabrics section. I decided to go for a ribbon-tie version instead of elastic waist with my first tutu. I figured that when she gets too big for her tutu, I can always untie the knot that holds it together, and loosen the material a bit to make it wider for her to keep wearing it. And I just loved the idea of having this pretty ribbon bow in the back. BUT THEN I made my second tutu for fun with the advice I found online to use an elastic hair band (the kind they sell in packs anywhere, dollar stores included). I was impressed, it was also very easy and if you have a small and super active child, it’s perfect. Just keep tying your tulle around the hair band, and it is stretchy enough to fit different waists. I used a ribbon at the end, just tied it like the rest of the tulle to the elastic, and made a bow out of it. It was very simple. My daughter is 3.5 y/o, and I decided to make her a tutu with 3 colors. Her waist was 21″ and tutu length 10″. I also wanted a really full and fluffy tutu, and bought 3 rolls total in blue, purple and pale pink. Surprisingly, I managed to make 2 tutus out of these materials, and roughly 60 tulle strips per tutu. Then I bought some white ribbon. Took me 1.5 hours to complete this project with 2 tutus. I think if you are making a longer and much fluffier tutu, you will end up using close to three rolls per one. And without the ribbon it is even cheaper.

I used this tutorial, highly recommended. Simple and easy to understand.

Continue reading

Reasons not to hit your child

20130220-210842.jpg

Spanking is wrong. That is all I will say for now. Find out more from the article for yourself, and you will see why I feel this way.
I tried to offer a preview of most important points, but the whole article is much more informative:
http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/discipline-behavior/spanking/10-reasons-not-hit-your-child

“10 Reasons Not to Hit Your Child

1. HITTING MODELS HITTING
There is a classic story about the mother who believed in spanking as a necessary part of discipline until one day she observed her three- year-old daughter hitting her one-year-old son. When confronted, her daughter said, “I’m just playing mommy.” This mother never spanked another child.Children love to imitate, especially people whom they love and respect. They perceive that it’s okay for them to do whatever you do. Parents, remember, you are bringing up someone else’s mother or father, and wife or husband. The same discipline techniques you employ with your children are the ones they are most likely to carry on in their own parenting. The family is a training camp for teaching children how to handle conflicts. Studies show that children from spanking families are more likely to use aggression to handle conflicts when they become adults.
Continue reading